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Why I’m Supporting Quick Reads 2020

Nut Press is proud to support Quick Reads

Quick Reads first launched in 2006 and is a project run by The Reading Agency. Working together with top authors, it produces six books each year; short books with simple vocabulary that help ease you into reading for pleasure or help you rediscover your love of books.

In Wales, four books are produced each year – two in English and two in Welsh, in an initiative run by the Welsh Books Council and supported by the Welsh Assembly. The books for this year are due to be published next month. 

If you’re an EFL/ESL teacher, they’re invaluable teaching aids and great books to use with intermediate students who want to read books in English but find a full-length novel daunting. Quick Reads help to bridge the gap between reading passages and text for comprehension and meaning in students’ text books and attempting to read a full-length novel for pleasure, but which also helps expand their vocabulary and language skills.   

The beauty of a Quick Reads book is that vocabulary is pitched at the right level for an intermediate learner and the length means they are likely to be able to finish reading the book within the framework of a one or two-week course. And the fact that they can finish one or more over the length of a summer course gives the students a real sense of achievement and boosts confidence in their ability. 

At one point, it didn’t look as if there would be a Quick Reads 2020. But then author JoJo Moyes stepped in to save the initiative, putting in her own money to keep it going for the next three years. I’m really happy that it is continuing and hope that people continue to support it. I know I will be using this year’s books with students and encouraging others to do so, having seen how excited past students have been to finish a book without constantly having to refer to a dictionary or an electronic translation tool. Quick Reads may be short and look like very slight books but they have been invaluable to me and my students and do wonders for making them more confident readers in English. 

Quick Reads books are available in all good bookshops, online retailers and at your local library. For more on this year’s titles, check out Quick Reads 2020, and for more information on the scheme, have a look at the resources available on the Reading Agency website.W

#Giveaway & Book Review: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

JP Delaney’s novel The Perfect Wife is an unnerving, skewed story of grief, our obsession with perfection and that with work, AI and our digital footprints, relationship double standards, and conflicting child-rearing approaches.

Abbie wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. The man by her side explains that he’s her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative startups. He tells Abbie she’s a gifted artist, a doting mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. 

Five years ago, she suffered a terrible accident. Her return from the abyss is a miracle of science, a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that has taken him half a decade to achieve. 

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives – and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together for ever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

JP Delaney takes us to Silicon Valley in his latest novel and where better to explore the line between what’s human and what machines are capable of, where machine learning can help improve our understanding of ourselves and where it falls short. It’s the perfect technology sandbox for a writer who is adept at exposing what lies behind the perfect facades we think we see, and for delving into the darkest corners of our minds and behaviour.

JP Delaney shows us how quickly lines (and boundaries) can blur and where difficulties in not only navigating, but also in regulating the use of AI and controlling our social media footprint may lie. He highlights how blinkered grief, work and obsession can make us, how dangerous they can be when they run (almost) unchecked. He also pits two parents against each other, each with a differing view on how to raise their autistic child and some scenes dealing with controversial teaching methods made for especially uncomfortable reading, which I’ve no doubt was intended. Read more

Croeso. Welcome to Nut Press.

This is the online home of Kathryn Eastman. I’m a rugby-loving, tea-drinking chocoholic book squirrel and writer, who lives on a hill, that wanted to be a mountain, in Wales.

The Nut Press is full of book reviews, chocolate, adventures with squirrels, and a lot of tea drinking among other things. Oh, and very occasionally, some writing gets done.

Check out the latest Blog Posts or read a Short Story.

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