Julie Cohen is an author who brought a lump to my throat and tear to my eye in these cynical times. An author who willingly promotes another author's book and goes out of her way to cheer up folks whose current lives are not as sunny as they might be.
Julie chose to give RACHEL'S HOLIDAY by Marian Keyes for World Book Night because it's one of her favourite books, which inspired her personally to write women's commercial fiction. "I believe that feelgood fiction is extremely valuable because it can give you an escape from your worries, and a happy ending to inspire you."
In every copy of the books Julie received, she put the following note:
'Happy World Book Night!
I'm giving out this book, RACHEL'S HOLIDAY, because it's one of my favourites. It's funny, emotional, sad, romantic, true and ultimately upbeat and I think it's fantastic.
Feelgood women's fiction has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. It's let me escape from reality for a little while when I needed to. It's let me borrow someone else's happy ending.
I hope you like RACHEL'S HOLIDAY as much as I do. If you don't think it's the right book for you, please pass it on to someone else who you think will enjoy it."
Julie decided to give out half of her 48 copies at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, in Sonning ward, where she was treated for a miscarriage several years ago. "I also gave out books in neighbouring Hurley ward, which is a gynaecological ward for surgery and cancer patients. I gave the books to patients, doctors and nurses. It was wonderful to see them smile."
Subsequently, she gave out the other half of her books to the Duchess of Kent House hospice, where a friend and fellow writer spent his last days.
"The whole experience was really inspiring for me. It made me feel great.
I also bought a book, A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, from my local independent book shop, put a post-it on it saying 'FREE BOOK!' and left it in my favourite cafe in Reading for someone to take. That was fun, too. Free books are great, but book shops deserve our support."
Julie's book - GETTING AWAY WITH IT is published in paperback this month by Headline Review