Could reading for pleasure become a thing of the past?

Could reading for pleasure become a thing of the past?
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How do you like to spend a free, lazy afternoon at home? We love to curl up with a great book in one hand and a steaming cuppa in the other and let our imagination run wild for a couple of hours.

And a new survey has found we're not alone in loving our peace and quiet time with a good book. Research comissioned by GALAXY® chocolate on behalf of Quick Reads, a programme that produces short books by well-known authors for busy people and less confident readers, found 41 per cent of regular readers consider reading a better stress-buster than catching up with friends.

Meanwhile, a third of the nation say reading made them realise they're happy with what they have and 36 per cent of readers say they've even been inspired to take up travelling after reading a book. And 27 per cent of the nation have been motivated to make a positive change to their life such as ending a bad relationship or taking a new job, while 19 per cent of adults say books have given them the impetus they needed to take up a new hobby.

But, in spite of this, over a quarter of the population (27 per cent) are concerned that reading for pleasure could soon become a forgotten past time.

Part of the worry behind this is down to the influence of technology as a third of the population said they'd love to read more but were often distracted by using their phone or watching TV.

That's why bestselling authors including Jojo Moyes, Andy McNab, Ann Cleeves, and Sophie Hannah are joining forces to share their love of reading and encourage the nation to pick up a book and experience the fundamental pleasures and benefits of reading.

Bestselling author Andy McNab said, “Every time you read a book you get a bit of knowledge, every time you get a bit of knowledge you get a bit more power. I have struggled with and overcome challenges with literacy in my life and experienced first hand the transformational power of books. I urge anyone who does not read for pleasure to pick up a book and reap the rewards of reading.”

Toboot, the research from Galaxy® Quick Reads found the lovably flawed Bridget Jones is the literary character most women could identify with – with 1 in 10 respondents also agreeing that reading comforts them by showing it's okay not to be perfect. In fact, the research showed that we prefer to read about someone who makes mistakes (23 per cent) and is funny (20 per cent) more than we value a character who is brave (19 per cent), loyal (17 per cent), or kind (11 per cent).

The top 5 most inspiring literary characters from bestelling novels, according to women

  1. Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Bridget Jones
  5. Anna Fitzgerald - My Sister's Keeper

The top 5 most inspiring literary characters from bestelling novels, according to men

  1. Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Frodo Baggins - Lord of the Rings
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Robert Langdon - Da Vinci Code/Angels and Demons
  5. Amir - The Kite Runner
    = Pi Patel- Life of Pi

The top 5 characters most of the nation identify with, according to women

  1. Bridget Jones
  2. Harry Potter
  3. Bella Swan - Twilight series
  4. Anna Fitzgerald- My Sister's Keeper
  5. Atticus Finch- To Kill a Mockingbird
    = Emma Morley- One Day

Top 5 characters most of the nation identify with, according to men

  1. Frodo Baggins- Lord of the Rings
  2. Robert Langdon- Da Vinci Code/Angels and Demons
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Pi Patel - Life of Pi
  • Galaxy® Quick Reads are bite-sized books written by best-selling authors which cost only £1. They are available from bookshops, supermarkets and online or can be borrowed from libraries across the country. For more information visit www.readingagency.org.uk/quickreads