New research has revealed the remarkable and often untold benefits books can have on our everyday lives, yet over a quarter (27%) of the population has expressed concerns that reading could become a forgotten pleasure.

Commissioned 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, the report reveals that regular reading has the unique ability to empower us to embark on positive journeys in life, connect us with others and make us feel happier in our own skin. 

The study has also revealed that books lead to a more tolerant and empathetic society. As many as half of UK adults say that reading makes them more sympathetic to other people’s beliefs, while 17% of readers report that books have inspired them to remain calm during a disagreement, compared to just 5% of those who never read. 

Bestselling author Andy McNab says: “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.”

A third (35%) of the population admits that they would like to read more but are often distracted by using their phone or watching TV. However, highlighting the profound and significant effect that a good book can have on our overall contentment and fulfilment, the research revealed that over a third (38%) of the nation chooses reading as their ultimate stress remedy. 

The nation may also find it heartening to learn that the research found the lovably flawed Bridget Jones to be the literary character most women could identify with – with 1 in 10 respondents also agreeing that reading comforts them by showing it is okay to be flawed. In fact, the research showed that we prefer to read about someone who makes mistakes (23%) and is funny (20%) more than we value a character who is brave (19%), loyal (17%), or kind (11%).