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New research reveals reading can help you turn over a new leaf

Has a book ever inspired you to improve your life? If so, according to new research, you’re not alone. Abi Jackson reports.

Fans of reading often talk of the joy of “losing themselves” in a good book. However, it seems book characters can help us “find ourselves” too, and figure out which direction we want to take in life.

According to new research, 27% of the population say reading a book has inspired them to make a positive change in their life, such as looking for a new job or ending an unhappy relationship, while 36% admit a book spurred them on to go travelling.

It seems reading can have a positive effect on our health and wellbeing, too, with a fifth saying a book’s motivated them to take better care of themselves, and 19% saying books gave them the impetus they needed to take up a new hobby.

Reading also helps us cope with stress, too: 38% said it’s their ultimate stress remedy, 35% said it brings them comfort when they’re feeling down, and 41% of regular readers also said books are better at stress-busting than a night out with friends.

The research was commissioned by Galaxy on behalf of Quick Reads. This was the scheme started in 2006 by Baroness Rebuck, DBE to help get the nation reading, by releasing a series of short, more easily digestible books by big name authors, making them especially suitable for people who might not feel very confident about their reading skills, or those who feel they have a short attention span.

“Every time you read a book, you get a bit of knowledge, and every time you get a bit of knowledge you get a bit more power,” says Andy McNab, one of the best-selling authors supporting Quick Reads this year. “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.”


So which best-selling book characters have had the most impact in the inspirational stakes? Here are the top five, as voted for by men and women, from the Galaxy Quick Reads research.


1. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series

3. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series

4. Bridget Jones from the Bridget Jones’ Diary series

5. Anna Fitzgerald from My Sister’s Keeper


1. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird

2. Frodo Baggins from the The Lord Of The Rings series

3. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series

4. Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons

5. Amir from The Kite Runner, and Pi Patel from Life Of Pi

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