The findings contrast with the United States where book reading declined markedly during a similar period.
However, the number of Brits reading newspapers and magazines declined – though those people who read newspapers and magazines devoted more time to it.
The unexpected findings were uncovered by a team of sociologists at the School of Social Sciences who compared the records of thousands of people between 1975 and 2000 – the latest figures available.
They looked at data from France, Holland, Norway, the UK and the USA amid rising concerns about the state of British literacy.
Among the results are:
- In 2000, Brits read on average for five more minutes each day than they did in 1975.
- In 1998 Americans read on average for nine minutes less each day than they did in 1975.
- The increase in the UK was greater for women than it was for men.
- Of those Brits that read, a greater number read for one hour or more than did in 1975.
The findings contrast strongly with fears about the nation’s declining love of books marked by Victoria Beckham’s 2005 admission that she has ‘never read a book in her life’.
Research commissioned by the National Reading Campaign in 2001, found a quarter of adults had not read a book in the previous 12 months also fuelling worries.
Dr Dale Southerton, from the School of Social Sciences was on the research team.
He said: “People commonly perceive that we read less in the UK than we did in the past.
“But in fact, according to the figures - which are the latest ones available - the opposite is true and that is rather surprising, especially given that it is book, rather than newspaper and magazine, reading that has increased.
“But one common assumption which does hold is that we like books more than our counterparts in USA where there has been a massive decline.
”We examined 10-15,000 people in each country and research on this scale has not been done before so it’s pretty significant.”
He added: “I think the misconceptions can be explained by the changes in how we as a society organise time.
“One of the key challenges in our daily lives is coordinating our schedules with other people – and the difficulty of being in the right place at the right time leads to a feeling of being harried.
“However, in trying to meet this challenge we find plenty of ‘gaps’ during the day – such as waiting for a train, a partner, or one’s children – and reading is an activity entirely suited to filling those gaps.
“We’re more tied to our diaries and that can lead to the perception that we have less time to do things we enjoy like reading.
“But our study shows that in reality, the opposite is in fact true.”
Jon Keighren | alfa
Lying in a foreign language is easier
19.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
05.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine