Anorak News | The Bookworm That Turned

The Bookworm That Turned

by | 4th, March 2004

‘CHANCES are that if you’re reading this, you’re an accountant, you’re lying in bed and you can’t wait to finish it so that you can get on with the next chapter of The Lord Of The Rings.

‘This is almost as gripping as Enron’

Don’t worry – we haven’t got a webcam broadcasting all your sordid bedroom secrets.

We’ve just read in the Independent a survey commissioned to mark World Book Day which reveals that beancounters are Britain’s biggest bookworms.

Apparently, they spend on average five and a quarter hours a week with their nose buried in a work of fiction, more than any other profession.

Secretaries come second in the survey, followed by MPs, journalists and taxi drivers. Bottom of the list are the clergy, who read on average for less than three hours a week.

Not only do accountants spend more time reading than anyone else, but they also read more humorous books.

‘This just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you read about the reputation of accountants,’ says Kieran Poynter, a number-cruncher from Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP.

‘The job can be a serious one, but the people who do it are just like those in any other profession.’

Except with cheaper suits and thicker glasses.

There could of course be many different explanations for why accountants spend so much of their time reading, not least the fact that they have no alternative social life.

But what of the clergy? Right Rev Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, said the men in frocks spent most of their time studying theological works.

‘This might count as work but for many of them it is also a pleasure,’ he said. ‘Total relaxed reading, however, is rare because of the business of the life.’

Another problem for the clergy is that the Bible doesn’t count. If, however, it were reclassified (as it should be) as a work of fiction, suddenly they would leap up the table.

Having said that, the same could apply to other professions.

If we could include the fiction we read at work, MPs would be able to count time spent reading Government dossiers, journalists time spent reading their own papers and accountants the hours spent poring over their clients’ ‘business’ expenses.

However, while the amount of time that we spend reading is generally quite encouraging, what we read is not.

All groups bar journalists and taxi-drivers put The Lord Of The Rings or Pride And Prejudice as their favourite book.

Taxi drivers bizarrely opted for Death On The Nile, while journalists showed a little more taste by putting down Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

Finally, lawyers spent most time reading on the loo. Just ahead of chefs. Make of that what you will.’

Posted: 4th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink