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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 04:01 GMT
Accountants are the real bookworms
Accountants read more for pleasure than many other professions, a survey on world Book Day suggests.

The number-crunchers beat MPs, journalists and teachers, with the clergy trailing in last.

The survey found accountants spend an average of more than five hours per week with their head in a book.

And they also read more humorous literature than those from any other occupation, despite being regarded as boring in the popular mind.

Secretaries came second in the survey with just under five hours reading time per week, followed by MPs.

Journalists came fourth, taxi drivers fifth, lawyers sixth, and teachers and chefs joint seventh.

The Lord of the Rings film
Only journalists and cabbies did not prefer Lord of the Rings
Clergymen are at the bottom of the table, reading for only two hours and 40 minutes per week.

Kieran Poynter, UK chairman of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "This just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read about the reputation of accountants.

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

"They come from all walks of life and have a wide range of interests, including, it seems, humorous literature. Long may it continue."

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, insisted vicars spent so much time reading the bible and other religious works that they had no time for leisure reading.

Self-help books

"Clergy need to keep reading in order to do their job and to remain alert theologically. Most of them do.

"This might count as work but for many of them it is also a pleasure.

"Total relaxed reading, however, is rare because of the busyness of the life."

The survey involved 1,600 people and found some bizarre results.

Taxi drivers read more self-help books, clergymen do more of their reading in the bath, and reading while on the toilet is a favourite with lawyers.

Nearly every profession surveyed named JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as their favourite book.

But book of choice for journalists was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, while cabbies are most likely to be found reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.

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