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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 10:48 GMT
Book readers 'love happy endings'
Pride and Prejudice
Keira Knightley stars in the film version of Pride and Prejudice
Book readers love a happy ending, according to a survey carried out to mark World Book Day.

It found Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was the nation's favourite happy ending.

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, was in second place, and has also topped a vote on the book adults should read before they die.

The survey of librarians came out in favour of The Bible in second place and The Lord of the Rings trilogy in third.

Accessible books

Harper Lee's story of a black man being unjustly accused of raping a white girl won her the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a film in 1962.

The novel, which explores race and class in the southern US during the 1930s, was called "a great read" by librarian Diana Ashcroft who voted for it in the survey.

"It is touching and funny but has a serious message about prejudice, fighting for justice and coming of age," she said.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (27%)
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (12.1%)
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (11.7%)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon (9%)
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier (6.1%)

"I read it many years ago at school and have since re-read it many times. Each time I see something different," added Ms Ashcroft, who works for Trafford libraries in Greater Manchester.

Other well-loved classics which feature in the rundown are Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre 1984 by George Orwell, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

There were fewer new works in the chart, but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones made the top 30.

World Book Day will be marked with a series of events around the country to encourage people to read more often.

Reading habit

A survey for World Book Day by BBC RaW (Reading and Writing) - the BBC's literacy campaign - found that reading is an important activity for 79% of people, beating TV (67%), computer games (15%), and gardening (49%).

However, 17% of adults surveyed said they do not like reading.

Meanwhile, 12 best-selling authors, including Joanna Trollope, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, have created a series of short, accessible books for those who have lost the reading habit, which will be published on 2 March.

A further 10 titles in the Quick Read series are coming out on 18 May to coincide with Adult Learners' Week.

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