I'm reading six years' worth of books

I've pointed out before that attempting to read 26 books in a year is actually a pretty mundane feat. But I may have to revise my opinion if a new survey by Penguin books is to be believed. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Penguin Classics, the publisher conducted a survey of British reading habits. They found that those who consider themselves to be "heavy readers" finish just four books a year, while "medium readers" manage two and "light readers" just one.

It may be that what we have here is a flawed survey of some sort. It would be interesting to know how many people they interviewed and what the selection criteria were. However, what I suspect happened is that Penguin asked people whether they considered themselves to be 'heavy', 'medium' or 'light' readers and then followed that up with a question about, say, how many books they finished last year. Those interviewed probably just overrated themselves as readers and didn't realise it until they thought about how many books they'd been reading.

At least I hope that's the explanation. It can't really be the case that a British "heavy reader" manages only one book every three months can it? Nora Roberts writes more books than that every year - never the best indicator of quality, I admit, but readers could learn a thing or two from her dedication.