Forget watching television or browsing the internet — Australians rate reading as the leisure activity they enjoy the most.
Whether it's escaping into a thriller or engaging with challenging literature, reading a dog-eared paperback or an e-book, Australians report spending an average five hours a week reading.
As Australian Reading Hour — a national initiative to raise the profile of the written word — kicks off, we asked 11 Australians what they're reading right now and what role reading plays in their lives.
Gabriel Clark, 41, design lecturer and daughter Grace, 6
Currently reading: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and Hilda by Luke Pearson.
"We like reading because you get to go on adventures," says Grace.
"I hope my kids will get knowledge and escapism from reading. Hopefully there are some characters or peoples' identities they can relate to if they are going through any issues themselves," says Gabriel.
"They can also work out how the world works or how the world should work, and if they are in a place of conflict in their personal life they can see how to resolve those conflicts in their fiction."
Gary Jubelin, 55, homicide detective
Currently reading: Bra Boy: Surfer, Fighter, Larrikin by Richie "Vas" Vaculik and Sean Doherty.
"Reading is my form of escapism. No matter what I'm going through in life, if I've got a good book I'm pretty well content.
"It's my little way of getting away from the pressures and reality of the world and absorbing myself in a book."
Sharon Wilder, 50, hairdresser
Currently reading: Prevention Magazine and a Danielle Steel novel.
"I read for relaxation and inspiration.
"I'm reading a Danielle Steele novel at the moment because it's the thing I picked up, and it's an easy read.
"I love magazines and I'll read anything … hair magazines, fashion — anything that shows texture, colour, inspiration."
Travis De Vries, 29, visual artist, writer and arts producer
Currently reading: Nightfall Two by Isaac Asimov and David and Leigh Eddings' The Redemption of Althalus.
"Reading gives me a chance to look into someone else's head and see the world through their eyes.
"That perception that other people have and the knowledge that people put down on paper hundreds of thousands of years ago — being able to experience that blows my mind.
"It also transports me to another world. I love reading fantasy and science fiction, it informs my writing, and gives me the opportunity to get outside of my own life and head, to get lost in these fantasy worlds."
A.H. Cayley, 27, writer and broadcaster
Currently reading: Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge.
"I tend to read, funnily enough, in bars, and not just in bars but at the bar.
"It's strange, I find them to be oddly these places of solitude even though they're filled with people and background noise.
"There's something kind of special about a bar, because everyone is there for a different reason, you can tell if someone is there to be chatted to or there to find their own solace.
"I'm very much an internet and social media user for my work — and it's also one of my vices. In the last few months I've made a concerted effort. I put it on my to-do list: read three pages of a book without stopping."
Tegan Redinbow, 36, arts producer and son Han, 8
Currently reading: "I've been secretly spying on my dad reading Batman comics," says Han.
"We read at every night and also in the morning. It's a nice quiet time before bed to sit together and share stories," says Tegan.
"Reading keeps me informed and connected to other people, stories and ways of life that I wouldn't otherwise know or understand."
Yen Eriksen, 25, communications officer
Currently reading: The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood.
"The role of reading in my life is about finding time to escape and think about something that isn't today's big new problem.
"When you have a life surrounded by messages — whatever they may be — it can feel like it's full of other people's conversations, so it can be really nice to escape into a book, even if you're reading a book that's really heavy.
"In a weird way somebody else's troubles can be better to deal with than your own.
"It's a great way to check out in the middle of the day. If your day job is a bit intense or choppy, it's great to find something constant like a story to come back to every day."
Lauren Chant, 27, childcare worker
Currently reading: Flesh and Blood by Jackie French.
"Reading is just a fantastic way to escape and become whoever and whatever you want to be, and go on amazing adventures, and sometimes explore scary or challenging themes.
"You can work through it through books, memoirs like Augusten Burroughs' books are really good for that. You see someone go through some pretty horrifying stuff but come through it as a stronger and better, if not slightly dysfunctional, human being."
Katharine Rogers, 38, digital content producer and filmmaker
Currently reading: Second Half First by Drusilla Modjeska and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.
"Reading calms me and inspires me, it connects me to other worlds — not just imaginary worlds, which are amazing — but also it lets you jump in time to find out about people that lived once that you might not have any clue about otherwise.
"I read novels, historical fiction, memoirs and biographies. I like to alternate between real life and fiction.
"When I finish reading there's always a sense of loss. You almost need a day to let the book sit and take away what you've learned or felt. That's a powerful thing."
What's your favourite place to read, and why does reading matter to you? Let us know in the comments.