How do I create a Java string from the contents of a file?

I’ve been using the idiom below for some time now. And it seems to be the most wide-spread, at least on the sites I’ve visited.

Is there a better/different way to read a file into a string in Java?

private String readFile(String file) throws IOException {
    BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new FileReader (file));
    String         line = null;
    StringBuilder  stringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
    String         ls = System.getProperty("line.separator");

    try {
        while((line = reader.readLine()) != null) {

        return stringBuilder.toString();
    } finally {