Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do you fib about reading books?

I came across this article about a recent survey that asked whether or not people have lied about reading certain books (mainly classics).

The top ten books people claim to have read (but haven't actually read) are:
  1. 1984 by George Orwell (26%)
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (19%)
  3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (18%)
  4. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (15%)
  5. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (12%)
  6. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (11%)
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (10%)
  8. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (8%)
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (8%)
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (5%)
I'm not sure why people feel the need to actually lie about something like this.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a book abandoner.  I've only finished two of the books on the list (To Kill and Mockingbird and Jane Eyre).  I have, however, failed to finish three others (Great Expectations, Lord of the Rings, and Pride and Prejudice).  It doesn't benefit me to lie about having read them; in fact, claiming to have read Great Expectations only made the related unit in English class all the more difficult.  (Although, now that I think about it, I got the same grade on my Great Expectations paper as I did on my Jane Eyre paper... and I'd actually read that book!)

One book that I'm surprised didn't make the list?  The Bible!  Or what about one of the other most-printed books in history?  With that many copies floating around, you'd think that lots of people would have claimed to read some of those...

And then there's the other side of the coin.  There are those books that some of us really don't want to admit to having read.  Think Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey.  It's probably a lot less difficult to get away with this type of fib; it's easier to pretend you don't know anything about sparkling vampires and BDSM than it is to try to fake it as a Twihard or a... well, see, I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, so I wouldn't even know what I was trying to fake.

What about you?  Do you lie about having read certain books?  Do you lie about not having read certain books (perhaps out of embarrassment)?  Have you ever gotten caught in a reading lie?  Are you surprised about any of the books on the list?  Are there any you think should be on there but aren't?


  1. I can honestly say that I have only read 'Pride and Prejudice' from that list. No point trying to pretend otherwise. I tend to be quite honest about what I read, that way I can't get caught out. :)

  2. I'm not embarrassed to admit that there are loads of books I haven't read, including 1984. Thankfully I am actually almost 3/4 of the way through War and Peace and will soon be able to truthfully proclaim that I have read it!