Lies & Lists

Two articles I came across today disclosed some of the books people are most likely to lie about having read. I find the whole idea fascinating! Can you imagine saying you’d read a particular book when you actually hadn’t? On the other hand, I suppose I can more easily imagine myself nodding sagely when someone talks about a book I have not read but am familiar with, thus allowing them to interpret my silence as knowledge gained firsthand. Or maybe allowing someone to think that because I read part of, or even most, of a book that I’d finished it, too!

The first piece was published in an online British magazine. According to Female First, the five books most Brits will say they have read when they actually have not are:

  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. Jane Eyre
  4. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  5. The Hobbit

I’m enchanted by the very British nature of this list! English authors only! The article also goes on to reveal who is more likely to lie about their reading habits, men or women; who they are most likely to lie to; and why. It’s worth a quick perusal.

Then the New York Times followed suit, with some of their staff members confessing to having lied about reading (among others) the following worthy tomes:

  • 1984
  • The Corrections
  • War and Peace
  • Infinite Jest
  • Lolita
  • Moby Dick

I’ve got say, I’m with the Americans on this one.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? I enjoy lists. Did you know that I enjoy lists? I have a list of lists (Yes, that’s right. One large list made up of smaller lists.) pertaining to books, and it includes things like The Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry and The Top Ten Most Surprising Books. It also includes The Top Ten Books I Started But Never Finished and The Top Ten Books I Should Read But Probably Never Will. From these last two, I’d like to give you the true and possibly embarrassing evidence, but it will have to wait because I don’t currently have the list (The List) in front of me.

So, what about you? Have you lied about reading a book? Can you imagine a situation in which you might be tempted to do so? Are there books you are embarrassed not to have read? Are there books you can’t bring yourself to finish, and do you consider the valiant attempt to be good enough?

Please feel free to comment and reveal all!