I came across this article while going through some of my favorites, and while it isn’t exactly recent, I want to share it anyway. The article? The top 10 books people lie about reading and the ones they actually are.
The article talks about a survey that was done asking people about their “guilty reading secrets.” Of the 1,342 people surveyed, over two-thirds of them reported having lied about reading a book.
The top ten books people lie about reading:
1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
3. Ulysses by James Joyce
4. The Bible
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
7. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
8. In Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
An interesting list, and isn’t funny that the only one of those books I’ve actually read in its entirety is 1984 by George Orwell back in eighth grade. On the other hand I do have several of these on The List, War and Peace, Madame Bovary, Ulysses, A Brief History of Time, and The Selfish Gene among them. The Bible is also on the list, but every time I’ve tried to read it I end up incredibly frustrated – but then, I’ve always had issues with religion which is a whole nother post entirely. Moving on.
So, what are people actually reading? According to those who responded to the survey, what’s being read is:
1. J K Rowling
2. John Grisham
3. Sophie Kinsella
4. Jilly Cooper
5. Mills & Boon
6. Dick Francis
7. Robert Harris
8. Jeffrey Archer
9. Frederick Forsyth
10. James Herbert
Of those authors, I’ve read J K Rowling and I have some John Grisham and Robert Harris on my shelves waiting for me to crack the covers. Oh, and the Mills & Boon, I love that that made it to number five on this list. Have you ever read a Mills & Boon romance? I read a few of them every year (which I don’t count toward my total) along with other Harlequin imprint books because most of them are so hilariously bad I just can’t stop myself.
Now that you know what books people are lying about and which they are reading, theres one more piece to share. Why do people lie about reading? I bet you can guess. Sex.
Jonathan Douglas, who is the director of the National Literacy Trust in England – and still is, I checked) stated that according to research that has been done, people lie about reading to “make themselves appear more sexually attractive” and to impress potential partners.
Interesting, but not shocking. In fact, I’m determined to find out what research is out there thats a bit more recent, maybe see if there’s anything adding to what I’ve got here. For now I’ll ask, have you ever lied about reading a book? If so, what book and why? I’m curious.
I will admit, so that no one thinks I’m trying to seem perfect or anything, that I did lie about finishing Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston in my Senior English class because I just could not get into the book one bit.