Friday, September 06, 2013

When People Lie About Reading

Have you actually read all of the books you said you have? According to The London Telegraph, when it comes to the classics, there’s a pretty good chance you have not:
In a bid to appear more intelligent, more than 60 per cent of people have lied about reading classic novels. A leading research team polled 2,000 members of the British public to find out the tactics people employ to appear more intelligent, with some enlightening results.
The most popular ruse is pretending to have read classic novels, with 42 per cent of people relying on film and TV adaptations, or summaries found online, to feign knowledge of the novels. Surprisingly, half of the adults questioned admit to having displayed books on their shelves without ever having read them.
The more dedicated members of the surveyed group (three per cent) even admit to hiding the low brow magazines and books they are reading inside publications which make them appear more intelligent.
Here are the top ten books people lie about reading:

  • 1984 by George Orwell – 26%
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 19%
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – 18%
  • Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger – 15%
  • A Passage to India by E M Forster – 12%
  • Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein – 11%
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 10%
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – 8%
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 8%
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – 5%

Titles that just missed the cut are The Bible (3%), Homer’s Odyssey (3%) and Wuthering Heights (2%).

But fibbing about what books they’ve read isn’t the only infraction.
Other tactics employed by people to make themselves appear smarter include changing their appearance, correcting other people’s grammar, dropping famous quotes into conversation and claiming a higher level of fluency in a foreign language.


Blogger Sue Bursztynski said...

Not guilty, ma'am! I actually have read most of those books - all but the Forster, the Dostoyevsky and I read about half a volume of War And Peace in my teens, plus the good bits( the sex and violence) in the Bible. I don't correct people's grammar except in class(it's my job) and only use famous quotes if they come up in trivia quizzes. ;-) But there's a market out there for this sort of stuff, has been for years. Impress your girl with little books of quotes or summaries of famous books... This is not news!

Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 9:42:00 PM PDT  

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