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Do You Lie About Reading Books?

Ever lied about reading a book? Of course you have.

Buzzfeed published a pretty entertaining quiz that gives you a good luck on how often we lie about reading certain books.

I gave it a whirl and thought I’d share some of the results with you.

I’ve read Infinite Jest.

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I haven’t read Great Expectations.

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I haven’t read Gone Girl (though I watched it)

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I have read To Kill A Mockingbird.

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Confession: I haven’t read Moby Dick, but I’ve lied about reading it before.

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I have read The Great Gatsby, and so have a lot of other people.

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Notice the little change up on this one.

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Now that’s funny.

According to the quiz, and based on the books asked about, people most often lie about having read The Great Gatsby at 13%. Atlas Shrugged is on the list, and who would actually lie about reading THAT?

What is it about books that makes us tempted to lie? Do we want to appear smarter and more “well read?” Few people will lie about having watched movies, so why do we lie about reading books?

It’s an interesting look into psychology, I think.

Have you ever lied about reading a book? Which one?

You can take the full quiz over at Buzzfeed.

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Human Interest.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  2. Interesting. They should have put in 50 Shades as the number of people who said they had NOT read it when they had would be even higher than for Twilight.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 12, 2014
  3. Alison Marie #

    I’m always too worried somebody will try to have an in-depth conversation with me about a book if I say I have read it! So I avoid the temptation of lying about books I have read.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 12, 2014
  4. I’d be more tempted to lie about not reading something, but I HOPE I wouldn’t do that. (I don’t usually broadcast the fact that I’ve read the Twilight books, but I wouldn’t deny it, if confronted. I had to skim the last one, but I get addicted to plots.)

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  5. My memory isn’t perfect, but I don’t recall lying about reading a book.

    Great Expectations you could sort of classify as having been lied about, I guess. It was the primary text for my English Literature ‘O’ Level, so I was supposed to have read it. Unfortunately, once it’d got past meeting Estelle it went downhill (in my opinion, obviously). It did pick up a bit at the end, but most of the middle was about as much fun as dental torture is for the recipient. So I have never lied about not reading it, but I sat an exam based on doing so.

    And, yes, I did really badly in the exam, and now I write books. But they aren’t anything like Great Expectations.

    For the record: never read 50 Shades, but I did listen to a free audiobook first chapter sampler of Twilight.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  6. I absolutely loved Moby-Dick! I’ve honestly read every book on the poll except Gone Girl and Twilight.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
    • Strike that. I didn’t realize that the poll included more books than you discussed in your post. Still, you should read Moby-Dick. It’s gorgeous.

      Like

      November 12, 2014
  7. I lied about reading “Moby Dick” (in that it was assigned in college, and it was So Danged Painful that I only read about half of it — not my norm as I was usually the kid who loved books and thus did the reading). So I didn’t finish it, but it was assigned and required, so I totally pretended I’d read it all. For quizzing purposes, does half a read count as reading it, or lying about reading it?

    Like

    November 12, 2014
    • Matt #

      While I say I’ve read “Moby Dick,” I haven’t read the whole book. Not sure if this is a lie.

      Like

      November 12, 2014
  8. I’m reading Moby Dick right NOW (while I’m writing this comment). I’d NEVER lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 12, 2014
  9. Working as a bookseller throws a whole new light on this to lie or not debate!

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  10. Not exactly a lie but…when I was studying A Levels I got sent on an English course in the village of Middleton Stoney in Oxfordshire. It was for people thinking of studying the subject at university level. The main text we had to read was Othello which I loved and still love to this day but we were also supposed to read Forster’s Aspects of the Novel. Our discussion of the book was on the last day and it turned out that none of us had read it. One of our teachers was a very charismatic Scottish man whose name I’ve forgotten but who we’d all been trying to impress and he went nuts. You’re wasting your own time. You’re wasting my time. He was right of course. We all sat in shame-filled silence. I still haven’t read the book.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  11. Can’t do it. The discomfort in lying far outweighs the discomfort at being considered ignorant or not well read. If you consider the number of books in the marketplace, begging to be read, no one can keep up.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  12. Alison's Wonderland Recipes #

    I don’t think I’ve ever outright lied about reading a book, but I DID write some college essays about books I was supposed to have read. To be fair, some of them were written in Old or Middle English. I tried to read them, then wound up looking up chapter summaries online.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  13. I don’t think that not finishing an assignment should count as lying. Why lie when chances are you’ve read something smart sounding that the other person hasn’t? Just turn the tables.

    Has anyone here read How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read? I didn’t think it was all that great, except for a game it described: You name a ridiculous book you haven’t read, and you get a point for everyone who there who has read it. It’s called Humiliation.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
    • Matt #

      I believe a version of this game was featured in a David Lodge book. “Changing Place” if I remember correctly. Yes, I read it!

      Like

      November 12, 2014
      • Yes, Bayard acknowledges he’s referencing Lodge’s book. “Changing Places” is set among academics in the 70s and is a really fun read. The “Humiliation” bit is great.

        Like

        November 13, 2014
    • Sounds interesting. I’ll check it out!

      Like

      November 13, 2014
  14. Matt #

    I try to insist to my students that it is better to lie about reading than to brag about not reading.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
    • Really? How about not doing either?

      Like

      November 13, 2014
      • Matt #

        I say it partially in jest. It just bugs me that they so proudly brag about never reading that the alternative is better.

        Like

        November 13, 2014
  15. No. Yes. No. I don’t know. Do know this. I will never stoop so low as to read Twilight or Atlas Shrugged. That’s because of the saying, Garbage in, garbage out.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  16. I think a lot of us lied about which school assigned books we read. And for the record, my professor didn’t even make us read all of Moby Dick. Gave us a list of chapters to read and said that the rest of the book was pretty much useless. And Atlas Shrugged is a very thought-provoking book, and I’ll thank each and every one of you “haters” not to pre-judge it. If you did’t like it, fine. If you didn’t read it…shut up.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  17. This is pretty funny (especially the Twilight one)!! I feel like it would be interesting to do a similar quiz on books people are supposed to read in school.

    Like

    November 12, 2014
  18. Reblogged this on Words and other such dilemmas and commented:
    I wouldn’t really think about lying about the books I’ve read , but apparently some people do.

    Like

    November 13, 2014
  19. I can honestly say that I’ve never lied about reading a book. I’ve never been afraid to tell people that I haven’t read something.

    Like

    November 13, 2014
    • I’m that way now. I think in my younger, more formidable, years, I wanted to appear more intellectual than I actually was (or am).

      Like

      November 13, 2014
  20. Reblogged this on sundayblog.

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    November 13, 2014
  21. I think most of the times, it’s the way people ask if we’ve read the book or not, that makes us feel like we’re obligated to say yes. Like it’s a sin to not have read it. Although I’ve never lied about that. I’m just too scared, that the person I’m lying to, might decide to discuss the book and than I’d die from shame 😀

    Like

    November 13, 2014
  22. Am I the only one who read the title as meaning “lounge around”, “loll about”… (well of course I “lie about” reading books on my afternoon off, at weekends, in the summer at the beach…)

    Like

    November 14, 2014
  23. No. I even read all of Moby Dick – for uni and I can’t recommend the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 14, 2014
  24. Here’s the more important question: Have you just seen the Wishbone of the book and claimed to have read it?

    Like

    November 15, 2014
  25. No, I don’t see why people would lie about reading a book. Are they embarrassed?

    Like

    November 16, 2014
  26. Reblogged this on Confessions of a novelist and commented:
    All the time!!

    Like

    November 18, 2014

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