British survey says 62 percent of people lie about having read classic books

The novel people most commonly claim to have read is '1984' by George Orwell, followed by 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy.

By , Staff Writer

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    'A Passage to India' and the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy are two of the works British residents most often lie about having read, according to a new survey.
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Have you ever pretended you’d read a well-known book at a dinner party when you’d only seen the movie version or read the summary on the back?

Then you’re not alone.

According to a new survey, 62 percent of Britons say they’ve read classic books they’ve actually never picked up. The results of the study, which were discovered by people billed only as “a leading research team” by the Telegraph, came from talking to 2,000 members of the British public.

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Fifty-two percent of those who responded said they’ve displayed books on their shelves that they haven’t actually read, while 42 percent said they’ve only seen a film or TV version of a classic novel but have pretended they read the book, too.

The novel most people lie about having read, according to the Telegraph, is “1984” by George Orwell, with “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy coming in second, and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens in third. Coming in at fourth place was “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “A Passage to India” by E.M. Forster took fifth, and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was sixth, followed by “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee at seventh, “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky at eighth, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen at ninth, and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte at tenth.

According to the Daily Mail, women are more likely to lie about having read a classic novel than men. 

Those who rely on film adaptations of classic books to pretend they perused the page have better shots at getting away with it if they’re fibbing about titles like “Lord of the Rings,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “Jane Eyre,” which each received high-profile movie adaptations within the last 15 years. Meanwhile, “Great Expectations,” which came in third on the most-lied-about list, has been adapted into a film starring Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, and Jeremy Irvine which will be released this October in the US.

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