Have You Lied About Reading These Books? You're Not Alone

by Emma Oulton
Twentieth Century Fox

It's no secret that most of us lied about having read the book in English class now and then. Bluffing your way through a book report is no easy task, though, so you would have thought we'd all grow out of that sneaky little habit after we graduate. But according to a recent study by British organization The Reading Agency, 41% of adults in the U.K. have lied about which books they've actually read.

A lot of the time, when somebody says they've read a book, they're not just slightly stretching the truth; they haven't even opened it. Luckily, we have movies to help us lie our way through any awkward questioning — and so I guess it's no surprise that the 13 books adults are most likely to lie about having read have all been adapted into films.

At the top of the list is a rather fitting entry about a man who specializes in deception; it turns out British adults are most likely to lie about having read the James Bond series by Ian Fleming — when they've really just watched the movie adaptations. After that, we find Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, which one quarter of 18–24-year-olds admitted to having pretended they'd read. Here's the full list of culprits:

  1. James Bond books by Ian Fleming
  2. Lord Of The Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  3. The Chronicles Of Narnia series by CS Lewis
  4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  6. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  7. The Wizard Of Oz by L Frank Baum
  8. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  10. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
  11. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  13. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

But why are adults still lying so much, when there are no teachers waiting to fail them? According to the same survey, we're most likely to lie about our reading habits if we want to look good in a job interview. Other situations that bring out our dishonest sides might trying to impress a date, meeting the in-laws, or wanting to look good on social media. But maybe if we spent a bit less time writing on Twitter about books we've never read, we might actually have time to read a few...