Read any good books lately? No, you haven’t

March 9, 2009 by  

While I readily admit that I’ve been in a slump when it comes to reading books (I have about four I’ve started and haven’t made much headway on), I will say that I don’t lie about the books I have read. For the most part:

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four comes top in a poll of the UK’s guilty reading secrets. Asked if they had ever claimed to read a book when they had not, 65% of respondents said yes and 42% said they had falsely claimed to have read Orwell’s classic in order to impress. This is followed by Tolstoy’s War and Peace (31%), James Joyce’s Ulysses (25%) and the Bible (24%).

The poll, conducted to tie in with World Book Day today, also reveals that many of us are impatient readers – we skip to the end – and are not particularly bothered about how we treat the actual book – we turn the page to keep our place.

Charlie Booker of The Guardian had a good take on this phenomena:

Which begs the question: who the hell earnestly believes that claiming to have read the Bible from beginning to end is going to get them laid? Mention your love of the New Testament on a date and you might as well stick a fork in your face and start screaming about ghosts. Potential partners who genuinely adore reading the Bible on a daily basis traditionally don’t mention it until later, when they’ve invited you back to their place to unexpectedly nailgun your hand to the wall while loudly reciting a selection of their favourite parables from memory.



4 Responses to “Read any good books lately? No, you haven’t”

  1. Michael on March 9th, 2009 8:09 am

    That’s odd, but I think Charlie Booker and I have dated some of the same people.

  2. EAAW on March 9th, 2009 10:19 am

    War and peace!?!?!?!?HA!! I know someone that will NEVER EVER EVER EVAH finish that book. As I predicted reading “war and peace” fell in the “taking tennis classes” category.

  3. qatzelok on March 9th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Rather than approaching this information as a problem with readers, I think it points to a problem with books: War and Peace takes weeks to read, and yet the story can be summarized in ten minutes. Why should people – who have better things to do – spend so much of their free time trying to decode so much useless text? Is this really the best use of their time?

    And doesn’t burying knowledge (and observations) in a thousand-page journal entry… doesn’t this make the information ONLY ACCESIBLE to upper middle class people who don’t have to work to support themselves?

    LOL @ class bias in media formats

  4. dgun on March 10th, 2009 3:46 pm

    Behold, the day of the text is upon us. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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