Read any good books lately? No, you haven’t
March 9, 2009 by William K. Wolfrum
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.