The Books We Say We’ve Read

Have you ever lied about read­ing a book? Well, if so, you’re hard­ly alone. Accord­ing to The Guardian, 65% of peo­ple polled in a sur­vey admit­ted to hav­ing made such a lie. And what books did they claim to have read? George Orwell’s 1984 ranked #1. Then the order went some­thing like this: Tol­stoy’s War and Peace, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and the Bible

I was remind­ed today that 1984 was first pub­lished 60 years ago. You can get the 60th anniver­sary edi­tion here, or you can always down­load a free, high qual­i­ty audio book from And, for more free audio books, vis­it our large col­lec­tion.

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  • Hannah says:

    I did read 1984 — I’m a bit sur­sprised about that one, I thought every­one read that, most peo­ple in their teens. It’s not even very long or “hard”, why would­n’t you just read it if you’re inter­est­ed enough to PRETEND you’ve read it? Strange!

    I have lied about War and Peace though. I strug­gled to page 900 of 1000 and then just gave up. I did­n’t like the way things were going and want­ed to read some­thing else. Stu­pid! It was enough to get me through the exam, but I don’t think I’ll ever have enough courage to start it all over again…

    I haven’t read Ulysses or the Bible, and I’d nev­er lie about that. Why would you? I just don’t see the point.

  • Dan Colman says:

    If you’ve read 900 pages of W&P, I would­n’t call it a flat out lie. It’s 90% truth, 10% lie. Not too shab­by.

  • Hanoch says:


    One rea­son to read the Bible might be to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the foun­da­tion upon which all of West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion was built (not to men­tion the pro­found impact it had on Tol­stoy’s views). Hard­ly insignif­i­cant stuff.

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