The books we don’t read

The most lied-about book in England? Orwell’s 1984.

For me it’s business books. The only thing worse, I think, than reading The Black Swan would be having an enthusiast recount it to me chapter by chapter. So what books do you lie about reading?


  1. Carl Holmes

    Pride and Prejudice. Anything of that general Victorian, must read, blah blah era. I rather would wait until it comes out in some movie by a different name and my wife drags me to see it. At least it is over in 2 hours.

  2. lurker

    Not for me personally, I’ve never claimed to read it, but I’d say the Bible is the most lied about book. Second, or perhaps first, is the Koran.

  3. Ruth H

    So far at age 72 I haven’t lied about reading anything but I can’t remember all I’ve read so I might lie in the other direction and say I haven’t read something when I did, many years ago. I wish I could remember all the titles.

  4. Rob H

    Mark Twain said, “A classic is a book that everyone wants to have read, but nobody wants to read.” (or something like that)

    Oh, and for me…it’s Mark Twain.

  5. Terro

    With me, it is the Bible that I don’t read enough of…but I don’t lie about it. It’s too much trouble to keep up a lie.

  6. RockThrowingPeasant

    Gravity’s Rainbow. Read a good deal of it, but just couldn’t finish it. I had to read it in college and I read enough of it to engage in conversation, but I was in college and there were other activities that I preferred.

    I doubt anyone in my class finished that book, including the professor.

  7. Lucy

    Attention Carl Holmes!

    Don’t miss “Bride and Prejudice”. Bollywood. Blockbuster has it. Its just .. different 🙂

  8. Brian

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read as much of “Godel Escher Bach the Eternal Golden Braid” as I ever will, but I haven’t read it in its entirety. However, I like for people to think I’ve read it.

  9. Donna B.

    In my family, you don’t dare lie about having read a book, because someone will have read it and want to discuss it with you.

    Besides, if you say you haven’t read it, they will ‘loan’ you their copy (knowing they’ll have to visit you and search your bookshelves to get it back.)

    “The Black Swan” is in my trunk, but I enjoyed “Fooled By Randomness”. “The Rape of Nanking” is currently on top of my ‘to read’ stack.

  10. trumwill

    Heh. When I read you that 1984 was the most lied about book, I said “No way! That has to be the Bible!”

    Then I followed the link and saw that it pertained to Brits. I guess they don’t even *pretend* to read the Bible over there.

    In the US the answer would have to be the Bible. Unless they think hearing a verse or two every Sunday in church counts as having actually read it.

  11. David Ross

    I can’t believe “A Brief History Of Time” hasn’t been mentioned yet… but I recall most people didn’t lie about reading it; they cheerfully admitted to not understanding it.

    “The Satanic Verses” was another book everyone bought in 1990 and then failed to read. I’m unsure if anyone lied about it though.

    (For the record, I bought both in the late 1980s; have never succeeded in reading the first, but did enjoy the second.)

  12. Deuteronomous

    Gulag Archipelago, on my shelf not far from Hofstader and After Virtue, Alisdair McIntyre. But I have intentions….
    By the way how does one get an invite to the Hall of Men. Given the unlikely event of actually having a free moment in raising my own 3 wild boys.

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