You’ve read these books. Sure you have.

According to a survey conducted by Spread the Word, a UK book advocacy group, two-thirds of respondents admitting lying about having read certain books. Which books do people most often lie about having read? Following are the ten top claimed-to-have-read titles. Orwell is the runaway winner — why?

1. 1984 by George Orwell (42%)
2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (31%)
3. Ulysses by James Joyce (25%)
4. The Bible (24%)
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (16%)
6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (15%)
7. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (14%)
8. In Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (9%)
9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (6%)
10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (6%)

I’ve read all but 7, 9, and 10 (no. 2 in translation).

The mysterious thing about this list is why anyone would lie about having read Richard Dawkins. It must be a UK thing.

The picks of this litter, BTW, are 3, 4, 5, and 8.


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  1. You cast doubt on my literacy? Well, I haven’t read Ulysses, tried to read Stephen Hawking but couldn’t get past the first chapter and scanned Obama’s and Dawkin’s books. I read Orwell after reading a biography of him which made it more interesting.

  2. What prompted this survey? It’s pretty humorous especially because that list contains books most self-proclaimed intellectuals claim to have read thoroughly and have googled opinions on.

    ( Edited by xensen per policies: no keywords in user names.)