Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The book everyone lies about reading to appear more intelligent (it's not War and Peace)

Reading in bed.JPG

Ever pretended to read a great work of literature when all you’ve done is watch it on TV? You’re not alone.

To celebrate their latest TV adaptation of War and Peace, the BBC has commissioned a survey of 2,000 Brits to find the most common literary fib – and, surprisingly, it’s not Leo Tolstoy’s epic.

Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Alice In Wonderland was the tome most people lied about reading, followed by George Orwell’s 1984 and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Tolstoy does make an appearance with War and Peace featuring in fourth place and Anna Karenina in fifth. Other books in the top 20 included Fifty Shades of Grey and The Diary Of Anne Frank.

Alice In Wonderland

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland was the most lied-about book

Top 20 Lied About Books

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

1984 - George Orwell

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy - JRR Tolkien

War And Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen

Bleak House - Charles Dickens

Harry Potter (series) - JK Rowling

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

The Diary Of Anne Frank - Anne Frank

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

Fifty Shades trilogy - EL James

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

The Catcher In The Rye - JD Salinger

Fifty Shades of Grey

E.L James' novel Fifty Shades of Grey also featured on the list

The survey also found that there was a very simple reason for these little, white lies: they make us seem more intelligent, and subsequently more attractive.

While we might be willing to lie about reading acclaimed novels, the BBC found that TV adaptations still encourage viewers to go and out and read the original, with nearly half of those questioned saying that they would be more tempted to buy the book having watched a series.

The final episode of War And Peace airs on BBC One on Sunday February 7 at 9pm.

Related

happiness balloon.jpg

This is the optimum age for happiness in the UK

val day.JPG

Making a Murderer-themed Valentine's cards are here

GwynethPaltrowChrisMartin1.jpg

Gwyneth Paltrow says Chris Martin is like a “brother” to her

ThinkstockPhotos-77737074.jpg

Bride surprises husband with genius secret inscription on wedding ring

AmalClooneyGeorgeClooney4.jpg

George Clooney reveals his secret for a happy marriage

titanic_movie_1997_nice_hd_picture.jpg

At last, Kate Winslet admits Rose let Jack die in Titanic

Cruel Intentions.jpg

Cruel Intentions is set to hit our screens again, 15 years on

ThinkstockPhotos-506316888.jpg

Finally, science discovers why we get Resting Bitch Face

dad bod ken.jpg

Barbie's not the only one having a makeover: introducing dad-bod Ken

More

Mr. Men and Little Miss have been given an hilarious adult update

Little Miss Shy is taking to Tinder...

by Amy Swales
19 Oct 2017

Philip Pullman interview: author finally reveals inspiration for Lyra

His Dark Materials author speaks to Stylist.co.uk about his new trilogy

by Francesca Brown
19 Oct 2017

Why Instagram poet Rupi Kaur credits her success to female friendship

“I want women to feel powerful in their own skin when they read my work.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
13 Oct 2017

“Why the world doesn’t need a retelling of 50 Shades - especially now”

Is Fifty Shades empowering or dangerous?

12 Oct 2017

There’s a new Fifty Shades book on the way – with a twist

We'll finally learn what Christian was thinking in Fifty Shades Darker...

by Megan Murray
10 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon wants you to read these 5 brilliant books

Here are the five female writers she’s championed in recent months

by Susan Devaney
10 Oct 2017

Ladybird releases hilarious grown-up guide to dealing with a breakup

Heartbroken? You need this

by Sarah Biddlecombe
06 Oct 2017

The first look at Fantastic Beasts 2 has arrived

Muggles, assemble

by Susan Devaney
06 Oct 2017

10 must-read books for October

From short stories to epic journeys

by Sarah Shaffi
29 Sep 2017

Feminist publishers are binning manuscripts addressed to ‘Dear sirs’

"People have to stop thinking there are no consequences to being sexist."

by Moya Crockett
29 Sep 2017