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

Comments

More

The new cookbooks to boost your culinary know-how in 2017

Simple ways to update your kitchen repertoire

17 Jan 2017

These are the books that President Obama wants everyone to read

Bookworms, rejoice: President Obama has compiled a reading list for you

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jan 2017

Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Grey musical?

Theatre bosses have big plans for EL James’ book series …

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

15 moving books about animals to keep you on the Veganuary wagon

Keep your vegetable-consumption goals on track

by Scarlett Cayford
13 Jan 2017

Meet Daliyah, the four-year-old bookworm who has read over 1,000 books

She goes to the library every single day

by Sarah Biddlecombe
13 Jan 2017

Illustrator depicts how depression really feels in beautiful new book

“You are not alone.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
12 Jan 2017

Watch the chilling first trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale

The upcoming adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel has never felt more relevant

by Kayleigh Dray
09 Jan 2017

Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel confirmed to star in The Handmaid’s Tale

The real-life Rory Gilmore is headed to Margaret Atwood’s Gilead…

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Jan 2017

One book addict’s tale of 40 literary loves and fiction fails

Stylist's Jamie Klingler on the books she devoured in 2016, from the spellbinding to the over-hyped

by Jamie Klingler
05 Jan 2017

Everything you need to know about the 2016 Costa Book Awards winners

by Moya Crockett
04 Jan 2017