Books

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

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Charlotte Duck
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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.

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Charlotte Duck

Charlotte Duck is a freelance editor and writer. She's written about everything from David Beckham's pants to luxury prams, and interviewed Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Lee from Blue. She's a rubbish cook but very good at tidying. 

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