A study conducted to coincide with Great Britain’s recognition of World Book Day revealed that 2 out of 3 Britions have lied about the books they’ve read (source). The number one reason for lying about having read a book was to impress the person they were speaking with. The top ten books cited in the survey were:
1. 1984 – George Orwell (42 percent)
2. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (31)
3. Ulysses – James Joyce (25)
4. The Bible (24)
5. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (16)
6. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking (15)
7. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (14)
8. In Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust (9)
9. Dreams from My Father – Barack Obama (6)
10. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins (6)
I know we are all guilty of having told people we’ve done things we really haven’t (Dren, cough-cough) but maybe the British should just relax and stop trying to impress everybody. We get it. You guys are awesome. You have done some really great things as a nation and have dramatically altered western civilization.
I don’t care if you haven’t read the Bible. I mean, it’s not like that book played a significant role in your country deciding to send missionaries to all corners of the Earth.
Ah, lighten-up Britian. I’m just busting balls. You guys are great and I appreciate you’re honesty, but really, if someone sidles up to you and starts asking about your favorite volume of In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past it’s perfectly fine to say you’ve never read it. In fact, it may get you out of having to sit through a very awkward conversation where you have keep up the appearance of having read the book. Those are just awful.