31 March 2009

I've read it, I swear...

Okay, so I've admitted a few times on this blog that I occasionally recommend books to customers in the shop without ever having read so much as the back cover. But generally, in conversation with people whose opinions I actually care about, I am truthful about things I've read. The same cannot be said of the general British populace apparently. A survey as part of World Book Day yielded the following list of the top ten books people lie about having read:

1. 1984 - George Orwell
2. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
3. Ulysses - James Joyce
4. The Bible
5. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
6. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
7. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
8. In Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust
9. Dreams of My Father - Barack Obama
10. The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

Huh. Why the hell would anyone lie about having read Proust? Seriously. People are only going to believe you've read Proust if you're the kind of person who would actually read Proust and who wouldn't lie if they hadn't.

It's such a weird list - 1984, I can kind of understand (come on people, it's not that long...), Midnight's Children ditto. Ulysses? No one has read Ulysses. No one. I wouldn't believe someone if they said they had. Richard Dawkins? Really? I wonder if he should be honoured to have made the list? I think it's kind of funny that Dreams of My Father made the list...I am surprised it is not higher up - it seems every second book club is doing this at the moment because 'you've just got to have read it'. Whatever. I realise I'm just rambling on, feeling superior to people who lie while I've read a grand total of one of the books on the list. (1984. I read one sentence of Ulysses (all 30 pages of it) and threw in the towel). So instead of rambling on further about these and not really getting anywhere, let's have a look at what the people are really reading :

Harry Potter, Mills and Boons, Sophie Kinsella and Jeffrey Archer.
(Well one of our commenters will be happy to confirm that...)
(Not that I am saying ANYTHING disparaging about any of these books. (except Jeffrey Archer). I am a Harry Potter nerd. And have been known to dabble in a little light Mills and Boon reading (only when ill and fuzzy headed...))

I am rocking the brackets today. Your thoughts?
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