Survey: Britons lie about reading

March 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM
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LONDON, March 5 (UPI) -- A survey released to coincide with World Book Day suggests two-thirds of Britons have lied about reading classic books such as Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

The survey of 1,342 people, commissioned by the organizers of Thursday's World Book Day, found 42 percent of those who admitted to lying about reading had claimed to have read George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" without actually cracking open the tome while 31 percent said the same of "War and Peace," The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

An additional 25 percent of the admitted literary liars said they had claimed to read "Ulysses" by James Joyce, 24 percent claimed to have read the Bible and 16 percent claimed to have read Gustave Flaubert's "Madam Bovary."

Jonathan Douglas, director of Britain's National Literacy Trust, said people claim to have read books so they can seem more intelligent to potential mates.

"Research that we have done suggests that the reason people lied was to make themselves appear more sexually attractive," he said. "People like to be seen to be readers. It makes them look good. They said they were prepared to lie about what they'd read to impress people, particularly when it came to potential partners."

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