How many books have you lied about reading?

Books I've Lied about reading

I have a confession; it’s months and months since I read a classic book. PLEASE DON’T ATTACK ME.

I went through a stage of really getting into classic books; I read them in the bath, on the floor of trains, on buses and snuggled up in bed. Might have made it through half the list I promised myself I would read and then for some reason I stopped. Over the last 6 months I put down all the classics and pretty much have only been picking up crime and thriller books since.

I clicked onto Facebook this morning (#PRODUCTIVITY) and this post flashed up; How Many Of These Books Have You Lied About Reading?

I love Buzzfeed and their click-bait titles, and I thought what the hell. I ended up with this answer.

You checked 5 out of 52 on the list.

You’re not bothered about how cultured you’re perceived to be. You’re not into the
classics and don’t mind who knows that. Lying about the books you’ve read is a slippery slope that you refuse to fall down.

So, these are the books that I might have white lied about reading and to be completely honest with you, I’m not even that ashamed.

The List

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I feel many readers, as like myself might have at some point said a tiny porky as to whether they’ve read someone’s favourite classic. Maybe in this situation:

Person in Love with the book: “Oh god, everyone has read Gone with the Wind! Seriously, it’s an honour to have been born in a time where it was written.”

Lizzy (awkwardly) “Oh, never read it myself – cover put me off. Think I might have heard good things but not put my mind to it yet.”

Person in Love with the book: “Well, right, bye.”

Okay, maybe not as extreme as that but it’s how I’ve felt on numerous occasions. It’s like when you meet a boy and they ask you whether you’ve heard of a certain band. Suddenly they are your favourite band despite the fact you’ve never heard of them.

“Oh, didn’t they do a secret gig in Manchester 4 years ago – yeah I was there. Wore a band tee and they picked me out from the crowd. Pretty cool tbh with you. Oh you didn’t hear of that very secret gig, well can’t call yourself much of a fan can you.”

So, I thought today we could come clean about the classic books we might have lied about reading. In the spirit of positivity let’s not get down that we never made it through Oliver Twist or that we found Pip’s journey a massive let down (Great Expectations is not a book I own up to have read – I despised it.)

PS: I just want to point out Buzzfeed it’s not that I’m not into classics.  Just, I haven’t read them yet.

Let me know which bookish white lie reads you want to get off your chest in the comments.



  1. December 2, 2016 / 9:12 am

    I cant remember lying about reading. I too get into dry months of a particular genre. Thats just the way it is. Hope your classic dry spell breaks soon

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 10:03 am

      Thank you!

  2. December 2, 2016 / 10:38 am

    I agree that the conclusion of the quiz doesn’t correlate to the question. It asks ‘How many of these books have you lied about reading?’ I answered 4 so it also said I wasn’t bothered about the classics. However, I have read most of the rest, so I haven’t lied about reading and enjoying those. Ergo, I LOVE the classics!

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 10:03 am

      It doesn’t make sense does it – argh.

      You’ll have to let me know what your favourites are – I’m looking to read more classics this year!

      • December 10, 2016 / 8:05 pm

        My favourites, in no particular order:

        Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
        Persuasion by Jane Austen
        A Room With A View by E M Forster
        The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
        Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
        Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
        Staying On by Paul Scott
        Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
        Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
        Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

        Some people might argue that the lady doesn’t qualify as a classic but it is a fabulous book – if I were absolutely forced to choose only one book as my all-time favourite, that might be it.

  3. December 2, 2016 / 12:03 pm

    I have just written about this very topic on my own blog a couple of weeks ago. I was inspired by Andy Miller’s book ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ which I highly recommend. I am following his lead and reading 10 classics next year which I have listed and will blog about (he read a lot more!) Happy Reading!

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 10:02 am

      I’ll have to go and find that post and the book you’ve suggested! I’m going to attempt to read another ten classics this year – do you have any suggestions?

    • December 10, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Weirdly, I didn’t really enjoy that book!

  4. December 2, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    I don’t lie about books I’ve read. Two reasons – one, I’m a Creative Writing tutor, so it is a really stupid move on my part to claim I’ve read a book when I haven’t as it completely undercuts my credibility; two, I’m allergic to the kind of pressure that dictates that some genres are ‘better’ than others. There amazing, life-enhancing books in every genre, as well as real clunkers that have you tossing them across the room halfway through page 2. Or wishing you had…

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 10:01 am

      I am very partial to a book throwing I have to admit!

      I think no lying about books you’ve read as a creative writing tutor is a very good point! I must admit I’ve had a couple of situations I’ve had to wrinkle out of because I’ve said a point about a book and then go something wrong! OOPS.

  5. hollykerrauthor
    December 2, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    I’ll be honest, I’ve lied about reading 3 books on the list, one being Alice in Wonderland. And since I am being honest, I sometimes fib about movies I’ve seen! If you watch the trailer and read a review you can get the gist of the plot. I’ve had whole conversations with people about movies I’ve never seen! There – I feel better now. 🙂

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 10:00 am

      I did think that this post would make people feel better! I’m glad it helped get it off your chest. I have read Alice and Wonderland but it took a number of go’s. Not the easiest of books!

  6. December 4, 2016 / 2:11 am

    So… it’s not that I lie about reading a particular book, it’s that I lie about completing a book. That’s a grey area, right? When I say “I’ve read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, I really mean, “I’ve read the first three quarters and then my eyes started glazing over, so I skimmed through the last quarter of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. I’d NEVER say “Oh yea, I totally read Brave New World” when really I just read SparkNotes and crossed my fingers really hard when I found out about the pop quiz.

    I’m actually not a fan of the Classics though (eh, that’s not entirely true. They Great Gatsby was a bit of a rollick, and I’ve always been keen on Shakespeare), so I tend to avoid the topic. I don’t like admitting that I don’t enjoy them because it seems that every other reader I know LOVES the Classics. It’s embarrassing! I always start the year totally motivated to dive into the classics only to give up 10 chapters in. I suspect I’m selecting the wrong books, but I have no idea where to even start.

    • littlebookblog
      December 5, 2016 / 9:59 am

      Actually that is true of me and Frankenstein and Atonement – I’ve read maybe the first couple of chapters and then thought. Kinda know what happens! I’ve relied on Spark Notes many a time when trying to write out bits and bobs about classics! It’s a hove of information.

      When I started out I hated classics – in the end I ended up just picking up ones that related to books I already liked. Mystery, parties, romance all rate highly in my classics and came because I adore Gatsby. I just googled and searched for books like Gatsby and have slowly widened my classics circle!

  7. December 16, 2016 / 2:41 am

    Haha I never actually lied about reading a book, but I wish I have read more of the classics. I’m making it a priority. However, my last classic, Frankenstein – oh, man I hated it so much. I actually preferred it when I could say: no I haven’t read it. Now I am one of those people who don’t appreciate the classics! 🙂

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