The best blogs are about making you feel that you aren’t alone in your secret little shame. You read them to feel better about feeding your children toast three times a day, cleaning your bathroom with your dirty knickers or fancying Tyrion Lannister. That kind of thing.
This one’s about the books you pretend to read to appear more cultured. Here’s the definitive biggest fibs list:
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
- Life of Pi – Yann Martel
- Lord of the Flies – William Golding
- Animal Farm – George Orwell
- The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkien
- The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
- Ulysses – James Joyce
- Moby Dick – Herman Melville
- The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
- Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
A company that does Mediterranean cruises asked 1500 people what they lie about to appear more cultured.
Pah! I thought. I’m so much more cultured than your average bear. Then I looked at the list.
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (I read the blurb on Audible, does that count?)
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (Can I tick this if I read Sense and Sensibility, it’s more or less the same?)
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone (D’oh, who hasn’t read this?)
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Tick)
- Life of Pi – Yann Martel (Tick)
- Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Does it still count if you did it at school?)
- Animal Farm – George Orwell (Can I count this because I know what it’s about?)
- The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkien (Can’t be doing with Hobbits)
- The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (Tick)
- Ulysses – James Joyce (Nope)
- Moby Dick – Herman Melville (Does half of it count?)
- The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie (I’m pretty sure it’s on the shelf, does that count?)
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (I’ve read it but can’t remember anything about it)
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (I’ve listened to the song)
- Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (I know what it’s about, can I claim it?)
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (School)
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (School again)
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tick)
- The Colour Purple – Alice Walker (It’s on the Kindle)
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (Tick)
It appears that it might be possible to extend the definition of ‘read’ to include ‘intend to read’, ‘have bought the book’, ‘Googled it’, ‘read another by the same author’ and ‘know what it’s about’.
The same survey also revealed a list of countries people claim they’ve visited, food they say they’ve eaten and films or plays they lie about watching. All in the name of appearing more cultured.
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Apparently, if you go on holiday with MSC Cruises, you get more cultured – claim a whole load of countries and cuisines – without the effort of unpacking more than once.
PS The inverse of this is the list of books that you’ve read but deny even knowing about. I’ll throw in 50 Shades and anything by Dan Brown as a starter.