15 Books People Lie About Reading

The stories that everyone knows, but not everyone has read. Next time someone tells you they have read one of these, maybe it is time to call their bluff…

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Portrayed by so many actors and actresses in film and on television, it is likely that you have seen some adaptation of this famous book. Many will refer to their ideal boyfriend as ‘Mr Darcy’, although those that have read the novel might disagree with this idea as Darcy is very far from the perfect boyfriend.

1984 by George Orwell

Most will know this is a dystopian novel, unsurprisingly set in 1984, however, fewer people will know that Orwell’s book popularized the use of many common phrases such as Big Brother, 2+2=5 and Room 101.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Heathcliff and Cathy – a romance so ill-fitted and chaotic that it often becomes a point of reference. But did you know Heathcliff digs up Cathy’s dead body, did you?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So many have claimed to have read this tale but could not describe and explain the ending, of which there are two! So classically British, some may pretend to have read this book, you could say it was a Brtish expectation…

Catch-22 By Joseph Heller

It seems everyone knows the name but no one truly knows the story. This novel enlightens you on the extremities of sanity and the ludicrous nature of war. This book should be read to appreciate the beautiful and intricate craft that would otherwise be ignored.

The Lord of the Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien

Although most people could recite the story of the Lord of the Rings, it is unlikely that these people have read the books. Unfortunately, nowadays we are more likely to watch the film franchise than sit and read books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Everyone I have ever met knows the story of Frankenstein. A quick trick to spot the book-reading-fakers is when they call the Monster ‘Frankenstein’, when we all know it is Doctor Frankenstein and his monster.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles By Thomas Hardy

Many will believe they know how the plot goes in this book, however, once they are asked a question they find themselves unable to answer. The unfortunate life of Tess is something that deserves to be read and not simply watched.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

One of the most talked-about books in recent years, many people will know what the book’s subject matter is. What people do not know are the details of this dystopian novel found only in its pages.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

The tale that every child has heard, in some form, is one that many have never actually read. Although most of us could describe the exact happenings of this book, almost none of us can claim to have truly read it.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Dispute many students being forced to read this book in Secondary school, it is unlikely that these teenagers actually read the famous novel. With most of the classes looking to SparkNotes chapter summaries – to help them pretend they had read the Teacher’s homework – almost none have read and appreciated the genius of this novel.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We have all watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of J. Gatsby, pining after the beautiful Daisy. We may even be able to quotes lines from the book that appear in the movie. But, in reality, there are a select few that have picked up Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

All for one, and one for all, right? Many may know this line but have never even touched a copy of The Three Musketeers, let alone one written in French. The loyalty of these three men should be noted by all.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

A Victorian classic that had been adapted so many times that it is understandable when people pretend to have read it. What these people don’t realise is what they are missing out on. There may not be a musical in the book, but there are so many details that go unnoticed.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman or Robert Downing Jr. and Jude Law. It is likely that you have seen one of these or any of the other adaptions. These short stories are world-renowned, timeless and a nation favourite, so why is it that people have not sat down to read them?

With an increase in the book-to-film or series adaptions, it is becoming more common for people to skip reading the original books. By doing this, these people are missing out of the nuances of the writer’s craft – something that many directors fail to encompass on screen.