I don't make any of this up, you know.
In an effort to appear intelligent and learned, one trick used by a surprisingly large percentage of people is to lie about the "classic" books they have read. And, I would say, this list does consist of books which most contemporary readers have heard about. Educated to the point of knowing the titles. Shocked, am I (of course) that Kafka is not on the list.
Another trick is to have copies of these books scattered decorously about ones home, no doubt book marked well past the middle. And I like the hiding of one book inside the other to pretend you are reading the outer. Perhaps this is where Kafka might make an appearance.
I am also partial about the dropping of famous quotes in a conversation to appear more intelligent. It is something I am tempted to do myself, but I never remember them accurately.
I have read five books on this list, and mean to do Crime And Punishment. And I've read large swaths of The Bible.
And all of Kafka. [DE]
Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in MIke Newell's film of 'Great Expectations', one of the classic novels that 62 per cent of British people pretend to have read
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More than half of us lie about reading classic novels
A new study shows that 62 per cent of us pretend to have read classic novels in order to appear more intelligent.
By Phoebe Parke
In a bid to appear more intelligent, more than 60 per cent of people have lied about reading classic novels. A leading research team polled 2,000 members of the British public to find out the tactics people employ to appear more intelligent, with some enlightening results.
The most popular ruse is pretending to have read classic novels, with 42 per cent of people relying on film and TV adaptations, or summaries found online, to feign knowledge of the novels. Surprisingly, half of the adults questioned admit to having displayed books on their shelves without ever having read them.