When it comes to literary classics, Brits are a nation of book bluffers according to the latest research from the Lindeman’s Wine & Book Club, which has revealed 71% of Britons lie to their friends and family, claiming to have read books they haven’t really in order to keep face. 

Fear of being perceived as stupid has been cited as the most common reason for the ‘book bluffing’ phenomenon.

Topping the bill as the most fibbed about book is Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, with over a quarter (26%)of the nation claiming to have read the book that captured the heart of millions of women.

Coming in a close second is Lord of the Rings (17%), which supports the theory that there is a tendency to lie about books that have been made into films - perhaps the secret to a bluffer’s success.

What’s more, the findings show men are more likely to bluff about the books they’ve read than their female counterparts and the reason is trying to impress a prospective partner. 

Women, on the other hand are most likely to lie to a female friend or colleague, suggesting this is who they feel judged by most.

The top five books Brits claim to have read but haven’t really are:

1. ‘Pride & Prejudice’

2. ‘The Lord of the Rings

3.  ‘Jane Eyre

4.  ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’

5.  ‘The Hobbit

Unfortunately, there are pitfalls to being a book bluffer, in particular not knowing the authors of the highbrow novels you’re supposed to have read. 

Surprisingly (or not as the case may be) less than half (45%) of the nation recognises Emily Bronte as the author of Wuthering Heights, commonly mistaking Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte and even Kate Bush as the master pieces creator. 

As for other classics 15% of respondents thought Jane Austen wrote Jane Eyre and the Bronte sisters were most commonly mistaken as the authors of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

According to Debrett's the authority on etiquette:  "Social etiquette is an important part of being British and we’ve been bound by it for centuries. We can’t help but care about how we’re perceived by others; it’s an intrinsic part of our DNA, which makes the lengths we’ll go to keep face ever more amusing. 

"Perhaps not so surprising is the fact that men are most likely to bluff about the books they’ve read in order to win over the fairer sex, however it’s interesting to find that women are most concerned about being judged by other female peers, casting a shadow on modern day notions of sisterhood".

The poll was conducted by the Lindeman’s Wine & Book Club to celebrate the launch of its new initiative with Oxfam Books, which encourages people to use their local Oxfam bookstore more readily for purchasing and donating books.

With Oxfam bookstores around the country, there’s every opportunity to discover all those books you may have fibbed about reading whilst raising funds for Oxfam. As part of the campaign, Lindeman’s is launching a series of Lindeman’s Wine & Book Club events, which will take place in Oxfam bookshops nationwide. 

The events will encourage local communities to get together over a glass of wine and a good book, whilst raising money in support of Oxfam.

  1. by Liz 11th May 2012 15:22

    OK, fibbing Britons, go read The Hobbit. It's the perfect bedtime story. You could read it in a day. And it's brilliant. Don't be daunted by the excessive prose in Lord of the Rings, To... Read More

  2. by Richard Mahony 15th May 2012 13:18

    There's read and then there's READ. Skimming ain't the same as deep text analysis.

    The first time I read LOTR, when I was very young, I skipped over all the songs, as did my daughte... Read More