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Most Britons 'lie about their reading'

TWO out of three Britons have lied about reading books they have not, and George Orwell's "1984" tops the literary fib list, according to a survey published this week.

Commissioned by organisers of World Book Day, an annual celebration of reading in Britain, the study also shows that the author people really enjoy reading is J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter wizard series.

According to the survey, 65 percent of people have pretended to have read books, and of those 42 percent singled out "1984."

Next on the list came "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy and in third place was James Joyce's "Ulysses". The Bible was in fourth position, and newly elected US President Barack Obama's autobiography "Dreams from My Father" came ninth.

Aside from a list of 10 titles that respondents were asked to tick or leave blank, many admitted wrongly claiming they had read other "classics" including Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Herman Melville.

Asked why they had lied about reading a book, the main reason was to impress people.

The study, carried out on the World Book Day Website, surveyed 1,342 people.

Thirty-one percent of liars claimed to have read Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace." It was followed by James Joyce's "Ulysses" (25 percent); The Bible (24); Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" (16); Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" (15); Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" (14); Marcel Proust's "InRemembrance of Things Past" (9); Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father" (6); and Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (6).


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