Let’s Talk Bookish: Why Do People Lie About Reading Books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is Why Do People Lie About Reading Books?

Some people will say they have read books when they really haven’t; why do you think that is?

The main reason I can think of is that they might want to appear smart and well-read and impress the people they’re speaking with, especially if it’s a really popular book, or one that has been nominated for prestigious awards. I imagine it’s also a common occurrence with required reading in school and university, since those books can often be dry or long-winded, so it’s probably easier to read a summary than the book itself.

Have you ever personally lied about reading a book? How do you feel about people who lie about reading books?

No, I don’t see the point in it at all. I’m well aware that there are several very famous titles that I have yet to read and I admit it if I haven’t read something. My overflowing TBR is something I’m quite proud of, actually, and I love discovering new books to add to it through such conversations. At the same time, I’m also very particular about reading books only if I want to, and not due to how hyped it is, so if I don’t want to read a book, I just say so.

If I ask if someone has read a book it’s usually because I’d like to have a conversation about what they liked/didn’t like about it. It becomes obvious pretty quickly if they’re lying about having read it and it’s just an awkward situation all around. While it mostly doesn’t bother me if someone wants to lie about reading a book, it does bother me if people rate or review a book or recommend it without reading it as it affects how other readers see the book too. Lying about such a thing is completely unnecessary and I can’t really sympathize with people who do.

Do you think there’s a certain type of book people are more likely to lie about reading?

People are most likely to lie about reading classics in my opinion. Having read famous works like those of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens or Jane Austen are often seen as the mark of a well-read and cultured person and people may fib about having read these in order to perhaps fit into the conversation better. This can also be the case for very popular books that have been made into movies or TV series.

Why do you think people lie about reading books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Why Do People Lie About Reading Books?

  1. Hasini @ Bibliosini June 4, 2021 / 11:38 pm

    Personally, I haven’t come across anyone who lied about reading a book yet and I’m glad! I can’t imagine how awkward it would get because I like to talk about what I liked/disliked about a book too! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CristinaR June 7, 2021 / 12:40 pm

    I don’t think I ever came across someone that lied about it. I think there is this misconception that everyone has to have read classics or some kind of famous book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) June 7, 2021 / 3:22 pm

      Thanks for reading! I agree, there is definitely a kind of expectation that everyone should have read the major classics which is not really fair as they tend to be heavier novels that don’t appeal to all kinds of readers.


  3. Molly @ Transatlantic Notes August 28, 2021 / 11:26 am

    I completely agree that those who lie about reading a book usually do so to pretend they’ve read a classic. It’s fairly obvious if someone hasn’t read something (if I’ve read it and know it well) and I really don’t see the point in lying. It’s perfectly okay not to have read certain things as there is always time to do so. I have experienced the other side of this which is when I’ve told someone I’ve not read x, y, z and they responded as if I was stupid/uncultured (so I suppose I can see why some people may lie in order to avoid condescension, etc). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) August 29, 2021 / 8:42 pm

      Thanks for reading! I agree, it’s completely ok to not have read a particular book because everyone has different reading tastes and there’s no point lying about it.


  4. Kevin Foodie August 28, 2021 / 4:33 pm

    It is weird that someone would lie about reading a book 📚 . There are no true benefits. Reading doesn’t make you smart, it may make you more knowledgeable and its good for your cognitive development. IDK

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dolphinwrite August 28, 2021 / 6:05 pm

    While growing up, we noticed some people would lie just about anything. Strange phenomena. There are people who are like chameleons, changing to the surroundings, and even when found out, go along. Then, there are those just trying to fit in, but they must know eventually people will find them out. Odd.

    Liked by 1 person

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