Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.
JUNE 4: WHY DO PEOPLE LIE ABOUT READING BOOKS? (SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ JILLIAN THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY)
Prompts: Some people will say they have read books when they really haven’t; why do you think that is? Have you ever personally lied about reading a book? How do you feel about people who lie about reading books? Do you think there’s a certain type of book people are more likely to lie about reading?
Welcome to June’s LTB, everyone! This first topic is certainly an interesting one, though admittedly not one that I think about often. I didn’t even know this was really a thing, since I don’t usually question the truth behind someone claiming to have read a book.
I have never personally lied about reading a book, and I’m not sure just how often this really happens. However, I definitely remember times where I claim to have heard of a book, when I really haven’t. I don’t really do it on purpose, but some titles/author names are familiar and I forget if I have really heard of them or not. Either way, I find this affirmative response to be more encouraging to move conversation forward, which is why I usually choose to say that I have heard of the name before. This, I totally understand in conversation, as it doesn’t really matter whether the listener really has heard of it or not, it’s just a tool to move forward with the conversation.
All this being said, I don’t (or try not to?) lie about having read nor having heard of books/authors when it comes to something like an online blog post (outside of a conversation), as I find this to serve little purpose. When would it be necessary for me to do so, anyway? I think it’s okay not to have heard about something, and to admit that – nobody’s perfect!
I don’t think it’s the greatest sin to pretend you’ve read something when you haven’t, or honestly, when you thought you’ve read something that you really haven’t. That’s happened to me before! When you hear about a book so often (sometimes part of its plot), until you think wait, didn’t I read that already? Yes, I totally get it. I don’t think there’s too much harm in this kind of white lie usually, depending what the intentions are. Besides, if one is always lying about books they (haven’t) read, I think it becomes pretty obvious after a while.
I think people will most often lie about having read “classic” literature, likely to feel or seem more well-read. Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Little Women, Shakespeare, etc., these are often books that many well-read people will have already read. Just to “fit in”, or to seem more educated, I believe people would be willing to fib a little and say they’ve read those before. Honestly sometimes I can’t even remember which of Shakespeare’s plays I read in school, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I thought I had read Romeo and Juliet (gasp, I haven’t).
What do you all think? It doesn’t seem like too big a deal – I struggle to think where such a lie could really harm or cause damage in any real way. It could be a slippery slope to other lies and deception, but in and of itself seems relatively harmless. In fact, it seems like more harm to oneself than anyone else, no?