April 25, 2017

Lying about The Lord of the Rings, and other ways to look cool


For CNET, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper writes that nearly a quarter of UK Millennials say they’ve read J. R. R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, “when they have in fact just watched the film.”

(An important caveat: this particular definition of “Millennial” only includes people ages eighteen to twenty-four, but the general consensus is that the generation is much more inclusive: the Census Bureau identifies a Millennial as anyone born between 1982 and 2000; Pew says anyone between 1981 and 1997. Also, “Millennial” is an OK term now.)

But it’s not just Tolkien. Brits of all ages are also apparently lying about having read Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting.

Why lie?

The report, which The Reading Agency commissioned to celebrate World Book Night (that was last weekend, on Sunday, the 24th), found that “men are the biggest culprits, with one in five (19%) admitting they’d lie about their reading habits in order to impress in a job interview. Other top scenarios are stretching the truth whilst on a date, when meeting the in-laws, and on social media profiles.”

These would-be-readers really know how to wow ’em.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.