5 Ways to Fake Having Read a Book


Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a difficult situation: you’ve promised someone—your book group, your professor, your friend, your boss—that you’d read a book. And you have not. It may be damaging and/or embarrassing to tell the truth, and so you must lie.

It’s imperative that when you lie, that you are believed. Because even worse than a person who promised to read a book and failed to do, is someone who promised to read a book and then unconvincingly lied about it. Just follow these useful tips, and no one will suspect a thing!

1. Respond to statements about the unread book with exaggerated body language.

If someone describes the book as “largely overhyped,” nod vigorously. If a person critiques the book’s tone as “contrived,” raise your eyebrows and curve your lips downward, as if you were smelling bad cheese, then nod slightly. If you’re in a large group and someone makes a statement that seems controversial, make pointed eye contact with people who are shaking their heads, and say “I disagree” to no one in particular.

2. Fixate on a random passage and question the author’s usage of basic pronouns.

But what did the author really mean by it? Was he referring to the object in the previous sentence, or did “it” stand for a larger theme? And what about the author’s use of commas on page 23? Weren’t there an excessive number of commas? Is this a subtle message about the the human race’s fragmented thoughts?

3. Use the word “problematic” to describe the prose, structure, character development,  perspective, or conclusion of the book in question.

If asked to elaborate, simply respond with, “I’m not sure if it’s worth my explaining if you don’t know what I’m referring to.”

4. Turn the quizzer into the quizzee. 

Say something like, “This book reminds me of [insert title of book you’ve read here], but I’m not quite sure why. Have you read [same book title]?”

5. If all else fails, feign general hopelessness with society.

“I mean, how can we sit here discussing [current conversation topic], when they’ve just banned The Bluest Eye in Ohio?”

Have you ever lied about reading a book? Time to fess up! 

  • Aubrey Pedersen Sorenson

    In my English classes, more often than I’d care to admit. The real key was to comment on the comments people made about the book. Then it would seem like you were participating, when in actuality you hadn’t read a word. As for essays…well, close readings were always helpful for that.

    • sophronia856

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  • John H

    I don’t think I read anything that I was supposed to. I read the Cliff’s Notes and listened well in class. Did all right, too.

  • lindseymason

    The best trick is to read the first two chapters and the last two. That way you have something specific to comment about. In case of needing more information, look at book reviews for it. Google is your friend.

  • Awmoondah

    Freshman year of college, I met someone who read EVERYTHING, and on time, too. Never been more bewildered in my life. I refused to feel guilty though…The reason why I could never read everything in its entirety/on time was because I loved reading too much. In college, the only way to read everything is to skim. You cover whole complex books in two lectures’ time – if you speed read Kant just to be able to say you read it all, you won’t be able to talk about any part of it in class.

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