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    #1

    book liar

    It happened to me recently. I was telling someone how much I had enjoyed reading Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father and how it had changed my views of our President. A friend I was talking to agreed with me that it was, in his words, “a brilliantly written book”. However, he then went on to talk about Mr. Obama in a way which suggested he had no idea of his background at all. I sensed that I was talking to a book liar.
    And it seems that my friend is not the only one. Approximately two thirds of people have lied about reading a book which they haven’t. In the World Book Day’s “Report on Guilty Secrets”, Dreams From My Father is at number 9. The report lists ten books, and various authors, which people have lied about reading, and as I’m not one to lie too often (I’d hate to be caught out), I’ll admit here and now that I haven’t read the entire top ten. But I am pleased to say that, unlike 42 percent of people, I have read the book at number one, George Orwell’s 1984. I think it’s really brilliant.
    The World Book Day report also has some other interesting information in it. It says that many people lie about having read Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky (I haven’t read him, but haven’t lied about it either) and Herman Melville.
    Asked why they lied, the most common reason was to “impress” someone they were speaking to. This could be tricky if the conversation became more in–depth!
    But when asked which authors they actually enjoy, people named J. K. Rowling, John Grisham, Sophie Kinsella (ah, the big sellers, in other words). 42 percent of people asked admitted they turned to the back of the book to read the end before finishing the story (I’ll come clean: I do this and am astonished that 58 percent said they had never done so).

    1. How did the author find his friend a book liar?
    The answer given is "By discussing the book itself". But I think it is also possible that "his friend talks about something else about Mr. Obama, which makes me doubtful about his words".

    2. Are the two underlined "42 percent of people" the same group of people, who pretend to have read a book when in fact they don't?

    Thanks for your help!

    Jason

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: book liar

    First of all, I have never head the term "book liar" so please don't think this is a commonly used expression.
    The answer is "He is a book liar because he said he had read a book but really had not." Your answer doesn't make sense - they are talking about the book, not other things about the president.

    It would be astronomically improbably that the exact same survey respondents who had not read 1984 were the same ones who read the ending of a book early.

    If I asked ten people their favorite color was and 3 said, and then I asked what their favorite flower was, and three said it was a daisy, I can use 30% for both, but they do not have to be the three same people.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: book liar

    If someone was ignorant of the facts about the President that were in the book, that would reveal that he had not read it. In Obama's case, for example, if someone acted surprised that he had lived in Indonesia for a while, or that his mother was named "Stanley."

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    #4

    Re: book liar

    Thank you both!

    One of the questions for this text is as follows:

    Which of the following is a “guilty secret” according to the World Book Day report?

    The answer is "42% of people pretended to have read 1984."

    But I could only infer from the passage that 42% of people didn't read 1984. How can I get the message "pretended to"?

    Plus, if "42 % of people pretended to have read 1984" is true, it is not in agreement with "Approximately two thirds of people have lied about reading a book which they haven’t." in the same paragraph. 42% is far from "two thirds of people", isn't it?

    What do you make of it?

    Thanks again!

    Jason

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: book liar

    What the author writes is ambiguous here. "But I am pleased to say that, unlike 42 percent of people, I have read the book at number one, George Orwell’s 1984." As I read it, this could simply mean that 42% of people haven't read 1984. But in the context, it probably means that 42% of people said they have read 1984, but haven't.

    I don't understand how 42% lying about reading 1984 conflicts with 67% lying about having read a book which they haven't. Not all books are 1984; and the percentage of people who lied about any book has to be equal to or higher than the percentage who lied about 1984.

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