Page last updated at 02:47 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Many lie over books 'to impress'

book shelf
Could the right reading matter make all the difference?

Nearly half of all men and one-third of women have lied about what they have read to try to impress friends or potential partners, a survey suggests.

Men were most likely to do this to appear intellectual or romantic, found the poll of 1,500 people by Populus for the National Year of Reading campaign.

The men polled said they would be most impressed by women who read news websites, Shakespeare or song lyrics.

Women said men should have read Nelson Mandela's biography or Shakespeare.

Among the 1,500 who took part in the research were 864 teenagers.

About four in 10 of the 1,500 said they had lied about what they had read to impress friends or potential partners - 46% of men and 33% of women.

Among teenagers, the figure rose to 74%, with most saying they would pretend to have read social networking pages or song lyrics.

I have to confess I do lie about my reading
Ken Day, Essex, UK

One in five adults said they would read their chosen material whilst waiting for their date to arrive in the hope of making a good first impression.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher, director of the National Year of Reading campaign, said: "Reading is a brilliant tool for self-expression.

"I love the fact that every generation seems to know that it can help us all increase our potential appeal in the search for love and romance.

"For all the talk of our superficial obsession with beauty, it looks like underneath it all we know that brains contribute to sex appeal too."

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