7 Books Every Christian Lies About Reading

photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc

photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc

People lie about reading all the time. We want to seem educated and well-read, but we don’t want to put in the actual time to make it through all those books that everyone is talking about.

A 2013 survey found the top 10 books most people lie about reading with George Orwell’s 1984 topping the list. I’ve read three of the 10 and haven’t lied about reading the other seven.

But Christians are not immune to the temptation to lie about books. In fact, we may be even more prone to say we’ve read books we haven’t.

There are some books that are such a part of Christian culture, we do not want to feel isolated from others, so we fudge our way around not having actually made it through the book.

Here are the seven books that every Christian lies about reading.

Institutes Of The Christian Religion – Everybody wants to be a Calvinist, but no one wants to make it all the way through Calvin’s Institutes. Sure, you may own it or have it own your Kindle, but not many have finished it, regardless of their theology.

The Brothers Karamazov – The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky is quoted in virtually every educated, cultured Christian book. But, man, that is one long book. Can I just assume “Karamazov” is Thor and Loki’s last name and watch an Avengers movie?

The SilmarillionThe Lord of the Rings is on the overall list of books everyone lies about, but I’m going to assume you at least made it that far. Then you got to The Silmarillion, the creation story of Middle Earth, got a few pages into it and realized Peter Jackson would never make that into a movie.

Mere Christianity – Do you know how sad this makes me to put this on the list? But I’ve been amazed at how many people haven’t actually read C.S. Lewis’ apologetic masterpiece. I’m just going to move along before I start to openly weep.

Harry Potter – This is on the list for a different reason. Christians lie about reading the Harry Potter books, but we lie and say we didn’t read them. “No, pastor I would never read about that witchcraft … *quietly mumbles* Gryffindor rules!”

A book – Just any old book. At all. Ever. Who has the time to squeeze reading in what with all the other important things happening and having to dust the shelves and organize my socks?

The Bible – Yeah, I went there. Of course, we believe it’s God’s Word, but it’s not quite important enough to read from start to finish. Besides, why would we need to read it – didn’t the Survivor guy and Touched By An Angel lady make a TV miniseries about it. Can’t I just watch that?

For me, I have read the entirety of three of this list, started three others and have not started one at all. How did you do on this list?

What other books do Christians often say they’ve read without ever actually making it all the way through?


  1. OK, I’ll bite. But first, which one did you not start yet?

    1 – I’ve read probably *most* of Institutes. I didn’t read all of Books III or IV with much of their discussion on the Catholic Church. Books I and II were really good, for sure.
    2 & 5 – Nope. And I wouldn’t lie about them.
    3 & 4 – Yes, read every word. Silmarillion was tough to get through, though. Mere Christianity – everyone should read this at least once.

    • OK, here’s my confessions. I have not read a word of Harry Potter, though I actually do want do read it. I’ve read some of Institutes, The Brothers Karamazov and The Silmarillion. I also would like to read them completely.

      Obviously, I have read “a book.” I’ve read Mere Christianity I don’t know how many times and I have read through the Bible in a year (though I’m not doing that currently).

      • 🙂 I actually don’t know that I want to read HP at all. That may change if my kids want to someday. I have nothing against them, for sure. The Silmarillion was good and I also enjoyed The Children of Hurin as the expansion of a section in Silmarillion. Amazed at Tolkein’s creation!

        I would probably say that people lie about reading the Narnia series. 😉 I also have a goal of reading 25 books this year (my 2014 challenge on GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/1381331) and I’m up to 7 now.

  2. Nancy

    I take exception to your title. Sure it grabs attention, but by your own comments you prove it to be incorrect. (just teasing you some there). I have read parts of the Institutes (as part of my seminary education) and own a complete set. I have no desire to read The Brothers Karamazov. I read The Silmarillion as an undergrad. I have begun Mere Christianity. I have read the entire Harry Potter series (all 8 books) I have read the entire Bible a couple of times and my husband teases me because I never go anywhere without a book to read. It is more convenient for me now that I have a Kindle and can take a small library with me wherever I go.

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.