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Lies. Damn Lies.

Via Matt, a new poll out of England suggests that people lie about what books they read or have read:

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. 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 [auto]biography or Shakespeare.

As someone who once spent a long weekend reading Nelson Mandela's autobiography (as research for a TNR piece, no less), I am skeptical of these findings. Tyler Cowen thinks people are lying in the poll, and he is probably right. Sadly, however, a look at the complete list of "reads to impress" the opposite sex suggests that men are more likely than women to be attracted to a Jane Austen reader. This is further, disappointing evidence that Austen's books--especially her brilliant, hilarious masterpiece--have not broken through the gender barrier.

But back to Mandela: People really want their dates to show up at a bar with Long Walk to Freedom? Apparently so, because the survey that shows Mandela's book number one also notes:

Nearly one in five adults - 18 per cent - said they would read while waiting for their date to arrive in order to make a good first impression.

--Isaac Chotiner