Five books to pretend to read while thinking about how clever you look holding a book

READING a book in a cafe, on the Tube or at the wheel of your car makes you look wise and mysterious, even if you’re just posing and not taking in a word.

Here are five books to skim while feeling really smug about how clever other people must think you are.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This dark dystopian tale of a world where women are suddenly more physically powerful than men will completely pass you by as you glance up from it every five seconds to see who’s looking approvingly at your cutting-edge choice of contemporary literature.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Ideal for feigning knowledge of literature because hardly anyone has actually read it. The pigs are the bad guys and communism is a bit shit, is really all you need to know. Now you can get on with thinking about what you’re having for tea.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

You’ve seen the movie(s) or the TV adaptation(s), and the story’s the same as Bridget Jones’ Diary, so you can just let your eyes glaze over for this one and sporadically turn a page for effect.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Everybody wants to look like they’re emotionally stable enough to read The Bell Jar, so now’s your chance. Just make sure not to actually read it, it’s a real bummer.

Any Harry Potter with a fake sleeve by JK Rowling

On the off-chance you do actually want to read a book, you can’t go wrong with any of the Harry Potter books. Just pinch a Tolstoy dust jacket from Waterstones, stick it on The Goblet of Pixies or whatever and you’ll look like a proper intellectual.