Fifty Shades is 'most embarrassing read' for Mumsnet users

Fifty Shades is 'most embarrassing read' for Mumsnet users

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James has been voted the "most embarrassing book in the world", according to Mumsnet users.

The online survey, designed to gauge the reading habits of parents, revealed that blockbuster by EL James (Arrow) was the book mumsnet users would be most embarrassed to be caught reading with 43% of the vote, while Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump's tome took home 13% of the vote for Think Like a Champion (Running Press) and came in second place.

Half (50%) of respondents believe that erotica is the "most frowned upon" of literary genres, while literary fiction is considered the "most prestigious" by nine out of 10 (90%).

The survey found that a fifth (20%) have pretended to read a book when, in fact, they haven’t.  Of those, nearly a quarter (22%) said it was because “the person/people I was talking to assumed I’d read it, and I played along”.  The books people have pretended to have read include Lord of the Rings (9%, HarperCollins); Wuthering Heights (8%, Wordsworth Editions); War and Peace (8%, Vintage);1984 (7%, Penguin); and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (6%, Arrow).

Nine out of 10 (89%) said there’s a book they’ve never read, but feel they should have, including: again, War and Peace (38 %), To Kill a Mockingbird (23%) and Wuthering Heights (18); as well as Great Expectations (21%) and Anna Karenina (18%).

The survey comes ahead of Mumsnet’s first children’s books festival, Bookfest, featuring award-winning author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, Andy Stanton on Mr Gum’s 10th anniversary, and creator of the Tom Gates series, Liz Pichon, plus the official Wimpy Kid show and an interactive Harry Potter event.

Mumsnet c.e.o. Justine Roberts said: “We know from the popularity of our Book Club that Mumsnet users love reading, so it’s interesting that so many seem to be turned off by canonical classics. Maybe the shadow of the school set text looms large. It’s unsurprising, though, that so many only pretend to have read Lord of the Rings: when your house is full of tiny people who are easily annoyed and don’t always make sense, you’re unlikely to turn to elves in your down time.”