Sunday, May 24, 2020

Reading Royalty!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Trumpets, ruffles and flourishes: we have true royalty visiting Jungle Red today! No, not who you might be thinking. We are so honored to host the incredibly talented Heather Gudenkauf, who exploded onto the scene with the groundbreaking THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE,  then continued to enthrall readers with a string of bestsellers, and now is out with her brand new book, her  eighth, THIS IS HOW I LIED.

It is fabulous. It is seductive, and sinister, and simmering, and surprising.  It is—Fargo meets Kinsey Milhone. But actually? It’s pure Heather Gudenkauf. And more about that in a minute. But first:

Like all of us, even one of her main characters, Heather started out as a reader.  Sometimes— reading books she wasn’t quite supposed to read. We’ll all talk—but as I said. Heather first.

THIS IS HOW I READ
In my new novel, This is How I Lied, fifteen-year-old Eve Knox is a reader and she loves books with happy endings. Unfortunately, we learn very quickly that things don’t end well for Eve. We only get to know her through the span of one day, but there are a few things we do learn about Eve. She’s a caring, patient sister and she’s a reader. Eve devours books. 

The last book she is reading before she dies (this is not a spoiler – we learn Eve’s fate right away) is The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I did not choose to place this book in Eve’s hands by accident.

When I write my books, I like to leave little clues about
myself within the pages, often leaving references to things have some significance in my life and for This is How I Lied one of those Easter eggs was The Thorn Birds.

I have a long, storied history with The Thorn Birds. The novel was scandalous. It’s a saga about of the ill-fated (and unethical) romance between Meggie Cleary and Roman Catholic priest, Father de Bricassart. It was also a whopping 700 pages and by far the longest book I’d read to date.

“What are you reading?” my mother asked in shock when she caught me reading her well-worn paperback copy. I was twelve and she was used to me reading the innocent Sweet Dreams series that had titles like P.S. I Love You and The Perfect Match.

The Thorn Birds,” I responded distractedly, my eyes still pinned on the pages. “It’s really good.”

“You probably shouldn’t be reading that,” my mother said plucking it from my hand.

“But this is the second time I’ve read it,” I protested. “I read it last year too.” My mother sighed and handed it back to me.

Like most libraries, our public library had two distinct sections: the children’s room and the adult section. They also had two types of library cards – one for children and one for everyone else. When I was little I remember sneaking over to the adult side. It was like stepping into a mysterious realm. The lighting was dim, the air heavier and hushed compared to the busy, bright and noisy children’s room. I roamed the tall stacks looking at the thick volumes that I wasn’t allowed to check out. 

I was always drawn to books that I probably shouldn’t have been reading: Carrie by Stephen King

 Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner

 The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, to name a few.


Finally, the day came and I graduated from the children’s section. Clutching my newly minted library card I went in search of the perfect book. I can’t remember the exact title I checked out that day, but it most likely something that would have given my mother heart palpitations. 

To her credit, my mom never censored my reading choices. When she was a child, the library was a respite for her an escape from her complicated family life. Though my parents gave me an idyllic childhood, she knew how drawn to books I was, could appreciate the need to while the hours away lost in in another world no matter if the content was a bit too advanced for me.

What about you Red and Readers? What forbidden books did you sneak off the shelves?

HANK: I am laughing so hard. Of course! I sneaked Marjorie Morningstar, I remember it perfectly. 


And Ten North Frederick. 


And then, I terrified myself with On The Beach. Who know it was about nuclear winter? Yeesh! 


And then all the James Bond books. 
Under the covers, with a flashlight. 
But I have to confess. I've never read The Thorn Birds. And I did not watch the TV show. Should I?

 And I wonder, too. How about you all? What were your sneak reads?

And hurray! A copy of THIS IS HOW I LIED to one lucky commenter.


Heather is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence. Her eighth novel, This Is How I Lied was released on May 12th. She lives in Iowa with her family.






Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

130 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Heather, on your new book . . . now I’m anxious to find out just what happened to Eve . . . .

    I can’t recall ever having my reading censored . . . .
    When I was growing up, science fiction was my genre of choice and neither my mom nor the librarian ever stopped me from reading anything there [including “On the Beach”]. So, no forbidden books . . . but I do remember the librarian being a bit miffed when I told her I’d read all the science fiction books on the shelves and kind of hinted that I needed some more books to read. To her credit, though, there were new books the next time I went to the library . . . .

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  2. These small town decades long unsolved cases are enthralling. I don’t recall ever having my reading censored. Mom was probably too busy with the younger kids to think about it. I read Marjorie Morningstar too, at least the Readers Digest condensed version. I think Lolita and The Group were college reads. And Peyton Place at some point. I also read The Thorn Birds and even James Michner’s Hawaii had some salacious bits.

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    1. The only dubious looks I got were from a study hall teacher my senior year of high school. I was reading Esquire magazine. Dad had recommended an article in it.

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    2. I'm glad you mentioned THE GROUP. A bunch of us girls passed it around in eighth grade. My mother would have died!

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    3. Oh The Group! I read that 1 million times! I have to think I was in college, though, so no more for bidden books…

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    4. I've never read Marjorie Morningstar ~ I have to add this to my list.

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    5. It is really strange, in fact. I tried to read it again recently, and the point of view is so all over the place that it was distracting. But I remember it being wonderful.

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  3. I was never told I couldn't read a book, but I have to wonder if my mother knew I read Valley of the Dolls when I was in junior high. I remember I read it before the movie came out, so that would have put me at about 13. And, I saw the movie, too, so I'm wondering how that happened, because I don't think my mother would have been okay with that. Hmm. I'll have to think about it, see if I can remember. Heather, I was fascinated by the side of the library that was the adult side, too. When I finally was allowed in that area, I remember the mysteries drew me, with their intriguing covers. I read Looking for Mr. Goodbar and The Thorn Birds, too, but they were college and the year after college, so no need to sneak then.

    I am so excited about reading This Is How I Lied, Heather. With my reading not being what I'd hoped it would be during this stay-at-home time, I am behind, but your book is on my reading schedule. I so want to know what happened to Eve.

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    1. Valley of the dolls! Yes! And The Other Side of Midnight. But I’m not sure I had to sneak those… .

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    2. Yes! There was something about the other side of the library that called to me. I hope you love This is How I Lied ~ please let me know what you think.

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    3. You know Cathy is a star reviewer, so it will be fabulous to hear what she says!

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    4. Hank, you are always so kind to me. xoxo

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  4. Like Heather, my mother took me to the public library as a haven from real life. I quickly transitioned from reading Encyclopedia Brown and Little House on the Prairie books to Golden Age mystery books by Allingham, Christie, Sayers, Tey and Marsh after getting my adult library card.

    My dad thought it was fine to go watch the James Bond movies as a family. I was probably 7 or 8 years old when we saw the first one together (Live and Let Die). This annual tradition of watching a James Bond film continued into my tween/teen years. I got my first part-time job as our (junior high) school library at 13. Although I read some Ian Fleming books from the public library, the ones in our junior high school library had much racier covers, with very scantily-clad women. No one really noticed me checking those books out or reading them at home, or cared.

    Looking forward to reading THIS IS HOW I LIED, Heather.

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    1. And they were really good, weren’t they? I remember really liking them. Wonder how they hold up…

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    2. I watched the James Bond movies with my dad too and the Planet of the Apes movies. My sisters and I took him to the last one that came out in the theaters. So much fun! Hope you love This is How I Lied!

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    3. I certainly read more "realistic" British espionage/spy books after Fleming (Le Carre, Deighton) but I really did enjoy the Fleming books. The exotic locales, the gourmet food, the fashion and women. And it was interesting to compare which James Bond films closely followed the book plot, and which ones had only the book title in common!

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  5. Congratulations on the new book, Heather!

    My parents owned what seemed like an infinite number of books and all of them were fair game. I read Poe, Conan Doyle, and Jules Verne at a young age. I snagged my mom's Christie books, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Ngiao Marsh, went on to Nevil Shute, and more, but none of it was off limits, for which I am so grateful. We also spent a huge amount of time in the library, but I don't remember a distinction in the kind of library card.

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    1. I can’t remember either, Edith, whether there were adults and children cards…. hmmm

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    2. Thank you! I gravitated toward the Christie books too. The first one I read was Hallowe'en Party.

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  6. Welcome to JRW Heather! The one book I remember sneaking to school because I couldn't stop reading was GONE WITH THE WIND. I also loved THE THORN BIRDS. And this conversation!

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    1. Oh, that is so cute! I can just imagine that…

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    2. I hate to admit it, but I've never read Gone with the Wind. It's always been on my list - time to move it to the top!

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    3. You know, I will join you in that confession! I’m not sure I have ever actually read it either, come to think of it.

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  7. Welcome Heather, and just so you know, I took a side trip to Amazon and ordered THIS IS HOW I LIED.

    When we finally got a branch library in my small town, my mother took me there, introduced me to the librarian, Miss Marie Ohlhausen, emphasis on the "Miss", and told her I could read anything I wanted to read, no restrictions. I was maybe nine at the time, already ready all I could get my hands on. I doubt Miss Marie allowed anything on the shelf more racy than Mazo de la Roche's Jalna series, but oh well.

    My parents had a pretty good library at home, and they bought me lots and lots of books, mostly classics. However they had a paperback stash that I wasn't supposed to know about. These included TOBACCO ROAD, GOD'S LITTLE ACRE, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, and something called a marriage manual.

    Ah the summers of my youth, from nine to seventeen, when I read salacious literature and wondered if I'd ever grow up to do any of those things!

    Then I went to college.

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    1. Oh yes! That is quite the list! So great. I have not thought about Tobacco Toad in years.

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    2. Thank you so much, Ann! I hope you love it! College was an education in itself, wasn't it?

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  9. The Thorn Birds was THE book that year, so controversial and salacious. And then the mini-series with Richard Chamberlain. I thought some of my Catholic relatives would stroke out.

    The first book I remember hiding from my mother was The Carpetbaggers, by Harold Robbins (1961, in case you wondered when it came out). I still vividly remember picking it out and buying it at the drugstore across from our church on my way home from school, in my freshman year in high school. I'm sure I was carrying my books and wearing my Catholic girls' school uniform.

    The review on Kirkus starts this way: "A big, bulging blockbuster of a book glistens with as much explicit illicit sex as you are likely to find sold between the covers-- of a book." Of course I barely understood most of it.

    My mother had some steamy novels "hidden" in her dresser later that I'm pretty sure she didn't know she was sharing with her teenage daughter.

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    1. Oh I love that Kirkus review - now I HAVE to read The Carpetbaggers!

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  10. Congratulations on your new release!

    Valley of the Dolls, and all the other books mentioned. Honey West, anyone?

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    1. Valley of the Dolls was shocking.

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    2. So agree… And I remember it surprisingly well! Isn’t it strange what our brains hold on to?

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    3. Thank you, Margaret! I looked up Honey West ~ and those titles ~ Honey in the Flesh, Honey on the Prowl ~ love it!

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  11. Congratulations on This is How I Lied, Heather. Sounds wonderful.

    The two scandalous books I remember reading at a young age are Summer of '42 in 1971 and The Happy Hooker, which came out in 1972 but I probably read it in 1973. My mother never questioned my choices, but with both of those I did raise the eyebrows of some school teachers. By the time The Thorn Birds came along I was a high school senior, so no one challenged it. But I did really love that book!

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    1. And how about Coffee Tea or Me? But that was later, wasn’t it? And I was so surprised when I finally found out who actually wrote it. Such a funny world.

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  12. Oh yes! I do remember sneak reading but looking back now I don't believe it was necessary at all! There were all kinds of books in the house and no one ever said I couldn't help myself but I distinctly remember reading Beloved Infidel by Sheila Graham, in bits of time after my mother had gone to work. Too bad i can't remember how old I was at the time or even why I thought it was inappropriate. As long as I wasn't reading comic books I don't think my mother would have cared at all. Not sure what she had against comic books but she refused to buy any for us. (My dad always would!) By the time I was 15 or so I was reading everything! I read most of the books people have already mentioned but I was out of school by then, maybe in college.

    Looking forward to your book, Heather!

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    1. Beloved Infidel… Maybe because Scott Fitzgerald and Sheila Graham we’re having an affair? I don’t think I ever read that, but I did see the movie.

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    2. Thank you, Judi~ I hope you enjoy it! I always read my brother's Mad Magazine and the books - if my mom only knew what was in there!

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    3. I got in so much trouble over Mad magazine! It was my absolute favorite. My mother used to yell at me, saying that I was not living in the real world.

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  13. I’m remembering when my 7th grade English teacher Mrs Diebold confiscated my copy of Gone With the Wind... oh my how times have changed. Welcome to Jungle Res, Heather! Love the way you describe your plots developing.

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    1. She confiscated it because you should not be reading it? Or because you were supposed to be doing classwork :-) ?

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    2. Thanks, Hallie! I can't remember a teacher confiscating one of my books. In fifth grade (in a Catholic school) I remember two cousins sat in the back of the room and quietly passed around books- with all the salacious parts highlighted. It was scandalous.

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  14. The book sounds delicious, Heather. I really like the cold crime genre--so interesting to see how times have changed and once-unspoken secrets finally come out.

    Forbidden reading? I read voraciously as a child, as I do now, and I don't recall my mother ever censoring my books. (Or my father even caring one way or the other.) Dad did, however, have a discrete collection of mild porn, along with a stack of Playboy magazines, so I got into some eye-opening stuff around the age of 12. Nobody knew I was reading Fanny Hill or The Decameron, but if they did, I figured I could defend it by saying they were classics.

    Oddly enough, the only "adult" book I got busted for reading in middle school was The Hobbit. I have no idea why Mr. Milhouse thought it was bad for me. He'd probably never read it himself.

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    1. Oh, yes, I remember trying to read those, but I think I thought they were boring :-)

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    2. There was a bit of a learning curve on Cleland's vocabulary, for sure.

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    3. Thanks, Gigi ~ I'm fascinated by cold cases too. The Hobbit seems so harmless compared to what was out there!

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    4. Gigi, that is so weird that Mr. Millhouse busted you for reading THE HOBBIT. That book was actually one of the required reads in my English class in junior high (middle) school in Toronto!

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  15. Congratulations on the new book Heather!

    I never had to sneak read anything. I read whatever I wanted to. But then, I also wasn't one to grab something that would've given my parents heart palpitations anyway. Not because I self-censored or anything but rather just because what I wanted to read growing up wasn't stuff that would've upset anyone.

    The closest I came to that kind of situation would be if I brought comic books to school and was found reading them when I should've been doing classwork. I related my "run-in" with a teacher about Thor comics and a mythology test on a post here at JRW back in early May.

    Instead, what gave my parents the shivers or at least the "We're Not Gonna Buy You That" stand was my taste in music as a 10-14 year old. They didn't stop what I wanted to listen to but they wouldn't buy me albums they considered objectionable for whatever reason.

    REO Speedwagon's 'Hi Infidelity' album with the woman who was clearly a hooker on the cover? I could listen to the music but they wouldn't buy it. Which made listening to the song "Tough Guys" something I had to go over to a friend's house to do.

    And the great horror that occurred when I asked for the Twisted Sister album 'Stay Hungry' for Christmas one year. My mother saw Dee Snider on the album cover looking like he was about to eat a huge meaty bone while dressed up in makeup looking like a transvestite hooker? NOPE. So I asked my aunt for the album. She saw the cover and asked my mother, "Did you see the cover?" My mother said she had and wouldn't buy it but if my aunt wanted to get it for me she wouldn't stop her. Guess what I got that Christmas?

    I actually still own that cassette copy of the album. Oh and more than 3 decades later I got to meet Dee Snider (there's a pic on my Facebook page) at a record store signing so I guess life did come full circle on that one.

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    1. Jay, that's so funny - I'm laughing at the idea of REO Speedwagon as being naughty. Your poor mother would have had a heart attack if she saw or heard some of the covers/songs out today!

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    2. So funny, Jay! My very Catholic mother took my brother and me to a KISS concert when I was ten. She wanted to try and connect with my brother who was a huge fan. The Pope was in town the same day and she kept muttering how she was probably going straight to hell. It was quite the experience!

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    3. Heather, in my book it would be far more important to see Kiss than the pope. But I would never have gotten my parents to take me to a concert when I was a kid. Hell, it was all I could do to convince them to let me watch that gawdawful Kiss and the Phantom of the Park movie when it was on TV.

      I didn't get to see Kiss until I got added to the guest list for their show in my area about four years ago.

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  16. I see a trend here and I'm not going to be the one that breaks it--no censoring from my parents either. I read anything I wanted, but that doesn't mean I shared all of the books I was reading with my parents :-) The town library was presided over by a gargoyle--she might have censored me--or tried to--if I'd gone there to get books, but there were other places, thank heavens!

    Heather, like Gigi, I'm always up for a cold crime story, so will be adding this one to my list!

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  17. Remember those Rosemary Rogers' Love's Savage Fury books? In high school, we'd share them, but didn't want anyone to see we were reading them. I had a lockermate who was a voracious reader, and our locker was stuffed full of her books, including Jaws and Carrie, that I probably wouldn't have read if they didn't fall out of the locker onto my feet each time I opened it ~

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    1. Rosemary savage! Now there’s a name. Wonder what her real name was? And no, I never read those… Or heard of them. And Carrie and Jaws are classics now right?

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    2. Celia, I read all of those! And Kathleen Woodiwiss - The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove, etc. So terrible and rapey, but we didn't know any better back then. My entryway drug to bodice rippers were the 1950s historical novels by authors like Rafael Sabatini, and then I found the Kent Family Chronicles when I was thirteen or so - the first in the series was titled THE BASTARD and it was so shocking I had to put a paperback cover over it so my mother wouldn't freak out. Then I discovered Rosemary Rogers and I've been a romance reader ever since (though those kind of books are thankfully very much out of fashion now!)

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    3. I love Rafael Sabatini, but he was from the 1920s, and no bodices were ripped in any of the ones I read. Lots of wistful longing, though, and great, sly humor.

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    4. Jaws and Carrie were must reads for me too!

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  18. Shalom Reds and fans. Heather, congrats on This is How I Lied.

    I don’t remember very much censorship in my reading as a child or teenager. My mother expressed the opinion that if anything would be too “advanced” for any of us, it would probably go over our heads. I do remember the children’s picture book “Millions of Cats” which I believe was read as one of the books on Captain Kangaroo. My dad thought the book was barbaric (with good reason). So it was banned from the house.

    My dad was also the one who read to us at bedtime. I sometimes had “night terrors” and my father was convinced that it was the winged monkeys in the Wizard of Oz that was the culprit but he didn’t take away the book from me. It was one of my truly well-worn books.

    My mother’s laissez-faire attitude to books and children, was retracted a bit when it came to George Orwell’s 1984, She found some of the book very frightening. Naturally, I made it my business to get a copy and read it cover to cover in a day or two. To this day, Orwell is one of the few authors who’s work I have read all of.

    I don’t remember there being two library cards, one children’s and one adult. But after 12 or 13 I only remember using the adult section for the most part. My earliest memory of a book which had some racy content was a Dick Francis novel. The only other thing I remember about the book was that it featured race horses. I also remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird in 6th grade.

    In support of my mother’s theory, I was assigned, in the 10 th grade, a chapter in a book by Erik Erikson (the psychoanalyst) called Childhood and Society. He had Xeroxed the chapter “The Eight Ages of Man.” For me, it was almost as bad as Shakespeare. Later in my life, I read all of Erikson’s work and I found it all very readable. I was just too young at 15 or 16.

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    1. Well, definitely the winged monkeys were traumatizing. And I spent many days in the wayback of our station wagon, being the secret "tornado watcher." As long as I watched out for them, there wouldn't be one.

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    2. Ditto on the Dick Francis, David.

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    3. Thank you, David! Those winged monkeys were terrifying! I did the same thing, Hank. Had to keep an eye out for the monkeys and witches on brooms writing "Surrender Dorothy" in the sky.

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  19. Hi Heather!
    I remember picking up various forbidden sounding books from the library and actually not understanding them. ( I was really naive). I was totally bored with Lady Chatterly but loved the Thornbirds the characters were real and human ( and Richard Chamberlain was gorgeous in the TV series)

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    1. Agreed! I thought LCL was boring too.. DO you thnk I shold read the Thorn Birds now? Why was it called The Thorn Birds?

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    2. I remember watching the series too, Richard Chamberlain was gorgeous! He didn't look like any priests I knew. Definitely read The Thorn Birds, Hank. Good old Wikipedia - I looked up how it got its title: The book's title refers to the mythical "thornbird" that searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn tree, it impales itself on a thorn and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies. No secret meaning there... lol!

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    3. Oh good grief! That is hilarious… I fear I just burst out laughing. OK then. THEME.

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  20. Does anyone remember Candy? Summer of '65, I read it at the lake, late at night, at the end of the dock, by flashlight. I thought no one would notice me there.

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    1. Yes. Wasn't that a strange, strange book? Kafka-level weird.

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    2. Terry Southern! Oh, I had forgotten..and I don't remember a word of it. Except--the cover?

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    3. I read Candy as a married woman with small children, and found that I still had lots to learn.

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    4. I read a lot by flashlight too!

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    5. Oh, SO interesting! Did we know this? Amazon says: Banned upon its initial publication, the now-classic Candy is a romp of a story about the impossibly sweet Candy Christian, a wide-eyed, luscious, all-American girl. Candy –– a satire of Voltaire’s Candide –– chronicles her adventures with mystics, sexual analysts, and everyone she meets when she sets out to experience the world.

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  21. Congratulations on your new novel, Heather and welcome to Jungle Reds!

    Trying to remember how I learned about your novels about a year ago? Did you write a novel with a Deaf character?

    Yes, I remember several books that were "forbidden" as a child, though my parents Never censored my reading. A classmate's parents were very religious and they were upset because my classmate and I were looking at these two books.

    The two books were: WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME and SHOW ME. These books showed how men and women develop from childhood to adulthood. These books also mentioned where babies come from.

    Diana

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    1. Yes, that's The Weight of Silence. I'll let Heather tell you more--but can you imagine trying to write a character without using any sounds?

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    2. Hank, great question. It was quite disorienting when I lost my hearing overnight (pneumoniccal meningitis). The world felt very different after I came home from the hospital. I have several friends who were born deaf and they live with no hearing. I know of several Deaf people who are born to Deaf families. There was a young lady who wrote an article for the Sunday New York Times several weeks ago. Her name is Shoshannah Stern and her parents are Deaf. Her grandparents are Deaf too. Her mom was my elementary school teacher.

      As I grew up, I eventually learned to compensate for my hearing loss by using my eyes more! I notice things that other people did not notice or did not seem to notice.

      Look forward to reading what Heather will say more :-)

      Diana

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    3. Hi Diana~ The Weight of Silence was about a young girl who didn't speak and Not a Sound was about a character who was deafened in an accident. I was born with a profound unilateral hearing loss so I'm deaf in my left ear. I was also recently diagnosed with Meniere's Disease - so we are keeping a close eye on my hearing ear. I would love to hear what you think of Not a Sound!

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    4. Hi Heather -- thanks! I am familiar with Meniere's Disease since a relative married a man who has Meniere's Disease. He lost his hearing gradually and became deaf in one ear just before he married my relative. I learned so much from him. I'll check out Not a Sound and let you know. I had a deaf teacher at the National Theater of the Deaf who was in an accident and the medication that saved her life also took away her hearing. She decided to learn Sign Language and work with Deaf people.

      Diana

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    5. Heather, I have Meniere's and no hearing in my left ear as a result. We keep a close watch on the other ear. Fingers crossed for you. Did you ever read Colin Dexter's The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn? Dexter suffered from severe hearing loss as well.

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    6. Heather, I also have Meniere's (isn't that weird 3 of us here? It's not that common.) Anyway, I have been consulting a naturopath for several years and cannot tell you how much better I feel. And my hearing has returned. (Please email or message me if you want more details.)

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    7. Deborah, thanks for reminding me . When I was studying at Oxford, it seems that I was the FIRST student who was deaf! They told me that they never had a deaf student from the UK or anywhere else in the world. That was years ago. The book Silent World of Nicholas Quinn was published BEFORE I went to Oxford. I learned something new today - that Colin Dexter himself had severe hearing loss.

      The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip's mother Princess Alice of Battenberg was born deaf. And so was Princess Alexandra of Denmark who married the eldest son of Queen Victoria.

      Diana

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    8. Lucy, true that it is not that common. I first heard of Meniere's Disease when a relative married a man who has that. The actress who played the Deaf character on Switched at Birth has Meniere's Disease. That means that some days she wakes up Deaf in both ears! On other days, she wakes up with her hearing intact!

      This makes me wonder if the Meniere's Disease varies for different people?

      My hearing is "restored" when I put on my speech processors to help me hear sounds. I had Cochlear Implant surgeries so even though I have the implants, I cannot hear anything unless I put on the magnetic speech processors.

      Diana

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    9. Sorry for my delayed response. I'm just jumping back on. Thanks for everyone's well-wishes. Deborah - I'll check out The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn.
      Lucy- it is wild that 3 of us have Meniere's! I will send you an email - I'd be interested to learn more about how you are treating it!

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  22. I also read the Thornbirds and swooned over the miniseries. I was madly in love with Richard Chamberlain from his Man in the Iron Mask era. From age 11 to 15, we lived in a tiny upstate NY town, and we used to go yard sailing a LOT, and I would buy paperbacks with my allowance, which I think was $.50 a week. My mother was extremely lenient about what I read (with the exception of THE HAPPY HOOKER) which I filched from her bedside, and read, but didn't really understand, because, you know, sheltered 12 year old in the pre-internet era.)

    I've substituted ebooks for mass-market paperbacks now, but I still recall the great pleasure of stretching out on a lawn chaise with a BFP (big fat paperback) for an afternoon's read.

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    1. The Happy Hooker. Yikes. What a time. xxoo

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    2. The Happy Hooker! I think my mom would have drawn the line there too!

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  23. Luckily I never needed to hide any books from my parents. I loved to read and always read way above my grade level. I got adult level books from my parents for birthday and Christmas gifts. I think I got Mutiny on the Bounty when I was 8 or 9. We were allowed to check out books from the school library each week, which was great, but we could only choose books that were deemed proper grade level. So it was pretty boring for me. Finally my teacher brought it up at a conference, and my parents confirmed the types of books I read at home and checked out from the public library. I was allowed to check out the older kids books (but each time I had to read a page to the librarian to "prove" I could). Since my elementary school was small and only went to 4th grade there still wasn't much to choose from but it was a start. Once I started 5th grade the middle school and high school libraries were together and no one cared what side I chose books from. I finally had the chance to explore more genres and discover what types of books I enjoyed.
    kozo8989(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Alicia--you had to prove it? Hmm...that is so strange..I can't decide if it's adorable or weird.

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    2. If your parents said it was alright, it should have been a-ok!

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    3. Right, I would have thought after the first time at least she would have realized I could read it. The librarian at the public library was much better- she let me try John Grisham in 4th grade and when the first Harry Potter book came out (before it was popular) she thought I'd like it and sent it with me the next time I was in.

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  24. Forever Amber, when I was about 11. I didn't sneak it from the library, though--I was given it to read by my aunt-by-marriage. She didn't have anything invested in my character, and didn't care what I read.It became a movie, too, which, of course, I wasn't allowed to see.

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    1. Oh, I totally forgot about that one! Looking it up now...

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    2. Forever Amber sounds like a great read!

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    3. OOH! It was banned in Boston! Here's the description: Abandoned pregnant and penniless on the teeming streets of London, 16-year-old Amber St. Clare manages, by using her wits, beauty, and courage, to climb to the highest position a woman could achieve in Restoration England—that of favorite mistress of the Merry Monarch, Charles II. From whores and highwaymen to courtiers and noblemen, from events such as the Great Plague and the Fire of London to the intimate passions of ordinary—and extraordinary—men and women, Amber experiences it all. But throughout her trials and escapades, she remains, in her heart, true to the one man she really loves, the one man she can never have. Frequently compared to Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber is the other great historical romance, outselling every other American novel of the 1940s—despite being banned in Boston for its sheer sexiness. A book to read and reread, this edition brings back to print an unforgettable romance and a timeless masterpiece.

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  25. Congratulations on the new book. It sounds amazing. My sneak read was "Flowers In The Attic". A friend who was 2 years older than me gave it to me after she read it. I devoured that book...in secret! LOL...I didn't want my Momma to know I was reading a book that was given to me by an "older" girl. I read all the books in the series later in life. Read the Thorn Birds...that was one of my favorites! bentleyboy22(at)comcast(dot)net

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  26. Heather, welcome to Jungle Reds and congratulations on your new book. It is going onto my TBR list immediately. Cold case crime stories are among my favorites.

    I know I'm late to the conversation but this is too good to pass up. My mother absolutely didn't want me reading some books so I'd sneak them when she wasn't around. The first one I remember was Peyton Place. Whew. I was probably about 13 when I snuck that one. Also, a friend in junior high recommended a book in the teen section of the public library, Cricket Smith. I definitely did not want my mother to know what that book was about, it was pretty racy for a 12 year old. I had read Exodus when I was 11 and the mild sex scenes in that were almost beyond my childish understanding of sex at the time but my mother did not stop me from reading it. When I turned 14 we moved to another town and I think all of my mother's censorship of my reading choices ended then.

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  27. Thanks Judy ~ I hope you love it! Peyton Place ~ yes!

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  28. Aloha! I sneaked James Bond books and I sneaked forbidden music more than books even...you know the songs our parents tried to shield us from...smile. While I'm commenting, if you haven't yet heard Mick Jagger's new song It's a Ghost Town, go to YouTube and watch the video-so appropriate for today's world. Happy reading and listening everyone! Rickie Banning

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  29. Hi Heather! The only books I can remember reading under the covers with a flashlight were the James Bond books. My mother did not approve! Now I suspect they would seem very tame. I'm wondering if moms these days ban their pre-teens from reading The Outlander books:-)

    I did read The Thornbirds and loved it, and had a huge crush on Richard Chamberlain. Think James Norton in Grantchester and you'll get the idea!

    Heather, your books sounds terrific. I love the cold case premise. Going to look it up now!

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    1. You will love it, Debs! AndI'm so tempted to try a James Bond book--an original one--again. In my spare time.... ox

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    2. I love Granchester ~ such a great show! Thanks, Deborah! I hope you love it!

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  30. I read with a flashlight also, but that had to do with bedtime, not content. I don't remember books being off-limits, except for the two years in Catholic school with incomprehensible restrictions from the Vatican. In high school, we whispered and passed around some books, and a friend satirized the whole phenomenon by making a PEYTON PLACE cover for a textbooks. I WAS a bit surprised when the nuns I was teaching with in K.C. mentioned they'd set the VCR to record THE THORN BIRDS "but don't tell the bishop." ;-) As a teacher, I imposed a G-rating rule on writing students did for me, partly as protection from the fate of Cissy Lacks, but mostly because I preferred not to read graphic content. I did tell them my mom wouldn't let me . . . ;-)

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    1. Oh, do you think your students would have written non-G material--and showed it to a teacher? I am gasping.

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    2. I love your story about the nuns! I taught in Catholic schools and the nuns were a lot of fun!

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  31. I don't remember getting many books from the children's section of the library. I went with my dad and picked out books on his card. My parents and I were big on historical fiction and biography and later mysteries, westerns and romance (for Mom and me). My dad's favorite author was Nevil Shute, and he encouraged, bribed me to read some but not On the Beach. Our family read so much that I once thought my brother was adopted. It wasn't his fault because when he learned to read, they didn't teach phonetics. Poor kid could never spell. He did end up reading in later life.

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    1. I feel your brother's pain, Sally. I couldn't spell (still can't) and couldn't figure out phonetics though they keep trying.

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    2. That's such a difficult thing! I have a otherwise brilliant pal who was never taught phonetics, and it's fascinating what a difference it makes.

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    3. There has been such a pendulum swing in education. When I graduated from college as a teacher, Whole Language was the way of the world. Now, we are back to a more balanced approach. As a teacher, I learned there was no one best way to teach all kids.

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  32. Hello Heather. Cold cases are fascinating, especially when they are solved by new investigative technology.

    I don't remember being ban from any "adult" books but I'm pretty sure I remember having different library cards. I think my mom was more shocked about what was my required reading compared to what she was required to read. I read Hiroshima as a Junior in high school. It's not salacious but definitely not the same the David Copperfield she was required to read. I remember reading The Nantucket Woman soon after I graduated from high school. Once I got into the adult side of the library I was on my own to choose what I wanted to read.

    On a different and totally self-serving subject - please keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts - I've found a new home and am about to start to buying process.

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    1. Deana! We will be the first to send you housewarming books!

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    2. Congratulation on the new home! So exciting!

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  33. As a very naïve 16 year old in 1968, I took a class at Cedar Falls High School called "Seminar In Great Books". I thought we were going to read the classics but it was far from that. By far the most interesting unit we had was about pornography. I remember the teacher passing around Playboy and a few books that had been banned at a nearby college. One was called the "Story of O." I bought that book, put a fake cover on it, and shared it with my friends. That's the only book I remember having to hide from my Mother. If she had seen it, I'm sure the teacher would have lost her job. I still don't know how she got away with it.

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    1. Yes! I remember that! Very very...avant garde. :-) In high school? whoa.

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  34. Another reader here who had no restrictions on what I read—anything on my parents’ bookshelves was fine. I was fascinated with Holocaust books as a kid, and had read Elie Weisel’s Night and Jerzy Kosinsky’s The Painted Bird at 10 or 11. I remember reading Updike because my Mom was and found it very depressing. This is what the mind of a grown-up is like? One of my most vivid memories is of sneaking into the church next to my house with my best friend and reading The Exorcist together. We scared the hell out of ourselves!

    Heather, this is the second reference to you new book that I’ve seen in the past couple days, randomly, so it seems like it’s getting really good press! I look forward to reading it!

    On a separate note, since having more down time diring the pandemic, i have been reading like crazy and only recently discovered Julia Spencer-Fleming’s books. Where have I been? I have loved them and am completely immersed in the world of Russ, Clare, Hadley and Flynn. I just finished Once Was a Soldier tonight!!

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    1. I bet it was terrifying to read The Exorcist in a church - it gives me the shivers to even think about it!
      I hope you enjoy the book, Leslie~ thank you!
      I'll have to check out Julia Spencer-Fleming's books - thanks for the recommendation.

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