Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Memory Monday — Meet Kelly!

Today's guest is Kelly, an author who I recently started chatting with some on Twitter. She's got a fun story to share about reading books that are way too old for your reading level!

Okay, this is so not Little House on the Prairie.

When I was bored as a kid, I read anything. The ingredients on the Count Chocula cereal box. (Sugar, corn syrup, chocolate.) Star magazine at the grocery store. (Fave: Stars Without Makeup.) I just read whatever was near.

I know you are smart ---because you are Ashley’s friends – so you know this is headed for a huge parental fail. (And no, Miss Nasty, it is not porn.)

So this woman moved in across the street from my family. She was young and had a baby and thought I might be a good babysitter until she realized I was only nine and just tall. But I couldn’t help noticing the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in her living room. She caught me staring at it and told me I could borrow any book I wanted, anytime.

Any book. Any time. Yeah. This woman really needed a babysitter: She was issuing bribes to nine-year-olds.

So what made me choose what had to be the oldest, dustiest, least girly book on the shelf- — Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood? Sure it was a genius non-fiction account of a murder in a small town on a Kansas prairie, and I had just finished Little House on the Prairie. Coincidence? Capote wrote it with research help from Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird. Some people even whispered that she wrote it for him, that’s how good reviewers thought it was.

But I learned that in college. That torn old cover didn’t have blurbs and stuff all over it like books do now. I remember choosing In Cold Blood because it was the thickest book on her shelf. I thought it would last the longest.

Oh please. I inhaled it. It was the most compelling book I had ever read. It scared the crap out of me, and I let it. I liked it.

So yeah, it was totally inappropriate and completely over my head and what was wrong with that neighbor– post-partum depression? Where was my freaking mother? Did she not vacuum under my bed?

But you don’t have to be an adult to know when you are in the grip of a good story. Your body will tell you. As you stay up late. As you keep running to the dictionary to look up words like “motivation” and “Death
Row.” As you fall asleep in your Count Chocola the next morning and dream not of counts or vampires, but of ropes and knives.

Why do we love books that scare us so much? Why do we love movies that make us cry? Why do we eat cereal full of chocolate and sugar?

I don’t know. But I think my neighbor did.

Kelly Simmons is the author of two novels from Simon & Schuster that are only a little scary: Standing Still and The Bird House. Her website & blog are at And she is grateful to have
cool twitter friends like Ashley.

Haha! That's ME!:) I'm a cool Twitter friend!:) If you want to experience some of the fun that is Kelly on Twitter, you can in my blog!

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Memory Monday — Meet Kelly! + TIME