Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Listen!

By Blood - (ISBN: 978-0374117559)

by Ellen Ullman

A former professor gets unexpectedly involved in a psychologist’s patient who talks in the office next door. Once he starts eavesdropping, he cannot stop, so he starts researching the history of the troubled patient. His involvement becomes more and more tangled as he tries to offer the patient help, although it has to be very indirect. If you enjoy novels that draw you into their stories, this is a great one for you!

Eavesdropping: An Intimate History - (ISBN: 0199236135)

by John L. Locke

John Locke finds that eavesdropping occurs in all cultures at all levels of sophistication; it even takes place regularly in the animal world! What is the line between innocent eavesdropping and unhealthy voyeurism? When does eavesdropping become cheating and/or illegal monitoring? Locke tries to answer all these questions and more in his fascinating research write-up. Do you agree with his findings?

Just Listen - (ISBN: 978-0814414033)

by Mark Goulston

The psychiatrist author insists on the importance of listening in a kind of reversal; in order to get your point of view across, you must insist that someone listen to you. Follow his guidelines about how to get someone to listen until the end of your story/argument/attempt at persuasion. You will find that helping someone to listen better will help him (or her) understand you more effectively. People that previously seemed hardened against your ideas will gradually come around. His concrete suggestions help you soften resistance, focus on question making, and deal with the most difficult of people.

My Eavesdrop Station - (ISBN: 978-1609114350)

by P.R. Roberts

Adam tells a marvelous story about the growth of his large family to larger when four female cousins come to live with the already large group. Why does he call the family room his eavesdrop station? How does what Adam hears help him to understand the other family members?

The Golden Compass - (ISBN: 978-0679879244)

by Phillip Pulllman

Lyra’s eavesdropping results in her being able to prevent a murder, but she continues to be drawn into a mess of intrigue, hastily formed alliances, and ugly secrets. Luckily a magical tool, the golden compass, works as her assistant, giving her concrete and symbolic guidelines to finding her way out of a morass and assisting her parents. What does the compass represent for her?

Cheating Justice - (ISBN: 978-0807003213)

by Elizabeth Holtzman

House Divided - (ISBN: 978-0802145895)

by Mike Lawson

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA - (ISBN: 978-0307389008)

by Tim Weiner

The Tiger in the Well - (ISBN: 978-0375845178)

by Phillip Pullman

Activities for this Theme

Take a walk in the woods and listen quietly to the sounds you hear. Then compare these to the sounds you hear on a city street.


Listen to one of your favorite books as a podcast or audio book instead of reading it. Compare the effects of hearing it vs. flipping through its pages. Is anything missing when you listen and don’t “see” it?


Enjoy the oral renditions and graphic interpretations of a wide variety of people’s stories across the US. The number of these stories available continues to grow as more and more people add their own short bios. Consider adding a story from your family.


Compare the eavesdropping done in these two movies: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and The Conversation starring Gene Hackman. Which is less intrusive?