4. Kathleen Winsor, ‘Forever Amber’ (1944)

Forever Amber is the original bonkbuster, whose commercial success led to Peyton Place (1956) and Riders (1985).

Banned in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Massachusetts as indecent, it sold millions of copies in the 1940s. Restoration England was the perfect backdrop for a lush, romantic romp but does the book deliver smut galore?

Tattered library copy, 2000 edition with foreword by Barbara Taylor Bradford

1. Brendan Behan, ‘Borstal Boy’: solitary comforts

What shenanigans did Brendan Behan get up to in prison and borstal between 1939 and 1941? He enjoyed baiting the Brits, warm cocoa, snuggly blankets and … other things.

In episode one, I’ll tell you about the rude bits in a book whose banning in Ireland and Australia provoked derision.

Cover of my battered 1990 edition