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28 responses to “Books by Valerie Brooks’ Bed”

  1. Grace Elting Castle

    Thanks for sharing your interesting list, Val. “Eclectic” is a great descriptor!

    I saw your Facebook question about what we are all reading, so here’s my list:

    My mind has been on politics and human indignities of late which has led me to read Son of Hamas a fascinating perspective from Mosab Hassan Youset whose father was a founding leader of the international terrorist organization responsible for deadly attacks against Israel.

    On top of the towering pile of “need to read” books is Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell, Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants; Comrade J a true Russian spy story by Pete Earley; Jean Auel’s The Land of the Painted Caves; and because I love psychological thrillers, particularly if they’re set in New York, A Peculiar Grace by Jeffrey Lent. Love that title!

    On my Nook, I’m reading Indivisible by James Robson and Jay W. Richards.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Thanks so much for responding with your list! Another eclectic reader. I’ll have to check out Peculiar Grace, if not on CD for the car, but also because of its title.

  2. Diane Prokop

    Let me know how you like The Vanishers. Been looking at that one. Hope your novel is finished soon!

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Will let you know about The Vanishers after my novel’s manuscript goes out to Beta readers. I’m still on deadline and should be done tomorrow. Ms ready! That will give me a breather, plus extra reading time. That will be a luxury!
      Thanks for responding, Diane. Hope you’re enjoying your reading time. We’ll miss your reviews.

  3. Serena Markstrom

    I am reading Happier Than God by Neale Donald Walsch, Game of Thrones (hating it so far) and my boyfriend and I are reading book three of The Hunger Games triology out loud to each other. I’ve also got Bird By Bird open again.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Serena, I couldn’t get into Game of Thrones. I’m on the second book of the Hunger Games. Loving it so far. And Bird by Bird never gets old, always keeps me afloat. Thanks for responding, Serena! Enjoy this lovely weather.

  4. Karla Droste

    I love this list! Technicolor Dreamin’ really intrigues me. What is the Fluxus movement? I know this sounds surprising, but I loved, and I mean loved The Hunger Games (the movie, haven’t read the books yet). I’m working on a piece describing my experience of it and I’ll post on above blog . . .
    Thank you, thank you for this great service to your readers!

    1. Valerie Brooks

      I highly recommend reading Technicolor Dreamin’. Karen Moller does a great job of social and cultural examination of her experiences during these tumultuous times, our times. Plus, we do get a broader view of what the changes were and how those changes differed between Europe and the States. Check out Wiki for Fluxus.

      I’m not surprised by your response to the The Hunger Games. I’m a fan because it has many layers to it and politically/socially/culturally it hits many topics that need to be talked about and exposed. My discussions with my granddaughters about reality tv after the film opened them to new ways of thinking about what they watch. I’m all for that! And they’re only 10 and 12.
      Thanks for commenting, Karla. As usual, you bring light to my life.

  5. Karla Droste

    I’ll read anything about Paris, too! What are some of your favorites? Fiction and non? I loved Marge Piercy’s, City of Darkness, City of Light. It made the French Revolution crackle with characters.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Mon dieu! I have no idea where to begin. Perhaps with my favorites, all non-fiction:
      Women of the Left Bank
      Geniuses Together
      Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation
      Le Flanneur
      Ladies of the Rope
      Paris was Our Mistress

      I too loved City of Darkness. Hilary Mantel does a beautiful job of the French Revolution in A Place of Greater Safety. Also, for great fun and Paris delights, follow Martha’s suggestion below with Cara Black’s detective series with Aimee LeDuc who gives you all views into the City of Light. Cara is a good writer and a lovely person!
      In fiction, Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot was a perfect read, witty, gorgeous language, delish French food descriptions, and love. What more can you ask for?

      1. Deb Mohr

        What a gift of information.

        I’d be thrilled if my newly released book, The Flume Tender’s Daughter, could be mentioned. It’s about women–my protagonist, Linnie Bede, is a logger’s daughter– who become aware of the plight of poor, uneducated women with large families. Linnie picks up the flaming torch and carries it forward in her brave attempt to teach this subject. I started this novel some ten years ago, never dreaming we would find ourselves in 2012 in this fight over birth control and women’s rights.

        1. Valerie Brooks

          Thanks, Deb, for chiming in! And congrats on your new novel. How exciting! Looking forward to reading it. Strong women. Yes!

  6. Martha Miller

    So many books, so little time.
    But time enough to see what all the buzz is about with Hunger Games. The woman is a competent writer, whether or not the book has anything else about it that makes it so popular.
    I just finished Sybil Exposed, a fascinating expose about multiple personality disorder and the harm the psychiatrist who diagnosed “Sybil” did to her patient and to others at that time in history.
    Not long ago I gave in and read Grapes of Wrath, which I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t read before. It was so amazing and thrilling that it practically changed my life.
    Thanks for giving us your list, Val——it’s interesting to know what you like. Glad to see 50 Shades of Grey didn’t make it in any of these comments thus far.
    Finally, how about Cara Black’s series about Aimee LeDuc, the French sleuth? She’s a good writer and a great gal! Check them out if you have not done so already.

  7. Lesley Howard

    What I love the most about hearing what others are reading is the number of books I’ve *never* heard of. A treat to add to my “wanna read” list.
    I’m plowing through Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit, a nonfiction book. The info it has re: setting habits is quite good and I’m applying it to my writing practice.
    I’m also in the midst of Strayed’s Wild, and have been dipping in and out of Jhumpa Lahiri Unaccustomed Earth stories. Flannery O’Connor’s ss collection is also close at hand.
    But this week, when I go visit my brother in NM, I am taking Donna Leon’s Death at La Fenice and Eleanor Arnason’s In the Light of Sigma Draconis, both recommended genre novels …

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Hi Les! Ah, Flannery. She’s one of my favorites, too. Haven’t read UNACCUSTOMED EARTH yet. Will have to check out your traveling books as I love your taste in books. Thanks for posting them. They are now on my never-ending reading list. I’ve often thought of giving up writing so I can read all the time.
      Won’t happen as you well know! POWER OF HABIT might be a good one for me in cleaning the house and cooking. Alas, I’m a slaggard in both those areas.
      Have fun in NM!

  8. Jack Remick

    Try Leo Malet’s: 120 rue de la Gare; Les Rats de Montsouris; Pas de Bavards a al Muette. Old stuff, but very Parisian.
    Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death is heady work.
    Out of the ordinary–The Archimedes Codex.
    Thanks Valerie, for opening up this vein.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Jack! Thanks for your list. I knew you’d have some gems, and was happy to see I can still order them. Who doesn’t like “old stuff?” Don’t answer that! Happy to open a vein. Love the results.

  9. Valerie Brooks

    Ah, oui, c’est vrai! Cara Black. Her detective series is so much fun because you get to visit a different arrondissement with each novel. Thanks for reminding me! And letting the readers know.

    Oh, merde! Not Fifty Shades of Gray. Let’s just set the women’s movement back a hundred years. Don’t get me wrong. I love sex, but I really object to books that romanticize abuse. It’s not sexy. It also means that all the women who are reading it and getting turned on have not been in a sexually abusive relationship.

    Will have to put Sybil Exposed on my “to read” list. In my book pile, I have a book on the history of women and madness. I have to figure out when I’ll be ready to read that without getting angry because I know I will.

    Thanks, Martha!

  10. Kassy Daggett

    Good job Val. Currently by my bed (and my KindleFire)? Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. Planning a trip to Scotland and Ireland in the fall and heading there as often as possible in the meantime. Also just finished How Georgia Became O’Keefe. Supports my current obsession with writing and painting! xo

    1. Valerie Brooks

      How lucky you are! Scotland and Ireland, favorites of mine. And Karen Karbo always picks a female subject I love. Have the O’Keefe in my e-reader. I need a vacation on a beach in order to read all the books I have.
      You’re painting? Hooray! Can’t wait to see your work.
      Enjoy your trip. I’ll bet you’re visiting all the sacred sites. Don’t miss Newgrange, Dan and my favorite.

  11. Heidi M. Thomas

    What a great reading list, Val. And I love your blog title–Gobsmacked! What a great word.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Thanks so much, Heidi! I’m sure, knowing you, that your list is as long and pile as high and inviting. And thank you for mentioning my blog. I love the word “gobsmacked” too. Was so fitting in this wonder of a life we’ve chosen.

  12. karen Moller

    Hi – I was pleased to see you were reading my memoir–sorry you didn’t like the cover. There is a second version, In Her Own Fashion, with all the little mistakes corrected. Jim is a wonderful man and I still see him often.
    All my best, Karen

    1. Valerie Brooks

      Hi Karen! Thanks for commenting and letting me/us know about the second version. Sorry I even mentioned the cover, but the book was so much more than what the cover transmitted to me. Being on the West Coast of the States has a lot to do with it. I was a hippy and artist, and loved all the art from that period, but grew tired of the psychedelia of the times. A personal taste thing. I’ll be rereading your memoir often as I love your courage and writing.

      So glad you see Jim often. He is a wonderful man and doesn’t get his fair share of credit for all his work. You’ve helped correct that.
      Thanks for your contribution to our generation of art, fashion and writing.
      All best back to you.

  13. Beth Robinson

    Excellent list! Technicolor Dreamin’: The 1960’s Rainbow and Beyond is on my list for sure… was intrigued by your description. Thanks for the heads up on the title; would have run like a rabbit. I heart Flux.

    By my bed: A Large print book of Japanese Woodcuts (found in a Brighton antique store… yum), 3 Fragments of a Lost Tale, John Frame’s Exhibition Book, Selvage Mag, Founding Brothers— Joseph J. Ellis, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler–Calvino, Elementary Platen Presswork–Ralph W. Polk, The Roosevelts of Hyde Park, An Untold Story–Elliott Roosevelt, Walter Potter and his Museum of Curious Taxidermy— P.A. Morris, The Backyard Homestead–Careen Madigon, The Way to Cook— Julia Childs, Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. Kindle: Just finished The Secret Garden.

    1. Valerie Brooks

      OMG, Beth! Now I do need a vacation–and to borrow your books. Intrigued by the Walter Potter book as I have a rather sick interest in taxidermy, one of my favorite places being Deyrolle’s in Paris:
      For those who are interested, Beth is a thought-provoking, fearless artist, and you can see some of her work here:
      Flux on, dear Beth!

  14. Rossandra White

    I stopped collecting books by my bedside, because if there’s an earthquake, I’d be dead for sure. I just bought a Kindle and intend on getting some delicious English story downloaded to take with me to the UK next week. A reunion with two old school chums I haven’t seen since we all left Zambia. Meanwhile, thank you for Cara Black, Karen Moller and Cheryl Strayed.

  15. Olga Godim

    Thanks for the inspiration, Valerie. I’ve added Cara Black to my to-read pile. Just finished Carola Dunn – one of her Daisy Dalrymple mysteries. Love them! Dunn’s language is like a chocolate cake, so yummy you want to gobble it. Although it’s not about Paris.
    Next on my bedside table: Edith Wharton’s The Glimpses of the Moon. I’m awash with anticipation.

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