Our discussions this month concerned how fictionalized histories, often based on facts, help us to understand what life was like during often turbulent times. What was life like for the person living then, who perhaps was not a major player in the circumstances, but had to survive?  How did they feel, what fears did they have?  Could you imagine living then?  Can you imagine living now and telling the future what it is like, or living in the future, what do we have to look forward to?  Even what it would be like to live among the rich and famous.

Here are the books that we discussed:

Goodbye To Budapest : A Novel of the Hungarian Uprising by Margarita Morris

Memories of the uprising in Budapest, Hungary in the 1950’s. A girl’s father is arrested and she knows he is innocent. How she survives.  After Stalin dies, Hungary revolts in the streets.  Authentic details about history.

Radio Girls by Sarah Jane Stratford
The start of radio at a time when women were moved into the workforce due to the War. The problems encountered when you travel into a new realm.

When Somebody Kills You by Robert J. Randisi
Las Vegas in 1964 when the mob still was a major influence. This is a Rat Pack Mystery about someone who worked at the Sands Hotel and knew the area.

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
A story of a Russian Count who leaves Russia for France and returns after the Tsar is deposed because his sister is there. The sister dies, and he moves to the best hotel in Moscow where he lives in luxury.  He is arrested because he was royalty and showed no political aspirations. He was confined to the hotel, never to leave the premises.  He was moved out of his suite and into the attic. It is the tale of his life there for over 30 years.  Captivating, our reader could not put it down.  Another member had also read this and agreed that it would be hard to describe the book

This book is in the Grover Beach Community Library

One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman

President Kennedy promoted NASA for the ‘impossible’ mission that took the US to the moon. MIT developed the computer components for the mission and it was successful. How it has affected us today.  It started a political and social upheaval that truly changed the US.

This book will be coming to the Grover Beach Community Library soon.

Deadliest Enemy (Our War Against Killer Germs) by Michael T. Osterholm
This book left our reader wondering if humans are at the top of the food chain anymore. Viruses mutate and can man keep up? Our war against the next epidemic.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Set in a small bookstore it tells the tale of how to solve a mystery with humor, a little romance and intrigue.

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
A Japanese woman naturalist in British Columbia finds a plastic bag with a Hello Kitty lunch box and a journal inside. It was possibly from the 2011 Tsunami. She goes to Japan to search for the author’s identity.

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer and August Cole
There are many technological advances, but that is not always a good thing.  The book reads like science fiction in some ways.  Remember the magazine Modern Science, which predicted many things we now have today.

Resident blogger Donna Rueff graciously donated The Pasha of Cuisine by Saygin Ersin and Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. These books will soon be available for checkout at the library. Thank you, Donna!

Our next Book Break is Tuesday, August 11th at 10:30 a.m. at the library,  240 North 9th Street, Grover Beach. Bring a chair! The subject is Isolation and Cultural Adjustments .

– Submitted by Fran Strauser