Sex on the Moon

From  Rita Gross
Author:  Ben Mezrich
Sex on the Moon
This is the story of the theft of moon rocks from the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center laboratories, by an intern in the NASA Coop program.  Thad Roberts served 100 months in prison for the crime.  His capture and arrest was the result of a FBI sting operation.  The government was on to him from the beginning and we watch as he and his accomplices walk into the trap.  Mezrich is also the author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House.

The Big Short: inside the doomsday machine

From Rita Gross
author: Lewis, Michael
The Big Short: inside the doomsday machine
This book sheds light on the 2007-2008 crash of the real estate markets which resulted in our ongoing financial crisis. The author explains the development of the arcane derivative bonds whose collapse fueled the “great recession.”  He exposes the complicity of the brokerage, banks and ratings organizations that contributed to the fall.  The author follows a group of investors who foresaw the disaster- the “big short” refers to their bet against those derivatives which resulted in billions of dollars in gains for them

Ape House

From Rita Gross
author: Gruen, Sara
Ape House
Humans share 99.4 % of our DNA with bonobo apes. In this novel, by the author of Water for Elephants, we are introduced to a group of bonobos who are kidnapped from a linguistics laboratory where they are learning English and ASL. They are then put into a reality TV show (similar to Big Brother) called Ape House. A journalist covers the story of their abduction and unravels the mystery of the apes’ disappearance.

The Lonely Polygamist

From Rita Gross
author: Udall, Brady
The Lonely Polygamist
Golden Richards has four wives, twenty eight children, three homes, a failing business and a major mid-life crisis. Just multiply the entanglements of the usual American family novel by the power of four (at least), and you will have the depths of the problems that Golden Richards encounters. The story is told from the point of view of Golden, one wife, one child and a narrative voice. Sad and funny, it is a look inside an atypical way of life.

Hitler’s holy relics : a true story of Nazi plunder and the race to recover the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire

From Rita Gross
author: Kirkpatrick, Sidney D. 
Hitler’s holy relics : a true story of Nazi plunder and the race to recover the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire
At the end of the war, Lt. Walter Horn is charged with investigating the disappearance of the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, and retrieving them.  As the story of their recovery unfolds, we learn of their sinister deeper symbolic meaning to the Nazis and Hitler.  The book follows his pursuit of the relics, and the uncovering of the plot that would have used them to imbue resurgent Nazis with mythic qualities.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

From Rita Gross
author: Mitchell, David
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet 
Jacob De Zoet, to prove himself worthy of his wealthy fiancé, travels to Japan to make his fortune.  In the final years of the 18th century Japanese trade is closed to all but the Dutch East India Company.  To complicate matters, Jacob falls in love with the daughter of a Samurai, and the British want to open Japan for trade.  Wonderful writing and rich historic detail make this a very satisfying read.

Homer & Langley

From Rita Gross
author: Doctorow, E. L.
Homer & Langley
Homer & Langley is a fictionalized account of the lives of two reclusive brothers who lived and died in their brownstone home in NYC.  They  are found buried under tons of old newspapers in their booby trapped house. The societal changes taking place around them are told in Forrest Gump-like episodes which superficially touch their lives.