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March RandomCAT -- Brexit Madness

2019 Category Challenge

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Edited: Feb 13, 11:54am Top

On March 29th, the UK will officially leave the European Union. So, to mark this historical event, read a book set in one of the countries of the European Union.

To mark the date itself, books set in the United Kingdom will count only if they are completed before March 29th. Sorry, guys, that's a hard Brexit for you.

Bonus points given if the book mentions either Brexit or the European Union.

Let us know what you're planning to read, what you're reading and what you've read for this CAT. Don't forget to add to the wiki!

Whether you're in favor of leaving, wish the UK had decided to stay or had no idea this was happening, I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to read.

Feb 13, 12:55pm Top

Count me out on this one. I'm trying to avoid it as much as I can.

Feb 13, 2:07pm Top

I think I'll be reading The Witchfinder's Sister--I've been meaning to get around to it for quite some time, it takes place in England, and it'll also fit the month's 'U' AlphaKit :)

Feb 13, 4:11pm Top

I'll use this challenge to properly commit to one of my two French-language reads for the year: Mourir sur Seine, by Michel Bussi. No guarantees I'll read it before March 29 though...

Feb 13, 4:52pm Top

Hmm, maybe I'll read The Prague Sonata for this challenge. If not, I have a slew of mysteries to choose from that would work too.

Feb 13, 4:54pm Top

>4 rabbitprincess: The deadline of March 29 only applies to books set within the UK.

I'm eying the second book in Ali Smith's quartet, Winter.

Feb 13, 5:14pm Top

I'll be reading The Secret Place by Tana French.. Ireland, the problematic spearpoint of Brexit.

Edited: Feb 13, 5:30pm Top

I'm planning on Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell. If I have time I'm also going to read Feel Free, a book of essays by Zadie Smith. There is actually a group of four essays on England and one devoted to Brexit.

Feb 13, 5:49pm Top

I expect my turn for the library audio of The Golden Tresses of the Dead will come up next month, hopefully before the 29th!

Feb 13, 6:03pm Top

>6 RidgewayGirl: There's also no guarantee I'll read this for the 31st, let alone the 29th ;) But I do like the push to read it!

Edited: Feb 13, 6:14pm Top

I'm eyeing City of Women, which is set in Germany.

Edited: Feb 13, 10:09pm Top

I have a couple of books that I am eyeing for this challenge. The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen and The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. One set in France and one is in Austria.

Feb 13, 11:04pm Top

I'm sure I have plenty! I'll take a closer look on the weekend, and also see what I have for other CATs and KITs and see what will fit!

Feb 13, 11:13pm Top

Hmmm... I have several mysteries set in Italy, as well as one in Poland, and one in Slovakia. And of course my usual slew of English procedurals and so forth. I'm inclined towards an Italian one, maybe The Crocodile, Death in August, or River of Shadows.

Feb 14, 1:47am Top

I will be reading For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway for an adult education class in March about the Spanish Civil; it will fit nicely into this challenge.

Feb 14, 1:18pm Top

I really don't want to think about actual Brexit, but I'll happily read stuff. I think I'm going to read The Year of Living Danishly.

Feb 17, 5:15pm Top

This is a fun one!

>6 RidgewayGirl: Excellent choice. I thought of Ali Smith's Winter immediately for bonus points but since I've already read it, I'll find something else.

My partner just suggested that since Scotland voted to stay, I shouldn't have to finish a book set in Scotland by March 29. *grin*
If I choose a book set in the UK, it shouldn't be too difficult to complete it two days before the end of the month.

Feb 17, 6:23pm Top

Well, I have at least one I'm planning on, set in England:
1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper / Peter Stubley

Feb 17, 9:47pm Top

This would be an appropriate time to read The European Union: A Very Short Introduction by Simon Usherwood and John Pinder

Edited: Feb 17, 10:43pm Top

I found these interesting titles at the library:

Head of State by Andrew Marr - I like Marr as a presenter of tv documentaries, so will try this mystery for sure.
London Rules by Mick Herron (a mystery)
Growing Pains Gwynne Dyer - Dyer a journalist whose opinion I respect
Could it happen here: Canada in the age of Trump and Brexit by Michael Adams
and of course, Winter by Ali Smith

ETA: >1 RidgewayGirl: Great theme for March, Kay. I'm in the "remain" group so the result will be sad no matter what.

Feb 18, 12:58pm Top

Oh boy! How appropriate! I just had lunch with some people (here on the cruise ship!) and two of them are from the UK. We had a great discussion of Brexit. (BTW, both of them were in favor of it.) Not sure what I will read yet, but I tend towards books set in the UK anyway. Probably a mystery novel.

Edited: Mar 2, 7:45pm Top

COMPLETED Under the Skin by Michel Faber, a Dutch-born novelist and the book is set in Scotland.

Starting Appleby Talks by Michael Innes. Short stories from the Inspector Appleby series, set in the UK.

ETA: On second thoughts, since the stories are set before the UK joined the Common Market (as it then was), I won't count this one.

Mar 2, 2:06pm Top

I’ve decided to Angel with Two Faces by Nicola Upson for my book this month. It’s set in Cornwall.

Mar 2, 8:19pm Top

I just finished The Great Believers, half of which takes place in France. I'm sure I can pick up something else that fits.

Mar 4, 3:06pm Top

Finished Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? which takes place in several European countries.

Mar 4, 5:32pm Top

I did get a quick mystery in that fits the challenge - Death at Chateau Bremont which is set in France.

Mar 6, 5:01pm Top

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman
Sherlock Holmes meets Lovecraft in a way that only Gaiman could have them meet, with a twist that I dare you to see coming. It's fabulous, of course. Because it's Neil.

Mar 7, 9:36am Top

I didn't plan this specifically for this challenge, but all four of the books that I've finished so far this month have taken place in England:

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie 3.25*
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 3.5*
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff 3.75*
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel 4*

Mar 7, 5:21pm Top

>27 scaifea: I love that one!

I am listening to Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch. I should be done before the 29th. I'm also listening to David Copperfield but I doubt I'll be done before Brexit is upon the UK.

Mar 8, 5:30am Top

>29 luvamystery65: I know, right?! So. Good.

Mar 9, 8:07pm Top

I didn't plan to use Middlemarch for this challenge, but as it appears I'll be taking most of March to read it...why not?

Mar 10, 3:46pm Top

My "Brexit" book was fitting as it involved so much British politics.

This was a Man by Jeffery Archer

This is the 7th and final volume in the Clifton Chronicles - an exceptional culmination to an exceptional series. The story follows the Clifton family from early 20th century to the Thatcher era. Archer's personal life has given him the information necessary to write knowledgeably about politics, aristocracy, and high-powered business. Combined with his remarkable writing talent, the series is nothing less than addictive. It was a nice touch to have Harry Clifton writing his last novel that he titled Heads You Win, actually the title of Archer's latest novel. And I loved Lady Virginia's intricate unprincipled dealings.

Edited: Mar 10, 5:27pm Top

The Boy in the Suitcase is a Danish thriller that is also a character study, and unlike many such stories it actually works in a most impressive way. Nina Borg's actions make complete sense based on her character, as do those of the other main characters. The suspense is intense and compelling. Highly recommended for lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction.

I read it for this month's RandomCAT as it is set in two EU countries, Denmark and Lithuania. Ironically, given the Brexit theme, the characters use English to communicate with each other, as the Danes don't know Lithuanian and the Lithuanians don't know Danish.

Edited: Mar 11, 2:58am Top

I finished The Kellys and the O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope. Written by a British author and set in pre-famine Ireland during the trials of Daniel O'Connell. This novel is a contemporary (written 1848) perspective on the lot of the Irish people, and will be interesting to compare how the Irish-English relationship shakes out post-Brexit--171 years later.

Mar 11, 10:46am Top

I finished The Pursuit of Love, which takes place in England, Spain and France and also Love in a Cold Climate, which takes place entirely in England.

Plan also to finish Pilgrimage I that will fit this category as well.

Edited: Mar 15, 11:34pm Top

1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper / Peter Stubley
3.5 stars

1888 in London had more murders than the women Jack the Ripper killed. This book looks at many more of them, though some are manslaughter, and some of the possible/potential murderers are acquitted. . They include bar fights, domestic abuse, infants and newborns, prostitutes, hit and runs (horse and carriage), and more. Of course, the chapter that includes prostitutes does also talk a bit about the Ripper murders.

It was good and interesting as I read it, but fitting so many murders into one book, the descriptions of them have to be fairly short, so it felt a bit like short stories to me. And to me, that means I probably won’t remember much of it in the not-too-distant future. Enjoyable at the time, but maybe not memorable later on. There was some history of London, especially near the start of the book, to help describe the conditions, so that was interesting, too.

Edited: Mar 16, 2:45pm Top

I finished A Cold Treachery for BREXIT, which now appears not to be happening the end of the month. What a circus!

Mar 16, 1:09pm Top

>37 majkia: Who knows what's happening - I think circus is a very generous description of what is going on :(

I'm making progress with The Year of Living Danishly and feeling sad that this opportunity - a British couple move to Denmark for a year with work - is going to be so much more difficult in the future. Even if Brexit is fully cancelled (please God!), I think there is so much bad feeling now that mending those fences will be hard.

Mar 20, 12:38pm Top

Eva Ibbotson never fails to charm me, and The Star of Kazan with it's vivid rendering of pre WWI Vienna was a lovely read.

Mar 20, 2:33pm Top

I finished The Year of Living Danishly last week and gave it 4 stars.

Mar 20, 3:58pm Top

I finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah earlier today, which is set in WWII France. A brilliant book!

All this Brexit mess is both extremely tiring and very interesting to follow. As we are producing goods for the UK, I am watching the news rather closely. What I find the worst is that the country is so split, no matter what the final decision will be.

Mar 20, 5:23pm Top

I decide to use The Gown for this challenge as it takes place mostly in London with a nod to Paris and Toronto. I was hoping to get to Ali Smith, but not sure it will happen before the end of March!

Edited: Mar 20, 8:29pm Top

>41 Chrischi_HH: Sadly, it seems like every country is very split on just about every thing right now! It doesn't seem like very many of us fall in the middle somewhere.

Mar 21, 6:07pm Top

I finally got a library copy of The Secret Place which I'd hoped to read for this challenge. Yay!

When I was touring Scotland and Ireland in August, there was much talk of how Brexit would impact Ireland and Northern Ireland. Until I heard it from the locals and had them explain it to me, I didn't really appreciate how impactful Brexit could be for that hair-trigger area. Oi.

Mar 23, 12:59am Top

Too bad I just finished Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. That book would have been perfect for this challenge.
So instead I am reading Angels & Demons by Dan Brown which takes place in Italy. and in the non Brexit Vatican City.

Edited: Mar 24, 9:06am Top

I finished and loved Ghost Wall set in Northumberland. Wow - great read!

I've also read one from my Planet TBR - The Sunday Philosophy Club set in Scotland.

Mar 23, 7:33pm Top

I finished Milkman by Anna Burns and Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie, both set in the UK (Northern Ireland and England, respectively). I also started Precious Bane by Mary Webb but I don't think I'll be able to finish it before the 29th. Is our reading deadline still in place even if the "real" one has been extended? :)

Mar 24, 7:00am Top

>47 mathgirl40: We might as well be chaotic on this thread, it can't be any worse than actual Brexit :(

Mar 24, 2:59pm Top

>48 Jackie_K: cracked me up

Mar 26, 10:12am Top

I'm 30 pages away from finishing Middlemarch, so I am going to complete it in time for the challenge, woo!

Mar 27, 11:28pm Top

Mar 28, 7:47am Top

Oh, I just read another one, Prince Valiant Vol 6!

Mar 28, 7:54am Top

My book for this challenge was The Dictionary of Animal Languages by Heidi Sopinka. Much of the events take place in France.

Mar 28, 8:50am Top

I just finished a quick Finnish mystery, My First Murder by Leena Lehtolainen.

Mar 30, 5:35am Top

COMPLETED Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch -- just as well Brexit was postponed, so I could squeeze this in

Edited: Mar 30, 10:29am Top

I'm behind with reading this month, I've spent a lot of time working in the yard now that it's spring, and I won't finish Clementine by Sonia Purnell by the end of the month as planned. I'll be finished with it next week though. I'm about 25% in and it's good.

Mar 30, 12:48pm Top

I took this opportunity to finally get around to reading The Witchfinder's Sister, which is set against and focused upon the witch trials that took place in mid-seventeenth century England. The book is powerful, and masterfully written... and it was incredibly difficult to read, simply because of the reality of the content and how carefully Underdown brought it to life. I'd recommend it for those interested, but it's not an easy read by any means. Full review written if you care to take a look.

Mar 31, 5:45am Top

I have finished all 2048 pages of Joseph Balsamo by Alexandre Dumas, set in France. Versailles, mostly.

Mar 31, 10:42am Top

>58 MissWatson: That's an accomplishment, congratulations!

Mar 31, 10:46am Top

>56 clue: Given how Brexit has been postponed, with no clear date for withdrawal, you may have months, or even years, left to finish the book in time!

Mar 31, 2:12pm Top

>59 clue: What a chunkster!

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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