Wednesday Witterings – The Great Debate…

A European Referendum Special…

eu flags

It is a real possibility that in 48 hours I will no longer be politically European. As I watched the final big televised debate last night, I began to relieve the tedium by seeing if I could find a book that I had reviewed for each of the 28 countries in the European Union. I failed with a few and had to stretch a bit for a few more, but here goes…

AustriaVienna Nocturne

Belgium1914 Goodbye to All That
– about the impact of WW1 & 2

BulgariaThe War that Ended Peace
– a history book about WW1

CroatiaThe Skeleton Road
– war in Croatia

Republic of Cyprus – don’t have a book for this

Czech RepublicThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
– Jews fleeing the Nazis


FranceAn Officer and a Spy
– spying, anti-semitism and war

GermanyThe Collini Case
– the aftermath of WW2

GreeceThe Honey Trap
– a short story within the OxCrimes collection

HungaryA Kingdom Far and Clear
– a fantasy based on the Austro- Hungarian Empire,
about the battle between absolute monarchies and dictatorships

IrelandNora Webster
– touches on The Troubles in Ireland

ItalyThe Murdered Banker
– the author was killed for protesting against Italian fascism

Luxembourg – don’t have a book for this one

MaltaThe Maltese Falcon
– a book about Nazi gold

NetherlandsThe Night Ferry

PolandForest Ghost
– a horror story based on a real-life massacre in Poland in WW2

PortugalThe High Mountains of Portugal

RomaniaThe Black Church

SpainThe Sun Also Rises
– the aftermath of WW1 on the ‘lost generation’

SwedenThe Voices Beyond
– partly about the terror of life under Stalin

* * * * * * *

I don’t have separate books for the Balkan and Baltic nations within the EU but I feel this one covers them all, since they all spent time under the Stalinist yoke.

Khlevniuk jkt ks.indd

Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator

Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia

* * * * * * *

And lastly…

unfinished empire

United KingdomUnfinished Empire
– I guess some people still haven’t realised… it’s finished now.

* * * * * * *

Hmm… so out of 28 countries, 20 of the books relate to European wars of the last century. Though none of the wars took place in countries that were members of the EU at the time.
(See how sneakily I snuck that political point in?)

Wishing peace and prosperity to us all! #Remain

remain poster

Have a great Wednesday! 😉


65 thoughts on “Wednesday Witterings – The Great Debate…

  1. Thanks for your thoughts on this, FictionFan. I’ve been following the Brexit/Bremain debate for a while now, actually. I don’t feel it appropriate to comment, not being UK. But I do wish everyone well, whatever happens. Oh, and thanks for that list of books, too. My TBR, on the other hand, is not grateful at all… 😉


    • I’ll be glad when it’s all over – we’ve had too many big political debates over here recently. With this one, I’m a remainer but I reckon we’ll survive quite happily whatever we decide, so I’m not stressing about it too much. And it is quite fun watching all the politicians hyperventilate… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a feisty debate! If we Brexit, does that mean we won’t be able to play in the Euros any more? If so – #Leave! Haha. If we used football instead of war to decide international squabbles, the world would be a happier place. Although, we would be a third world country enslaved by just about everybody else. Pah. There is no logical answer, I’m off to set up camp in Peru.


    • Wasn’t it? I particularly enjoyed Wee Ruth beating up Big Boris! Hahaha! Now, you may have come up with something to make me re-think my position! Though I’ve just remembered – Scotland never qualifies for the Euros anyway…

      I’ll be glad when it’s all over, whatever we decide, quite frankly!

      Liked by 1 person

        • I know. I must say, my biggest fear is it’ll be like the Scottish referendum – so close that it won’t really decide anything. I think sometimes it’s better just to leave us to grumble than to actually put things to a vote – they’re so divisive! And we enjoy grumbling more…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, that would be the worst result possible. The polls are so close, it’s frustrating. In or out is almost irrelevant to me now, I just wish there was a bit of clarity about the whole thing!
            The moaning is far better than finding a solution, it’s the British way!


            • I know – because the Scottish vote was so close it’s really divided people up here. I’m afraid the people who lose votes by a small margin somehow think they’ve won and bore on endlessly about how they were cheated. I find it tedious. And if they manage to force a second referendum, I’m moving to England! It’s one reason I’m voting remain – if the UK votes leave, then the SNP will be howling for another independence vote. Yawn!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Move to Cambridge!! I know exactly what you mean, people will be banging on about it for years. History is being made today and it’s exciting to be a part of it- one day kids will learn about this as a turning point in history and I think it is cool to be living through it 🙂


            • Yes, I do enjoy voting! It makes me feel like I’m doing somehting important, plus making the sufragettes proud! 😉

              It’s quite exciting not knowing what tomorrow will bring…

              Liked by 1 person

            • I love how old fashioned it is – putting a cross in a box on a slip of paper. I think the Remains will just about have it, but one can never be sure!


  3. During my visit I ran into most people who wished to remain, but of course keep the currency, which has works well thus far. I’m following along with great interest! (I need something to distract me from our own problems! haha) Incidently, most of the Brexit signs were hung in houses with lots of angry exclamations marks!!!! 😉


    • Yes, I’m not into total integration or full union, but I prefer on the whole to be in rather than out. Haha! Some of the Brexiters do get a bit rabid! And it’s a shame, because there are perfectly valid arguments for coming out, but they kinda get lost under the vitriol and the foaming mouths! The remainers are no better – to listen to them, you’d think Britain will sink into the sea if we come out. I do enjoy watching all the political parties rip themselves apart though – does that make me a bad person? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • Our government has brought this on itself. We’ve been quite happy for decades grumbling about the EU and blaming everything on them. If we vote leave, who will we blame then?? Do I get the feeling the tide may be turning just a little over your side? Or is that just wishful thinking?

          Liked by 1 person

            • Hurrah! He’s in Scotland at the moment – expect protests! If I wasn’t too busy reading and voting, I’d go and throw a soft-boiled egg or two myself…


            • Or golf balls! He’ll be promoting a new course, no doubt. Because that’s exactly what the world needs more of — golf courses. We should deny him reentry. But then again, we can’t do that to you. Or can we . . . *devilish smile*


            • Oh, you might as well – it appears we are going to sink into the sea after all. Along with economic, political and social chaos, we might as well have Trump too. Shoot me! Or meet me in Canada…


            • I know! What’s next? Will Scotland vote for independence once again? Will the UK break up? I can’t take it. If Trump wins here, I’ll meet you in Canada! It’ll take years to mess them up. Good grief.


            • I thought I had lost the ability to laugh yesterday, but then I saw a tweet which said

              “i woke up and we’re leaving the eu, the prime-minister’s quit, boris johnson’s up for it now and donald trump has landed in scotland WTF”

              and discovered I still can after all.

              Oh dear, the bandwagon for a second independence ref is in full swing. Borders between Scotland and England?? Canada, here I come!


    • Thank you! 🙂 Haha! I know – I felt bad for the countries I couldn’t find books for. I shall have to hunt them down. Maybe a James Bond novel takes place in Luxembourg…


  4. Goodness, you mentioned so many books I didn’t know. Black Church for Romania – I love that building and town, both are really beautiful, so may have to seek that one out!
    As for the debate… I find it sad that quite a few people are fearful of voicing their opinion because of the viciousness of the campaigning. I know, I know, my children are fed up with me telling them that I stood on the barricades and watched friends of mine getting shot for our freedom of expression, and that I vowed to myself to never be afraid again of stating what I believe in… but I can understand why so often we would prefer to remain silent.


    • I know – it’s a pity actually, ‘cos it tends to be the more rational people who keep their opinions to themselves while the rabid on either side indulge in hate and name-calling. I’m for remain obviously, but I don’t really think the majority of leavers are fascist racists and every time a remainer implies they are, I bet they lose three votes. But I always like to think that I’d have spoken up against the dictators of the mid-century, so declaring a preference in the EU debate shouldn’t be too hard! Be glad when it’s over, though…

      I was sorry that was the only book I could come up with for Romania, and appalled that i couldn’t find anything for lots of the East European countries. Must expand my reading… Hurrah! More lists!!


  5. FF, I’m most impressed at your reading list. And you know, I can’t think if there even have been books written that would meet your criteria from those other countries, so well done! As to the ongoing debate raging across the Pond, I sincerely wish you well. These political times can be frightening and confusing, and the proclivity of the powers-that-be to lie to sway public opinion is shameful.


    • Haha! I did have to stretch quite a bit for some of them – like The Maltese Falcon for Malta, for instance! The debate has been pretty poor on both sides, with a lot of lying and name-calling going on. I’m for remain but I don’t think the world will end if we leave, so I’m not too stressed about it. Hust be glad when it’s finally over, to be honest…


  6. I’m a remainer and proud of it! I think one of Bill Bryson’s books begins in Luxemburg but it’s not fiction!
    Our Finnish friends wouldn’t like to be lumped under a biography of Stalin. They defeated the USSR in the Winter War and maintained their hard-won independence. Try The Year of The Hare for a great Finnish novel. It’s by Aarto Paasalinna.


    • In my defence, I stitched myself up by restricting it to books I’d reviewed. Plus I was being distracted by watching two Tories rip each other apart at the time…

      Haha! See, I knew I’d get the history all wrong! This is the problem with political debate – all that fact-checking is so time-consuming. 😉 I’ll check that one out – I’m appalled that I couldn’t find any books for all these Baltic and Balkan countries.


  7. Very topical!! It is odd to be watching all the goings on from our little island. Of course we have no say in what happens even though despite being ‘independent’ it will have an impact on us too. As for the books, interesting how many look at wars! I have an entry for Luxembourg with the Daniel Pembrey’s The Candidate but nothing that I can think of for Cyprus.


    • I didn’t realise you wouldn’t be voting! Lucky you! 😉

      Haha! I may have rigged the books a little to suit my political point, but it really is amazing how much of our literature relates to war. And the rest of it to murder! It’s just as well we don’t live in a perfect world or think how boring books would be…


  8. I am thoroughly fed up with the whole debate – it’s sickening and it won’t be over tomorrow whatever happens. But of course I liked your post – interesting it’s mainly about the wars all over the place. I can add another one – The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop set in Cyprus during the 1970s when the island was split into two – another war story!.


    • Me too! It’s been so divisive and I hate all the name-calling. And it looks like it’s going to be so close, it’ll solve nothing. And of course, if we vote leave, then the SNP will have the perfect excuse for another Independence vote – I’m thinking of emigrating! It is amazing how much of our literature is related to war, even if I did strecth a few to suit my point. Ah, I must look at that one – it would work for my Around the World challenge too. Thank you!


  9. Interesting (and clever) post! And, impressive list of books.
    I’m feeling safe over here right now – no EU debate, no Donald Trump. The biggest political news we’ve had since the election is that the Prime Minister elbowed someone by mistake. And she was a woman… Ooo… (There has been more than that going on here, of course, but I swear that incident got the most attention.)


    • Thank you! Haha! I must say in comparison to the Trump scenario, our little referendum seems kinda insignificant! I’m thinking of emigrating to Canada! I love the trivia the news media gets fixated on – over here it’s usually the latest Royal photos – Prince George waving is more important than storm, floods, or war! There was a time when I was a tiny child that I had a bit of a thing for Mr Trudeau Senior – he seemed so young in comparison to all our own ancient politicians! I’m over it now though… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know – it’s potentially huge! And quite exciting not knowing what the result will be – it’s on a knife edge.

      I haven’t read Summerland, but I loved Telegraph Avenue! Love his writing style… 🙂


  10. Brilliant post! I am so sorry. So very sorry. I can only think that this is exactly the opposite of how I felt when the NY Times printed a headline (that I cannot find) about peace breaking out around the world. I believe it was around the time that the Berlin Wall came down. The children’s book writer/illustrator, Oliver Jeffers, posted a drawing of England fracturing apart from the EU with the caption “What have we done?” on his Facebook page.


    • I’m truly devastated – more than I thought I would be actually. I can’t believe we’ve done this to ourselves – and to Europe and the world for that matter. Boris, Trump and Putin – what a world we seem to be democratically creating! I thought the point of democracy was to stop the nutters getting into power. Looks like Britain has voted for the Titanic after all – I hope you guys have more luck/sense come November. We need at least one major country to be stable! And what really riles me is that many people who voted leave did it to kick the government rather than because they really wanted to leave – shock horror all round, even from a lot of ‘leavers’. And now the Scottish nationalists are rolling their bandwagon down the streets again – a border between England and Scotland? For the first time since the 16th century. There’s progress, eh? Oh, dear – I wish I’d emigrated to Canada when I was young…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I don’t think any of us really thought it would happen. I don’t think WW3 is going to start tomorrow, but I do think it’s more possible today than it was last week because of this. Not to mention that it turns out the leavers don’t seem to have any actual economic plans! It appears turkeys do vote for Christmas sometimes…

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yep, I have far more respect for the people who genuinely wanted to leave – there are real arguments for it, even if I don’t agree with them. But the ones who used it as an excuse to kick the present government? I do try not to be offensive when discussing politics but I’m afraid the only word that seems to suit here is “morons”… and there’s the basic problem with democracy right there! Normally I’d argue democracy is better than the alternatives, but sometimes I wonder…

          I think I need chocolate. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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