From the age of two I grew up in England, which I suppose makes me an Englishman. I’m also Scottish and Welsh. British, if you want to call it that. But I’m also a European. I grieve at the pettiness and pointlessness of last year’s vote to leave the European Union, and at the huge waste of resources that will inevitably lead to the neglect of other things that should be our priority. But you don’t have to be in the EU to be a European, and if the UK ever does leave (which hardly seems a done deal at the time of writing) it won’t impair my sense of my own Europeanness.
A new year seems a good time to make a new start, and so I’m starting a reading project. This year I am going to read through the European Union, which at present has 28 member states. I’ve worked out a rough itinerary, starting in Portugal and moving eastwards through continental Europe, then up through the Baltic states and Scandinavia, ending with the UK and Ireland. I hope to be reading a mix of things, though primarily, I suspect, novels. Ancient and modern, familiar and obscure. The problem may be finding books from countries whose canons are less established in translation. If you know anything about the literature of Luxembourg, say, or Malta, or Cyprus, or Lithuania, do let me know. And join me!
So the focus of this blog will veer towards the literary in 2017. Watch this space.