Easter and some holiday at last, and a time for catching up on reading. Knowing that I like books, people are very generous to me and I have a pile beside my bed of gifts to read. This week I have ploughed my way through two such gifts. The first, My Estonia, by Justin Petrone, was a gift from a new Estonian colleague who thought that it might help me better to understand his country (thank you, Aivar). The name of the publisher, ‘Petrone Print’, gives the game away. This is a young American journalist’s self-published account of how he met, fell in love with, married and started a family with a pretty and softly eccentric Estonian journalist, Epp. Through his eyes the reader learns about a young Estonia as it starts to reassert its identity after centuries of domination by Soviet Russia and before that by Germanic baronies. I enjoyed the book but I have to say that a lot of it was not so much about Estonia as about the experience of a) settling down and b) settling down abroad. What Italo-American Petrone experienced in Estonia (rubbing up against local culture, customs and people) could just as easily have occurred, say, to a German-Canadian settling in Hungary. And his experience of love and fatherhood was presumably no less nor more joyous and momentous than anybody else’s experience. Petrone’s observations are perhaps sharpest when he encounters older generations away from the major cities: older, poorer people unable or unwilling to change and quietly resentful of the hedonistic habits and easy wealth of younger generations. I imagine he could have made similar observations in most if not all of the countries that had to exist behind the Iron Curtain for so long.