Books were hard to get at a time when I was a kid. They were expensive and, moreover, there was a complete lack of them. Many people owned no books at all, and some other copied them manually (by hand). But there always were a lot of books in our family, and it was shocking to me back then — to see no books at all in a room.
Not all of the books from our family collection were good. Most of them were pretty cheap detectives and other silly novels from barely known authors. The only thing they were good at is the creation of the warm relationships between me and the book species. But among this mess, there were a lot of hidden treasures.
Once I spotted that my father left the book he was reading at that time, on the table. I, for some reasons, thought that I’m not allowed to read or even touch adult books as I was a nothing but the little child. No one was near, and I dared to take it and read it, secretly. It was «Lord Valentine’s Castle» by Robert Silverberg.
To my astonishment, it was not too different by its nature from what I’ve read before. It was way better than all these child books, so I fell in love with it from the first pages. I was reading this book secretly for a long time as I wasn’t alone most of the times and not every day I was even aware of the location of this book.
I think that at some point my secret love affair with this book was spotted by my father. He said nothing about it, so I’m not sure if that was the trigger. But sometime after that, he offered me another book from his collection of science fiction to read. It was the «Deathworld» by Harry Harrison.
From that time I created a personal ritual for reading. Every evening, I take a fruit or two, go to bed, take a book and read it for an hour or two. That was the time I first met Heinlein, Simak, Asimov, Zelazny, Sheckley and other cool guys I owe so much for my very own personality, consciousness and the way I see the world now.