My connection with the books goes back a long way. It started long before I learned how to read.
I was born during communism in a country well accustomed with the dictatorship. People had little means for distractions and hobby was a non-existing word in the common vocabulary. At least on the surface. At second glance two parallel worlds coexisted: the grey silent one of the regime with the endless limitations, and the coloured whispered one of the ordinary people trying to diversify the imposed equal existence. The system of acquaintances and the swap of goods was making life easier and was creating way for hobbies to be present. If you knew the right person (or you knew a person who knew another person) you could get your hands on what you needed or wanted. Making no exception, my parents had a well-established network. Setting aside the basic goods they managed to procure, my dad had a peculiar obsession – books. Getting books and having a personal library in communist Romania, believe me, it was exceptional. But somehow, they managed. To make the picture clearer: we were living in a village and my parents weren’t intellectuals. They were working in factories, in eight hour shifts, as the system required. In December 1989, the moment communist system collapsed, and my father passed away due to illness, the book collection counted over 2000 volumes. Impressive today, more impressive back then. Thirty years later, the books are still in the same room, waiting for readers. The smell of paper will always bring back memories.
My brother and I we were fascinated by the room dedicated to the books. It was a sanctuary. We knew no one having similar rooms in their homes. People were coming to lend books or just to wonder at their number. It was a half-hidden treasure and an act of rebellion (defying the strict system). Living in a village most probably help my parents not to be exposed and managed not to be checked by Securitate (Romanian Secret Police).
This was the context of my first contacts with the books. I desperately wanted to learn how to read. It was the key to explore the marvels waiting for me in my own home. After dad died, the passion for books and the pleasure of reading became the invisible connection that still bounds our family beyond life.
I was dedicating my summer vacations to exploring the treasure at my disposal. I was disregarding the obligatory summer readings. I had far more options. I was reading books from cover to cover in one go. I was spending nights discovering lost worlds and fighting battles that became my own.
As I grew up, I started to create my own library. I moved around different countries and my books always travelled with me. They are a part of my identity. I love buying books from the places I visit. Books become testimonies of my journey.
For many, technology changed and challenged the way of reading. But not for me. I am old school. I need paper. Having and holding a book is more that an intellectual experience. It is more than a personal relation with the story and the content. It is a multi-sensorial encounter. A book has a specific energy, a special smell, and a distinct touch. It is the blend of all these characteristics that make me love and cherish the printed books. I am now at the point where choosing an apartment is inevitable linked to having enough space for my bookshelves. I need to be surrounded by books. Their constant presence grounds me and brings stability.
Even though I am not a big fan of the way technology is more and more present in every aspect of our lives, I do encourage reading in any available form.
Books were and always will be portals. Books and reading open doors not only to time travel, but to worlds otherwise not accessible to us. Books and reading represent a source of infinite knowledge. Books and words bring the unimaginable into life. They decompose and transform the realm of this reality into millions of different dimensions.
Reading is, and for sure will remain, one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I do encourage everyone to read as much as they can and not to limit to one genre. To get a taste of everything you need to try as much as possible. And get rid of the limiting believes that stories are only for children. Flavour can be found not only in the cooking books.
My dears, please read, if possible, holding a paper book in your hands. Reading enriches the mind, alleviates the soul, and expands the existence.
Lots of love,
Sharing Simple Words