My first love is The key by Junichiro Tanikaki. It followed me every time I moved and still lives proudly on my bookshelves.
I wasn't much of a reader as a kid. Books were not part of my world as no one in my family used to read much. Books suggested at school did not touch my heart so I read what I had to, the strictly necessary school homework and nothing more.
I started reading for my own pleasure in the summers between my 10th and 13th years of age. I remember a large serie of romance for young women that I read quickly and with not much emotions involved. I also rember a Nancy Drew Mistery books that I liked much much more.
At the time reading for me was ok, but something I did when I was bored without a friend in sight or television to keep me company.
Untill one day I met my very first book. I found it in a little secondhand bookshop, not far from school. The owner, before I even asked something, pointed me to the section for young ones. I must have been around 11-not older than 13 years anyway.
I don't know how I ended up looking in the adult section, but I was suddenly attracted to this book. Maybe because it was from a Japanese author and I was obsessed with manga cartoons at the time, or because the painting on its cover reminded me of the beautiful tiny Japanese porcelain coffee cups of my grandmother, the thing is I went home with the feeling I had found something precious and forbidden -feeling amplified by the fact the shop owner didn't want to sell it to me at first because not so appropriate for my young age.
This wonderful book changed me forever, ever since I think that reading provides some kind of magic I could never do without in my life. Suddently I felt sad for all the books I did not read as a child and I decided I would fill my house with books and read as much as I could from that moment onwards.
The book content? The entire story is written in diary form, a format completely new to me that blew my mind and totally enchanted me. The Key is told through two dueling diaries: one is by a 55 year old man and the other is kept by his wife, age 44. It's intriguing, unpredictable and quite elegantly investigating the depth of the human soul.
I believe Tanikazi's book reinforced my love for Japan beyond recovery, the love for diary writing and surely it shaped the little woman inside me.
Many other books followed, but The Key remains my fist love.
Do you love reading? and if so, which is your "first" book, your very first love?
I'd like to hear about it.