My Life as a Reader, Part 1:
I've always had low taste in literature. Naturally, I blame my parents.
One of my early memories of my mother is of her holding me up to the shelves in the public library in Mexia, Texas, and letting me pick a book to take home. The one I remember choosing was about Clementine, a flying pig. I liked it so much that I checked it out over and over. (I've looked for the book since, but I've never been able to find it. Maybe I made it up.) What kind of start is that for a young reader?
That library was phased out, and it's now an Episcopal Church. Which seems kind of appropriate to me.
When I started going alone to the new (air-conditioned!) Gibbs Memorial Library, riding my crummy secondhand bike, I checked out series books: the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tarzan, Bomba the Jungle Boy, the Bobbsey Twins. My parents didn't care. They didn't say, "Why are you reading that crap? Doesn't the library have a copy of Crime and Punishment?" They just let me read whatever I wanted to.
My teachers didn't care, either, so maybe it's partially their fault. They let us go to the school library on certain days, and we could read whatever we wanted to and check out anything we liked. It was in the library at Ross Avenue Elementary School that I ran across Rocketship Galileo, a book that pretty much initiated my years'-long immersion in SF.
Come to think of it, I guess the librarians didn't care, either, or they wouldn't have ordered books by Robert A. Heinlein in the first place.
So I'd like to take this opportunity, though it's far too late, to thank my parents, my teachers, and those librarians. If I didn't have low taste in literature, I'd probably have no taste at all.