I’ve always loved reading. I remember being unspeakably excited about starting Kindergarten, because I knew I’d learn how to read — and I’d been desperate to learn since I was about three years old.
Not surprisingly, I became a voracious reader as soon as I cracked the literacy code. Whenever we drove through Denver, I’d insist on going to the Tattered Cover — it’s since been broken up into different branches, but when I was growing up, the Tattered Cover was one gargantuan, four-story bookstore in downtown Denver — and would proceed to beg my parents for at least ten books when I knew darn well they’d be willing to buy three at the most. (Hey, a kid can dream.)
Since I finished grad school in 2008, I’ve found that one of the most thrilling things about being done with school — aside from earning a steady paycheck, which, after a year of grad research and two years of grad school, is kind of a big deal — is having time to read for fun again. As soon as I turned in my master’s thesis, I went straight to Target and bought myself some fiction novels.
As soon as I landed in DC, one of my first tasks was to get an account set up with the local public library. I had two books on hold at the library this weekend, and I felt all conflicted about picking them up: I’m slowly working my way through two other books, but they’re pretty dense. I enjoy reading them, but I have to do it in small increments because there are so many characters to keep straight and so much information to digest.
So, before heading out to the library, I sat on the couch feeling guilty for picking up two more books and adding them to the pile of half-read tomes on my nightstand. “You really should finish the other two before you pick up any more,” I thought to myself. “It’s ridiculous for you to be reading so many books at once. You should finish what you started before starting anything else!”
But then I had a little epiphany: this is my entertainment. I’m doing this reading for fun. It doesn’t have to be disciplined, and I don’t have to be task-oriented about it. “Screw it!” I said as I laced up my shoes, “I’m gettin’ me some books!”
The first one I dove into was The Bungalow by Sarah Jio. In short, I absolutely loved it. It combines all the genres I love most: historical fiction, mystery, art, and romance.
Among the many things I loved about this book was the fact that she writes about bygone eras with just enough detail to paint a vivid picture of that particular moment in time, but without venturing into the levels of detail that have your eyes glazing over. Anne, the novel’s protagonist, is superbly likable, and you find yourself rooting for her at every step of the story.
Another great thing about the book is the fact that Jio’s writing style is totally accessible. This was an incredibly enjoyable read — not to mention a riveting one — and I didn’t want to put it down. Truth be told, I read it in one night. No joke. Granted, I paid for that the next morning when I couldn’t get enough caffeine to get me through the day, but it was totally worth it.
So, if you’re looking for an awesome book, pick up The Bungalow — you’ll be glad you did.