Abbi Waxman comes to the blog today with a story about, for and dedicated to readers – set in an independent bookshop in LA please read on for my review of
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Nina is an only child with an absent (photographer) mother and no real family to speak of but for her old nanny Lou, and her cat Phil. She’s ticking along just fine with her obsession with scheduling and organizing, leaving her Thursdays as sacrosanct to read whatever she likes for however long she wants. She’s always been fascinated with books and reading: she’s a trivia savant, and she’s got no room in her life for surprises. Well, surprises happen but she’s so anxious about them, and focused on her anxiety that she often overloads and falls incapable of even the smallest tasks unless or until she has the time to overthink her every option and place the ‘new thing’ into a box that she can either ignore or schedule to fit her life. There’s a certain camaraderie with Nina for those of us who are more introverts than normal, who love books and reading, and would (if pushed) read the same book over and over again if nothing new caught our eye. She’s got her favorites that are all “mood dependent”, and her relationship with her boss Liz, her co-worker Polly and the customers that come into King’s Bookshop where she works are intriguing – even they are trying to get her to ‘let go’ of her over-organized life and be spontaneous.
But, as Nina says, “I’d rather be home reading”. A sentiment I can fully get behind as Nina and I use books in the same way: to explore other people, places and options, all while being transported away from where we are, or to those places that feel happier and simpler. But things are getting more complicated for Nina by the second: her competitors in the “Trivia League” are closing in on them, and their captain: gorgeous, arresting and obviously Sports aware is intriguing, even though she doesn’t want him to be. If that’s not enough to throw a spanner in the works, she is visited by a lawyer who has a bequest from the father she never knew about, and there’s a TON of family that comes along with the information. None of the family knew of Nina, and she didn’t know about them – and it’s just one more thing that she ‘wondered’ about as a kid, but never really thought was possible for her.
What emerges is Nina trying to ‘acclimate’ to the news, with a nephew that is wonderfully accepting and takes her though the family connections, to an older brother (in utero when her mother and father had their moment) who is surprisingly like her, and all of the other ‘emotions’ one might expect from a family who has suddenly discovered your existence. From laugh out loud moments to her attempts to ‘figure out’ just why people act the way they do without her books, and her budding relationship with Tom, captain of the rival team, Nina’s plate is pretty full. Waxman details Nina’s philosophies, her reading and even her anxiety in ways that make you want to be her new best friend – with hours of ‘quiet co-reading’, coffee, tea, snacks and plenty of comfy socks. There’s so much happening in this book that it gives Nina no time to ‘process’ the information as she normally would, and the changes in her, as well as her commitment to the books she loves, the store and her dogged determination to keep her life “sane if lonely” is a lovely story and one that many readers can relate to on one level or another. Easy to read, funny and heartwarming, this is a book to grab and enjoy, particularly if you are a ‘reader’ who devours everything around them, usually multiple times.
Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Setting: American
Published by: Berkley
Published on: 9 July, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 3 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.