Tuesday 11 February 2020

Book ~ "The Bookish Life of Nina Hill" (2019) Abbi Waxman

From Goodreads ~ 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. 

Nina works in a bookstore and loves her job.  She has a cat named Phil and a couple friends.  She's on a competitive trivia team.  She enjoys reading and her alone time.  She is extremely organized.  Her life is fine as it is.

Nina's mother had had a fling with an older married man almost thirty years ago.  She broke up with the man, found out she was pregnant and had the man sign away any rights he had to the child and agree to never contact her.  That man was Nina's father and Nina was that baby.  Her mother wasn't one to settle down so Nina was raised by her beloved live-in nanny while her mother traveled the world as a photographer and was rarely home.

One day a lawyer comes into the bookstore to let Nina know that her father who she never knew has passed away and she has a brother and sisters and is an aunt and even a great aunt.  After having basically no family, she now has a large one ... some welcome her into the fold, while others aren't as happy.

While she's dealing with this, she becomes attracted to Tom, the captain of a rival trivia team ... and the feeling is mutual.  They are both awkward, though, and it takes a while for them to even speak to each other.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thought it was okay.  It was written in third person perspective from Nina and Tom's points of view.  I found the writing amusing at times.  The writing style reminded me of narration sometimes ... I was hearing the narrator from the 2006 film The Holiday in my head.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and adult activity.

Nina is an book loving introvert who spouts out trivia all the time ... I found it made her a bit annoying and a know-it-all.  She's odd but once you got to know her I suppose you wouldn't notice as you would accept her as she is.  Nina doesn't seem to have any resentment towards her mother but I guess you don't miss what you never had.  It's a good thing she had/has the support and guidance of her nanny because her mother sounds awful and selfish.

I was surprised that the title of the book focuses in on her being a book lover rather than on the trivia part, since she seems to spend more time being into trivia than reading ... during the trivia contests we actually get a play-by-play of what's going on.

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