You are here

Icon book review: The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill

Review by Robert McCool

Enjoy a breezy read with Abbi Waxman's new novel- The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill(ISBN 9780451491879)

Nina Hill lives her life on a strict schedule, allowing no deviations to alter her alone-time. And her greatest joy is working in a bookstore, where she is surrounded by trivia and literature, history and security. Her very most favorite occupation is reading, and playing with her team in a Trivia league. Speculating about men doesn't even come in as a distant thought. In fact, her cat comes in before considering men in her life.

That is until she sees a rival team member who is capturing her mind-time even though he's not very good at playing the trivia game. He's good at how he looks though, and he smells like wood shavings. He notices her too. But neither of them are good at talking to the other. She sinks back into her cave of books, and he dates another woman.

Then Nina discovers that she had a father she never met, and haves a distant mother who never tells her about the man she had a one-night stand with. The man has died and left her with an inheritance and a large extended family to deal with. On top of that, Tom (her man from the trivia game) has made an overture to her filled with fun pop-fiction references that push him into her awareness She decides that she might be lonely.

Awkward and funny as they both are is a treat for the reader. I mean, who hasn't been awkward when it comes to the opposite sex? And speaking of sex, they have plenty over a weekend that should cement their relationship. Instead it pushes Nina back into her well-controlled isolation. Tom gets hurt and pulls away too, leaving a void in both their lives.

What will she do about Tom? What will she do about being in a family she never had before? What will she do about the threat of the bookstore closing? What will she do about her much-loved schedule, and the larger issues that go along with giving up her precious alone time?

Fun, comedic at times, heart-wrenching at others, Nina gives us an insight to who we are when we're alone. It is an enjoyable read, one that can be done over a weekend as it sucks you into another person’s life and goals.