Martin's Must Reads: 'The Bookish Life of Nina Hill'

Nov 12, 2019

“The woman was staring at Nina in what can only be described as a truculent fashion, jangling her extensive, culturally appropriative turquoise jewelry. ‘ I want my money back. It’s a very boring book; all they do is sit around and talk.’ She took a breath and delivered the coup de grace. ‘I don’t know why the manager told me it was a classic.’ ”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are lines from the the first chapter of Abbi Waxman’s very funny novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

Nina works in one of the last independent book stores in L. A. As the story begins, Nina lives a very organized life with a plan for each day that includes activities, tasks, goals and meals. As the book progresses those entries become more random...coffee for breakfast and lunch and coffee ice cream for dinner.

She works with two other women: Polly, an aspiring actress and Liz the owner of the shop.  Her mother is an award-winning photographer who travels the globe and sends Nina postcards. Nina, raised by a nanny, didn’t know who her father was. She spends her time working, going to trivia contests with her team "Book ‘em, Danno” and talking to her cat Phil.   

And then one day, an attorney shows up to tell her she’s been named in her father’s will.  He was married three times so she also inherits a family of half siblings ranging in age from 10  to 58. This requires a laminated family chart to keep everyone straight.

It’s hard to find a truly funny book ...but this is one. If you love books, trivia contests and witty repartee, then you must read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.