If there's one thing I know, it's that trivia teams bond over the most trivial of matters, and their members are willing to hold onto to each other with a tight-fisted grip like none other. And for Nina Hill, that tight-knit group is all she needs in her life. Well, as far as people are concerned.
Nina Hill, central character of Abbi Waxman's novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, is a confirmed introvert. She loves her routines, her cat named Paul, and her books. Lucky for Nina, the life she's carved for herself fits these loves perfectly: she gets her book fix at work - she's a bookseller - and she gets the requisite number of "social time" with her trivia team. She's an only child, and her mother - a well-known photographer - keeps her distance, not because she's unloving, but because she's just ... always on assignment in far-off places.
When Nina isn't selling books at a cozy shop in Southern California, she's either spending her time researching down rabbit holes for trivia, organizing and re-organizing the corner in her studio apartment that she's devoted to organization, setting new goals for herself in her daily journal entries, or curled up in her favorite chair, surrounded by books, reading into the wee hours of each morning. Her life is hers, and it's her ideal. Until she gets a visit from a lawyer; it turns out that the father she never knew - an arrangement her mother made - has recently died, leaving Nina with a new and quite large family.
Learning to navigate siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and her father's ex-wives becomes a labor that Nina doesn't necessarily love, but one that she learns to tolerate - even enjoy. She struggles to overcome her anxiety around others while at the same time aiming to get her trivia team to the finals. It's almost too much...until it isn't.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is sweet but not saccharine, enjoyable and un-put-downable. Waxman has created a character in Nina who is lovable, bookish, and real. This book is ideal for people who read and loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin.
— Shelly Walston
July 2019 Indie Next List
“What a joyous, charming, funny and beautiful celebration of books and the people who love them. There is so much detail in both the wonderful, wide-ranging cast of characters and in the setting. Quirky in the very best sense of the word. I will certainly return to the world of Nina Hill again and again.”
— Leah Koch, The Ripped Bodice, Culver City, CA
Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Charming and funny and sentimental in the best possible way, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a delightful read! Nina Hill may live in the sprawling city of Los Angeles, but she’s managed to keep her life fairly small and curated. Between her job at the bookstore, weekly book club meetings, and her cutthroat trivia team, she stays busy and content. That is until she finds out her long-lost father has died and the perennially alone Nina discovers she has an entire family right there in LA. As she begins to meet her new family members—and through them the father she never knew—Nina’s world begins to expand in surprising ways.”
— Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD
Instant USA Today bestseller!
“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin
“Meet our bookish millennial heroine—a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet, if you will… Waxman’s wit and wry humor stand out. She is funny and imaginative, and “Bookish” lands a step above run-of-the-mill romantic comedy fare.”—The Washington Post
“Abbi Waxman offers up a quirky, eccentric romance that will charm any bookworm…. For anyone who’s ever wondered if their greatest romance might come between the pages of books they read, Waxman offers a heartwarming tribute to that possibility.”--Entertainment Weekly
The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone's radar. Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own...shell.
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.
About the Author
Abbi Waxman, the USA Today bestselling author of Other People's Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings, is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.
Praise for The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
“Move over on the settee, Jane Austen. You’ve met your modern-day match in Abbi Waxman. Bitingly funny, relatable and intelligent, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a must for anyone who loves to read.”—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck With That
“It's a shame The Bookish Life of Nina Hill only lasts 350 pages, because I wanted to be friends with Nina for far longer.”—Refinery29
“I hope you're in the mood to be downright delighted, because that's the state you'll find yourself in after reading The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.”—PopSugar
“The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will put a smile on your face the entire time you’re reading it. It’s a light, fun summer read with a cast of colorful and lovable characters that you wish were real and that you had on your trivia team. This book is the perfect beach read or pick-me-up for a cloudy day.”—Hypable
“[A] quirky, sweet story.”—Woman’s World
“In this love letter to book nerds, Waxman introduces the extraordinary introvert Nina Hill…. With witty dialogue and a running sarcastic inner monologue, Waxman brings Nina to vibrant life as she upends her introverted routine and becomes part of the family. Fans of Jojo Moyes will love this.”—Publishers Weekly
“Waxman has created a thoroughly engaging character in this bookish, contemplative, set-in-her ways woman. Be prepared to chuckle.”—Kirkus Review (starred review)
“Book nerds will feel strong kinship with the engaging, introverted Nina Hill, who works in a bookstore, plays pub trivia, and loves office supplies… Readers will be captivated by Nina’s droll sense of humor.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Full of pop culture references (bonus points for readers who catch the Men at Work one), and the handwritten planner entries are reminiscent of those in Bridget Jones’s diary….Will appeal to chick lit fans who enjoy copious rapid-fire dialog.”—Library Journal
“...charming and relatable for any introvert who would rather pass time with fictional characters than people, but will rise to the occasion with the right support.”—BookTrib
“Book lovers will absolutely relate to the central character in Abbi Waxman's third novel.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“If you relate to staying in and JOMO (joy of missing out), you’ll relate to Nina.”—Betches
“[F]ast, light, and fun.”—Modern Mrs. Darcy
Praise for Abbi Waxman
“Brilliant. Simply brilliant. The Garden of Small Beginnings is funny, poignant, and startling in its emotional intensity and in its ability to make the reader laugh and cry on the same page . . . I loved this book!”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street Novels
“[A]summer beach read with meat. . . Waxman develops and explores the characters and their relationship in depth.”—The Washington Post
“This is my favorite kind of book—hilarious, sad, joyful. Beautifully written. Fun. I dare you not to enjoy it.”—Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of Be Frank With Me
“What a treat!! Abbi Waxman is one of the wittiest voices in the world today. The Garden of Small Beginnings is a beautiful book full of humor, heart, and deep insight.”—Molly Shannon, actress
“Funny and poignant. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry. May make you want to play in dirt and grow a new life of your own.”—Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author of Best Beach Ever
“Meet your new favorite writer.”—The Daily Beast
“Waxman’s skill at characterization . . . lifts this novel far above being just another ‘widow finds love’ story. Clearly an observer, Waxman has mastered the fine art of dialogue as well. Characters ring true right down to Lilian’s two daughters, who often steal the show.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Waxman takes readers from tears to laughter in this depiction of one woman’s attempt to hold it all together for everyone else only to learn it’s OK to put herself first.”—Booklist
“Kudos to debut author Waxman for creating an endearing and realistic cast of main and supporting characters (including the children). Her narrative and dialog are drenched with spring showers of witty and irreverent humor.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“The Garden of Small Beginnings is a quirky, funny, and deeply thoughtful book.”—HelloGiggles
“Waxman’s voice is witty, emotional, and often profound.”—InStyle (UK)
“This novel is filled with characters you’ll love and wish you lived next door to in real life.”—Bustle
“It’s impossible not to fall in love with Lilian, a young widow who is still trying to come to terms with the death of her husband four years later . . . If you are thinking to yourself, ‘Forget it, I’m not reading a gardening book,’ don’t worry . . . THIS IS NOT A GARDENING BOOK! It is, however, a feel-good, hate-to-put-it-down kind of book!”—Chick Lit Central