Chick-Lit, For the Love of Books, Reviews, Romance

Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina HillThe Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

My rating: 4.75 of 5 stars

In public Nina was a quiet, reserved person; in private she was an all-singing, all-dancing cavalcade of light and motion.

We are introduced to the heroine of Abbi Waxman’s latest novel in the bookstore where she works as a customer attempts to return a certain literary masterpiece after reading it, claiming that it was boring. Thus we are introduced to Nina Hill and the general feel of this novel. That literary classic was Pride and Prejudice and there is something about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill that feels like reading a Jane Austen work.
Like an Austen novel, this one centers around a lovable, complex heroine that many readers will recognize very well (I know that I did, sometimes thinking that Waxman somehow has seen inside my head) and will probably want to be friends with. Nina’s expanding world is filled with delightful characters with personalities that pop of the pages, making the reader feel even more connected with Nina herself as she struggles to take it all in. Those familiar with Waxman’s work will recognize a few of those characters from her previous novels, The Garden of Small Beginnings and Other People’s Houses as well as her trademark irreverent wit. Also like Miss Austen’s work, the romance storyline, while wonderful, is just icing on an already delicious cake.
Like Nina’s life, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is not a fast-paced, thrill a minute story. This is a comfortable read with plenty of laugh-out-loud humor and insightful wisdom. Being a story about a book lover who works in a bookstore there are also a few book recommendations to be found in its pages, which is always a nice bonus.

There are a lot of books out there about book lovers like Nina and you and me.  Try They Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms, How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry, or Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell if what you’re looking for is a character with which you can identify.  Also, I don’t think I can state enough how much I love Abbi Waxman’s books so, if you haven’t already, check them out The Garden of Small Beginnings and Other People’s Houses.

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For the Love of Books, Reviews

Review: 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. There are, I am aware, myriad books out there that aim to create the quintessential reading list. I think that this one, which was released on October 2, does an excellent job of formulating a list that contains, along with works so classic that any list is incomplete without them, something for everyone – History, Sports, Memoir, Biography, Science, Philosophy, and every genre of Fiction. I particularly loved the inclusion of Children’s Literature from picture books to young adult classics.
The author’s descriptions were accessible, short, and just tantalizing enough to make me want to pick up each book I read about and start reading then and there. Along with the descriptions of the collection’s highlighted entries were lists of authors other notable books, suggestions for similar or related books, and, my favorite as a film lover, adaptations. The suggested adaptations included not just films but also adaptations for the stage, opera and stand out audiobooks. Most of the entries also included photographs and stunning illustrations from some of the seminal editions.
I’ll admit that I didn’t read every entry, focusing instead on books that I’ve read, that are on my to-be-read list, or that simply piqued my interest as I scrolled through the pages. Even the appendices, which include a Miscellany of Special list (such as books from the list that you can Read in a Sitting or Family Read Alouds) and the 1,000 Books Checklist made 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die a joyous bibliophile experience. The checklist alone has me longing for my own hard copy of this book.

If you enjoy 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die or if you, like me, love reading about books, I highly recommend DK Publishing’s The Literature Book which chronicles the evolution of literature and explains its many movements and styles.

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Review: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

How to Find Love in a BookshopHow to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love Veronica Henry’s How to Find Love in a Bookshop and it begins promisingly, feeling like a love letter of a novel written to all book lovers. There’s even some name-dropping of intriguing books and authors that I marked to look into later (I’ve already added Jilly Cooper to my TBR list). However, for the most part How to Find Love in a Bookshop was a disappointment. It seemed like it took forever for anything to happen. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to root for because it took so long just to introduce each of the storylines. I think there were just too many. Personally, I would have been happy with a novel just about Thomasina.
The descriptions were wonderful making me wish I were in this pleasant Cotswolds village, spending the afternoons browsing around Nightingale Books but I wish more time had been spent developing the many relationships. I feel that that would have made the ending, which was somewhat predictable yet heart-warming, more satisfying.

If you enjoy this story of Emilia attempting to make sense of life after the death of her beloved (by so many people!) father, you may also enjoy Lori Nelson Spielman’s The Life List, a personal favorite of mine.

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