I read about 79 pages into 'The Bookish Life of Nina Hill' and asked myself "why?". I went to GoodReads and Amazon and read all the worst reviews, I guess to talk myself out of continuing to read it. But then, I had 2 more days before I had to return it to KCLS, so I decided to stick with it. Around the middle of the book, I found myself a bit more engrossed in the story and by then end, I found myself smiling.
Isn't that what a book should do, make us smile?
To be honest, I pretty much hated the title character in the first half of the book. She is neurotic and obsessed; while she has friends, she claims she can't make friends; while she claims she has no life, she incessantly schedules her days around all the events she's planned. I pretty much call that a life. The conversations between her and the other characters are mostly one-liners and quips that would do Johnny Carson or Jerry Seinfeld proud, but, after a while, they became tedious rather than funny or charming
The other characters in 'The Bookish Life of Nina Hill' were never developed really well. There was a wealth of them to choose from to explore further, but alas, they weren't and were left as flat caricatures.
So: 2 stars for an interminably boring beginning with a title character I did not like, 4 stars for an ending that made me smile and a bonus half star because 'The Bookish Life of Nina Hill' celebrates books and those of us who read them:
"They say you always remember your first time, and Nina definitely did. Walking into the Los Angeles Central Library to get her first library card, when she was eight or so, was still a memory she treasured. The entry hall of the library was as beautiful as any cathedral, and Nina had looked around and realized she would never run out of things to read, and that certainly filled her with peace and satisfaction. It didn't matter what hit the fan; as long as there were unread books in the world, she would be fine. Being surrounded by books was the closest she's ever gotten to feeling like a member of a gang. The books had her back, and the nonfiction, at least, was ready to fight if necessary."
3.5 stars for 'The Bookish Life of Nina Hill' which is far, far better than 'Other People's Houses', which was utterly awful, but not nearly as good as 'The Garden of Small Beginnings', which was wonderful.