From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
I didn’t immediately pick up “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill,” when it first came out in the summer of 2019, mainly because it was rarely on the shelf when I was looking for something to read. But on the advice of Bev, I grabbed it and immediately fell in love with the quirky bookseller. Deciding that the author—Abbi Waxman—was worth another chance, I quickly went through “Garden of Small Beginnings,” and “Other People’s Houses,” which includes some of the same characters found in “Nina Hill” but can certainly be read on their own (but you’ll get hooked and want to read them all, including “Adult Assembly Required”).
I also looked up Abbi Waxman, wanting to know more about this author who delighted me with her writing. I discovered someone I thought I could hang out with. After all, she describes herself as “a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman, who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible.” Other than living in LA and being a successful writer (and a few other details), we could practically be clones!
During the COVID shutdown, her books became my go-to when folks called asking for “fun,” “uplifting,” and “happy” books. I was thrilled when “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” came out in June of 2020 because: A) I liked it; and B) I had another book to share with our patrons. I still recommend Waxman’s books to folks who are looking for something good to read.
So when it came to selecting titles to include in our March Madness: Book Edition bracket, it was a no-brainer to include “Bookish Life of Nina Hill,” partially to off-set some of the “heavier” titles we chose. I was only slightly surprised when it edged out “Lonesome Dove” in Round 1, but was shocked when it beat “Open Season” to go head-to-head with “In Cold Blood” in a Final Four match-up.
The scenario has a Nina Hill-ish element to it, something I thought Abbi Waxman would appreciate if she only knew about it. And well, I could make that happen. So on Tuesday evening I clicked on her website’s contact link and emailed our March Madness story to her. And two hours later I had a reply! She responded exactly the way I imagined she would and it certainly made my day, week, month—and possibly my year!
I suspect that Nina Hill’s run will come to an end this weekend—I certainly don’t see her reaching the Championship round and early voting supports that. But I’d be fine if she were to upset Capote’s classic (and ruin a whole lot of brackets). If you like an underdog story, you can make it happen—vote online or in person by Sunday (online voting continues until midnight). Her fate lies in your hands.