Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi WaxmanNina Hill is my spirit person. She is single, thirty, has a cat named Phil, and works in a book store. Her mother is a photographer who is never home. Her nanny, Louise, raised her. Nina likes her life. It’s planned to the minute. She is in four book clubs and competes in pub trivia. Her life is perfect…

Then Nina gets a visit at work from a lawyer who says that her father (whom she has never met) died and she has inherited a family she didn’t know about, including brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She also meets Tom, a competitor from pub trivia, who she denies liking, but everyone around her knows she does.

Nina has to navigate all of this craziness with her anxiety and a boss whose hiding from the landlord, a co-worker who pushes Nina to date Tom, and a brand new family who wants to be part of Nina’s life.

This is the third book of Abbi Waxman’s I have read and I have loved all three. This book is sweet and funny and sensitive. I love Nina. I love her cat, Phil, as anyone who owns cats can attest, Phil is the real deal. The book is a celebration of love, trivia, family, and books. I recommend this book to anyone who loves books, cats, complicated family stories, and awkward dating.

I won this book and did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone.

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Educated Is Not That Educating

EducatedI bought this book a while ago and have been meaning to read it. Then it got picked for book club so I had to read it. This book was a struggle for me from start to finish. I equate it with Wild, in that people went crazy about that book and after two readings, I still didn’t fully understand why. I’m getting the same vibe about this book – it’s so highly spoken about that you’re supposed to like it. Then I question myself for not finding it likable. Here are my problems with this book.

First and foremost, I think information is missing. Whether that was omission by choice or by accident, I do not know. But it doesn’t feel complete. Example: her fellowship at Harvard. She says that shew as watching television 20 hours a day. She says she thinks she was failing. Then, she’s back at Cambridge and getting counseling. There is no discussion whether she passed or failed her fellowship and if she did pass, how she did it. I do not like loose ends when there is an easy an obvious answer to be had.

Second, the footnote that appears every time she talks about a discussion in which she has paraphrased the discussion. She has email, for example, that she paraphrases and says that it’s paraphrased, but the meaning has been retained. If you have an email conversation, why not print verbatim, the relevant parts? Why do you have to paraphrase it? If you do have to, explain why? To me, it indicates that, for reasons we are not told, she doesn’t not want the original language in the book. I have issues with that.

Third, and this is probably not a fair criticism, but things just seem to fall into her lap. She just so happens to be talked into applying for, and receiving, a grant. She gets talked into and wins the fellowship to Harvard, etc. I’m positive there are more to all those stories. And yes, I realize that if you discuss every detail of every event you will have a thousand page book that no one will read. But. In order for me to buy into this story, I would like to have heard more detail about these things.

Fourth, her language. She’s very flowery and uses way too many attempts at foreshadowing, that, to me, did not pay off. I did not appreciate lines like, “as I would find out years later.” Get to the point. Don’t keep telling me something is going to happen. That gets old and annoying.

I appreciate what Dr. Westover went through and how hard she worked to get where she is. And I generally don’t like to negatively review books. However, were I to give this book a good review, I wouldn’t be honest about what I thought and how I felt about it. I did not like it. I can’t change that I did not like it. I can only try to explain why I didn’t care for it. It’s just not my cup of tea. I am sure I’m in the minority here and if you feel you need to check it out, by all means, do so. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

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No Time To Read

I’ve been in a serious rut with time to read. I have had none. Very long story short, I have had a ton of things going on the last couple of weeks and haven’t read very much. This happens to me a couple of times a year. I have finals to grade, picked up a photo gig, and had the usual stuff, plus a couple of additional things that have prevented me from reading much. I have book club this Sunday and am not sure if I will finish the book by then.

I do not like it when the only time I have to read is my lunch hour. I like to read more than an hour a day. Unfortunately, I have to accept that right now, I can’t. I don’t force it, though because i won’t like the book I”m forcing myself to read. Anyway, this is a short post, but I haven’t posted in twelve days and that’s too long. Forgive this short and complaining post. I will try to be back later this week with more bookish discussion.

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Becoming

Becoming by Michelle ObamaI’m sitting at my computer, trying to think about what I want to say about this book. I listened to the audio, which Michelle Obama narrates. I love her voice. She reads with excellent pacing. The only thing I thought was missing was emotion in some places. However, that being said, it was an excellent audio book.

The book starts with her childhood and continues to the beginning of the Trump administration. I found her perspective on things to be refreshing and interesting. I liked Michelle Obama before I listened to this book. But now, I love her. She’s smart, educated, independent, and thoughtful. Her writing style is familiar and friendly, yet somewhat reserved.

I especially appreciated her honesty about raising children in the glare of the public spotlight, issues with her husband’s idiosyncrasies, which we can all relate to, and the stamina and courage and thick-skin you need to do those things with such grace and dignity. I cannot even fathom how hard that must have been.

The chapters dealing with the Obama administration were my favorite, only because I was wondering what the Obamas thought about the media glare, politics, etc. of being in public life. I’m sad that Michelle Obama said at the end of the book she doesn’t ever want to run for office because I think she is the type of the person this country desperately needs in leadership.

I have not read books by other First Ladies, so I don’t have a frame of comparison for this book, but I really did enjoy this book.

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