With my own cozy reading chair and judgmental cat, I spent most of this book believing Abbi Waxman had probed my brain while I was sleeping. Frankly, I’d be surprised if other bookish folks, general nerds, or organization enthusiasts didn’t feel the same way. It’s a perfectly weird combination of rampant thoughts, happy places, and anxious social encounters; the frustration and comfort of a crazy family; a thoughtful love letter to booksellers and bookstore patrons. Add the sassy narrator, scents of pine and flavors of ice cream, and sickeningly cute romance--and I'm sure it’d pair well with summer itself.
“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin
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 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
“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
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