Readers Guide for
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Questions for Discussion
1. At the outset of the novel Nina appears very happy, although she really prefers to be alone. How does that change by the end of the novel? What role does solitude play in your life?
2. Nina loves books and is a self-proclaimed introvert. What does she find so appealing about reading? Do you think both extroverts and introverts can be passionate about reading books? How do you think the experience is similar and different for both personality types? Why do you enjoy reading?
3. Pages from Nina’s planner were included in the book. Do you feel that added to the narrative? How did Nina’s planner pages reflect her state of mind? Do you find planning and organizing helps you feel more in control?
4. Nina’s mind is constantly moving, filling with ideas, facts, and information. How does this help and hinder Nina? What do you think are the pros and cons of having such an active brain?
5. Nina has found a group of friends who share her love of books, trivia, and popular culture. At the opening of the novel these people are her chosen family. What interests are you passionate about? Do you have a chosen family of like-minded people, or are your friends drawn from a wider pool?
6. Nina was raised by her nanny, Louise, a woman who wasn’t her biological parent, but who loved and cared for her very deeply. Does Nina consider Lou family? What part do you think biology plays in the formation of family?
7. After discovering her father, Nina realizes his personality resembles hers in many ways, something she feels conflicted about. What traits does Nina share with her father? What does she like about sharing certain personality characteristics with him? What does she find difficult about it? What attributes or flaws do you share with your parents, and how does that make you feel about yourself and about them?
8. Do you think Nina will be permanently changed by discovering her family, or will she remain essentially the same?
9. Nina struggles badly with anxiety, which is often quite debilitating. What are her coping mechanisms? Do you think they are healthy ways to deal with her stress? How do you handle anxieties and fears in your own life?
10. For Nina, a bookstore or library represents sanctuary. Why do you think that is? Do you feel similarly? What are some of your favorite bookstores and libraries? What are other happy places in your life?
11. Tom is not a bookish person, but his character complements Nina’s. Why do you think Nina and Tom work so well together as a couple? How do they complement one another? In what ways have your relationships succeeded or failed because of how well you “fit” together?
12. Nina works in an independent bookstore and seems to enjoy the physical-paper version of books. Do you prefer to read physical books or ebooks? Is your enjoyment of books affected by whether or not you read them on paper? In the street battle over books that happens toward the end of the novel, which side would you be on?
13. Los Angeles is a major city, but Larchmont is clearly a very defined neighborhood, with a small-town atmosphere. Are you surprised by that aspect of Los Angeles, and does it conflict with the way the city is normally portrayed in popular culture?
14. In addition to her deep love of books, Nina also loves all forms of popular culture, including movies and TV shows. Do you think that is common, or do most people prefer one over the other? Which do you prefer?