Show Us Your Books November 2020

November 10, 2020

Someday, some intrepid scholar doing her PhD dissertation on blogs in the early 2000s will find my blog and others like it and be shocked.

“With everything going on in 2020, people still chronicled the mundane details of life like … what they read?”

Yes, Xyliephun, we are still writing about what we read and what we ate and the dumb things we watch. Even when our country is torn up by politics. Even when over 230,000 Americans — the equivalent of the entire city of Baton Rouge and then some– has died from an unchecked pandemic. We are just very emotionally haggard while writing about our mundane lives.

photo of a planner layout from the bookish life of nina hill
A planner page from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

More on those topics later. Today, it’s what I’ve read this month. Which wasn’t very much.

Onto the books! I use the Goodreads rating system, which is:

  • One star: did not like it
  • Two stars: it was ok
  • Three stars: liked it
  • Four stars: really liked it
  • Five stars: it was amazing

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman — Nina Hill’s mother is a glamorous globetrotting photojournalist. She got pregnant, had the father (who was married at the time) sign away his rights, hired a nanny for Nina and kept on globetrotting. Nina is adorable, intelligent, and anxious. She works at a bookstore in LA and competes in bar trivia contests. One day, her life changes when a lawyer arrives and informs her that not only has her father died, but she has inherited a large, rich family. There’s also a romantic interest because of course. It’s completely unrealistic and very booksnobby but I enjoyed every page. Four stars, and I was especially tickled by Nina’s planner entries.

Also, this needs to be beamed into the brain of every author who creates a bookish character: NOT EVERY READER IS A HARRY POTTER FAN!!!! For the love of Pete can we stop treating that series like a secret handshake?

Nothing Like I Imagined by Mindy Kaling
I have always liked Mindy Kaling from her stint as Kelly on The Office. When I found out she wrote most of the episodes I loved the most, I fell harder. Mindy is smart, goofy, funny, awkward, and flawed. In October she released autobiographical essays. I preordered them all ($1.99 each) and then Amazon gave me a bunch of credit back because they were also part of Prime Library so I think these were close to free for me. This is all to say that I am very biased toward Mindy Kaling, much like I am about Elizabeth Gilbert’s fiction, Dave Matthews’s songwriting, and Cool Ranch Doritos.

Help is On the Way – Mindy is a single mom, and Mindy’s own mother died a few years back. This essay is about her relationship with Rose, the baby nurse one of her friends convinced her to hire after her daughter was born. It’s beautiful and touching. And yes, Mindy is rich and privileged and can hire help to take care of her children, but I’d rather her be candid about that then for her to pretend she’s doing it 100% solo. Five stars.

Kind of Hindu – Mindy is kind of Hindu way that I would culturally call myself Italian Catholic. Take the major holidays and food, leave the complex theology. But once her daughter was born, she had to make a decision as to how Hindu she wanted her daughter to be raised. Another five star rating from me.

Big Shot – Now that she’s truly a celebrity, Mindy decides to act the part by spending $2,000 to pay for another celebrity’s dinner. Except he never thanks her, which causes her to obsess on that detail and leads to awkward moments. Four stars. Again, I’d rather her write about being rich than pretend she’s not.

Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake – This is a straight-up funny essay. Mindy and her BFF BJ Novak decide to go out to eat one night while she is heavily pregnant. Hijinks ensue. I laughed out loud multiple times at her description of being very pregnant in the summer. Three stars.

Searching for Coach Taylor – Mindy’s ruminations on being single when everyone else seems to be coupled. Turns out, it’s not so bad, especially if you enjoy driving. Three stars.

Please Like Me [But Keep Away] — Mindy writes about the social anxiety that manifests from being different when you’re young, finding friends as an adult, and how being introverted pairs with being a celebrity. I know, I also think the whole “I’m an introvert!” line is overdone, but this to me is a more nuanced look at introversion when you don’t have the choice to never go out. Three stars.

Kindly, Goodreads counted each of these essays as entire book. Bless.

On a tangent, if anyone has figured out or has found a source on the best way to be leveraging Amazon Good on Kindle/Prime Day Delivery digital credits, drop it in the comments.

Currently reading: Ayesha at Last — I have been stuck at 30% for the last two weeks because I dislike everyone in it. If I’m reading a romcom I need one sympathetic character in books to keep me going — even if it’s not the main character — and I am not finding it. I might need to DNF and move on.

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

Other SUYB posts:

April | May

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October
February | March | Spring/Summer | September | October | November | Year-end review
January | February | March |April | June | July | August | December
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

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  • Jana @ Jana Says November 10, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Scream the Harry Potter sentiment from the rooftops! And I 100% co-sign it.

    I liked Nina Hill a lot. It was cute and exactly why I read Abbi Waxman’s books.

  • Heather November 10, 2020 at 11:40 am

    LOL I love it when an author assumes I love Harry Potter because I do, but I also totally get what you are saying and respect that opinion and agree it is overused for sure. Hahaha. I did NOT enjoy Ayesha at Last very much but hope it picks up for you.

  • Crystal Ward November 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Those both sound like fun reads! Confession: I stared at that planner page for a solid minute trying to figure out why it said “sex paperclips” before I realized that’s probably “get”.

  • SMD November 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Yes thank you from a Non-Potter fan. In an emotionally haggard state still trying to talk about mundane things like hating Harry Potter

  • Kristin November 10, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Nina Hill was one I didn’t like very much. I constantly felt like I was being yelled at, with the author’s writing style.

  • Shea November 11, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Oh bummer about Ayesha at Last! I really liked that one, but I do get it if everyone is annoying you. That would make me want to put it down too. I haven’t read The Bookish Life but it’s one that I think I would enjoy!

  • Anthea November 12, 2020 at 6:51 am

    The Bookish Life of Nina Hill sounds good – I always enjoy books set in a book shop or with a bookish theme.

  • ShootingStarsMag November 12, 2020 at 9:51 am

    I really loved Nina Hill. I’m an HP fan, but I get what you mean. It seems to permeate a lot of books.


  • Dara November 14, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    I think a lot of HP references will slowly disappear because of the new controversy with the author. Although I did love Nina Hill!

  • Morgan November 15, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I am also a big fan of Mindy Kaling! I generally dislike the idea of audio books, but I really wanted to hear Mindy read, so I’m listening to the audio version and pretending it’s a podcast, lol. She’s so funny!

  • Becki November 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    I think you’ve made The Bookish Life sound most like something I’d like to read. I’ve seen it mentioned, but your description made it sound like an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your month!