The Midnight Library
'Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

The Midnight Library Details

TitleThe Midnight Library
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 20th, 2020
PublisherCanongate
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Adult, Writing, Books About Books

The Midnight Library Review

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    "It is about a library between life and death, where a suicidal woman full of regret gets to try all her other lives she could have lived."SOOOOOOLD
  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    It is no secret that Matt Haig has mental health issues, dogged by the darkness of depression that has taken its toll on his life. His acute observations and experience of his condition informs this exquisite, inspiring, compassionate and empathetic novel where he creates the concept of the midnight library, to be found in the spaces between life and death, to explore life, the issues that afflict our world, through philosophy and more, endeavouring to tease out what might make life worth living It is no secret that Matt Haig has mental health issues, dogged by the darkness of depression that has taken its toll on his life. His acute observations and experience of his condition informs this exquisite, inspiring, compassionate and empathetic novel where he creates the concept of the midnight library, to be found in the spaces between life and death, to explore life, the issues that afflict our world, through philosophy and more, endeavouring to tease out what might make life worth living and a joy and what gives it meaning. The device used to implement his goal is the ordinary Nora Seed, who has lived her life trying to please others, who has hit rock bottom, suffering the loss of her cat, her job, overwhelmed by the burden of a lifetime of regrets, seeing no light in her life whatsoever. She is tempted by thoughts of suicide that has her ending up at the midnight library.The midnight library is magical, for a start, the library has a limitless number of books, and these books are far from ordinary, Haig sprinkles gold dust in each book, offering Nora the opportunity to see how her life would have turned out if each and every decision at every point in her life had been different. The books illustrate the endless possibilities that life holds for Nora and all of us. Nora explores each book, with inquisitiveness and curiosity, the widely disparate lives that could have been hers, no easy task as she has to slip into each new life with the complications of being unfamiliar with it and do so without alerting the other people present. It soon becomes clear that there are pros and cons to each book/life, to each decision and choice made, each life containing its own mix of despair, pain and regrets that must be accommodated and handled.Haig offers a touching narrative that speaks of the joys to be found in living, attained through Nora's eyes as she tries to untangle what really matters in life, putting life in context and perspective with all its ongoing changes, complexities, and an understanding no life is perfect in itself. In some ways, this is a version of It's A Wonderful Life, a favourite film for so many people. What I was so struck by is just how many readers might find this helpful for our lock down times, so many have suffered unbearable losses and illness, have had to face not seeing all those we love and mean so much to us, whilst being weighed down with worries and concerns about how to cope with fears regarding jobs, childcare, money and more. A beautifully nuanced novel that I am sure many will love as much as me. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Canongate for an ARC.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Between life and death there is a library ,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’ In a book that channels Friedrich Nietzsche, Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life, and even Doctor Who and his amazing Tardis, we get a schmaltzy feel-good lif ‘Between life and death there is a library ,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’ In a book that channels Friedrich Nietzsche, Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life, and even Doctor Who and his amazing Tardis, we get a schmaltzy feel-good life-affirming fable. Nietzsche expressed it as a question of what your response would be if a demon crept up to you and said you would live this same life innumerable times including every joy and pain, would you leap in joy or curse him to the end of eternity. Frank Capra's beloved Christmas movie starring Jimmy Stewart has us thinking about what life would be like without you and the things you accomplished or the differences you made without even realizing it. Matt Haig approaches the meaning of life more like Doctor Who trapped in a Tardis with no controls where you never know where you might end up. For Nora Seed, the library between life and death is such a vehicle that allows her to travel into parallel universes where life turned out differently because she made different choices along the way. Kind of like time travel, but not cause she stays in the same time zone just in different lives. There's a life where she becomes a rockstar, one where she is a scientist, one an Olympic athlete, etc, etc. just pick a different book and see where you end up.Only -- Haig's library of books is like a genie's three wishes. Well, you are not limited to three. There's an infinite number of books. But, your wishes just may not turn out how you think. Every path traveled leads somewhere, but maybe the grass isn't always greener and maybe things didn't turn out how you think they would. This is not a fantasy book for those seeking knights in armor, fell dragons, or magic sorcerers. There simply may not be enough action or enough excitement for some readers. It's a fable that uses the construct of an endless library to explore ideas. It's cleverly done and quite an easy read. And there's a sense of humor at work here cause each time Nora drops into an alternate life, she's got to try and figure out her new past and how her new life works without anyone being the wiser, not even a best friend or a new husband. It's quite a feat pretending to be one's self when one is not altogether familiar with one's new life. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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  • Virginie
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Haig... life/death... LIBRARY... This makes my day!
  • Evie Braithwaite
    January 1, 1970
    Nora Seed has hit an all-time low. After losing her cat, her job, and is full of regret, she takes her own life. However, she suddenly finds herself in the Midnight Library – a point between life and death – and learns that she has an opportunity to live as if she had done things differently. She had felt like she had let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.“Because, Nora, sometimes the only way to learn is to live.”The concept of ‘The Midnight Library’ is wonderful, Nora Seed has hit an all-time low. After losing her cat, her job, and is full of regret, she takes her own life. However, she suddenly finds herself in the Midnight Library – a point between life and death – and learns that she has an opportunity to live as if she had done things differently. She had felt like she had let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.“Because, Nora, sometimes the only way to learn is to live.”The concept of ‘The Midnight Library’ is wonderful, and Haig executes it brilliantly. How different could life be if we made another choice? How could one decision change the lives of the people around us? And, is there any such thing as a perfect life? In one life Nora is an internationally famous rock star. In another, she works as a scientist in sub-zero temperatures in the Norwegian archipelago. She is an Olympic athlete, a vegan powerlifter, rich, poor: the possibilities are infinite. Throughout it all, Haig seamlessly interjects magic into the most prosaic of details. Furthermore, in his bestselling memoir ‘Reasons to Stay Alive‘, Haig chronicled the personal anxiety and depression he experienced which lead him to consider taking his own life. In ‘The Midnight Library’, he is just as unflinching in his depiction of depression. He seamlessly articulates how debilitating it can be, how it can feel like you’re stuck in a black hole. And yet, his writing never feels dismal. Rather, he counterbalances sombre moments with a hopeful tone and a touch of humour. While sometimes Nora’s monologues were repetitive, the meaning was clear: even when you feel like you’re trapped, there is always a way out of the darkness.There’s so much more to unpack in this book. From ideas around climate change and the connection between ourselves and the world to familial relationships, fame, and the nature of happiness. Matt Haig tackles so many themes with such grace: a reminder to live life to the fullest and appreciate every moment, even the hard ones. As Nora tries on the many shoes of her infinite lives, we see how making space for regrets is one step towards softening their hold over us. We can have regrets without being their prisoner.Overall, ‘The Midnight Library’ is a truly inspiring story that, yes, is full of hurt and despair, but also love and transformation. Haig eloquently articulates the consuming nature of depression for those who find that words escape them. As with ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, I’m so grateful for this book and vouch that everyone should read it. The only way to learn is to live.Thank you Matt Haig, Canongate Books, and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review!4.5/5 stars rounded up to 5
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Haig's latest offering is a quirky, melancholy yet life affirming tale of regret for the roads not taken, a "what if" scenario that will speak in its own way to every one of us. After all we all wonder, don't we, what our lives might look like now if we'd turned left instead of right...if this thing had happened but not that thing...Caught between life and death, main protagonist Nora finds herself in a vast library, the books here are stories of her life not lived. Guided by the librarian, Matt Haig's latest offering is a quirky, melancholy yet life affirming tale of regret for the roads not taken, a "what if" scenario that will speak in its own way to every one of us. After all we all wonder, don't we, what our lives might look like now if we'd turned left instead of right...if this thing had happened but not that thing...Caught between life and death, main protagonist Nora finds herself in a vast library, the books here are stories of her life not lived. Guided by the librarian, who reflects a part of her past, Nora tries on some of those lives for size, a process that changes her understanding of her life in many many ways..The Midnight Library is kind of "It's A Wonderful Life" for the modern age, written with the deep insight into certain aspects of the human condition that Matt Haig is known for, beautifully crafted and offering the reader many thought provoking idea's. It's a novel you will drift off with into thoughts of your own life decisions, whilst constantly being brought back to Nora and hers.What does a happy ending look like? Well that's the thing. It can look like many many things.The Midnight Library is beautiful. I loved every minute of it. Highly recommended.
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  • NAT.orious reads ☽
    January 1, 1970
    If you've put together the 3 determinants of this story - its author, the library settings and the themes of infinite alternative lives determined by the choices we make - and are not absolutely hyped about this you better go face the corner and think real hard.
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  • Micah
    January 1, 1970
    So good! It really put some stuff into perspective for me. A beautiful book that teaches you that you're never stuck in life.
  • SueLucie
    January 1, 1970
    This is a life-affirming novel of the first order, as I knew it would be, written as it is by Matt Haig. Nora is at the lowest point she could be, not just contemplating giving up with life but starting the process …. until she wakes up in the Midnight Library. Here she can think about her life so far, what she regrets doing and what she regrets not doing, and go back to see where different choices would have taken her. All sorts of different paths to follow, some she immediately realises would This is a life-affirming novel of the first order, as I knew it would be, written as it is by Matt Haig. Nora is at the lowest point she could be, not just contemplating giving up with life but starting the process …. until she wakes up in the Midnight Library. Here she can think about her life so far, what she regrets doing and what she regrets not doing, and go back to see where different choices would have taken her. All sorts of different paths to follow, some she immediately realises would be bad, one or two enjoyable enough but are they perfect? What makes this book so interesting is that in the enjoyable other lives there have been sacrifices, mostly in terms of what her choices have meant for other people’s lives, and there we have Nora’s dilemma.I enjoyed this very much, it is a quick and absorbing read, thought-provoking for everyone I would guess. Fast-paced and with some interesting but not overly heavy philosophical references. Highly recommended.With thanks to Canongate via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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  • Alyssa McNaughton
    January 1, 1970
    (Some spoilers)I am in absolute awe. It has elements of fictitious wonders like the film, About Time but truths every single human soul can relate to in what Haig brings out through his writing. Wish I could give this more than 5 stars, truly. & I very selfishly can only hope the final publication includes an epilogue!! (With Ash & Molly, oh please!!) I graciously received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (Some spoilers)I am in absolute awe. It has elements of fictitious wonders like the film, About Time but truths every single human soul can relate to in what Haig brings out through his writing. Wish I could give this more than 5 stars, truly. & I very selfishly can only hope the final publication includes an epilogue!! (With Ash & Molly, oh please!!) I graciously received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
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  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    I totally loved this book. If only we all could readress our regrets and see how they would have worked out as you can in the Midnight Library. However maybe we need to take more notice of all the small things we take for granted. A book for anyone who has suffered or is suffering from doubts or depression. Totally readable and a real rollercoaster of emotions. Get ready to try and rethink your life.
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  • Iryna *Book and Sword*
    January 1, 1970
    A cover!!! Cannot wait for this.
  • what.heather.loves
    January 1, 1970
    "'Between life and death there is a library,' she said. 'And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices...Woukd you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'"Nora Seed is unhappy, living her ordinary life of regrets with beloved cat Voltaire, in Bedford, England. Miserable, having fallen out with brother Joe and feeling s "'Between life and death there is a library,' she said. 'And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices...Woukd you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?'"Nora Seed is unhappy, living her ordinary life of regrets with beloved cat Voltaire, in Bedford, England. Miserable, having fallen out with brother Joe and feeling she has let everyone down, she decides enough is enough and she no longer has any reason to live.She finds herself I. This mysterious in The Midnight Library, where her old school librarian, Mrs Elm, is there to guide her way. Will it give her the chance to put things right and live a life free of regrets?Ensconcing and magical science fiction, I fell in love with this book within a few pages. It reminded me a little of The Charmed Life of Alex Moore by Molly Flatt in its examination of life and its many potential meanings. Nora is relatable and engaging. Short chapters kept this nice and pacy and I read it quickly to find out the fate of Nora and The Midnight Library. Splendid escapism, shot with optimistic realism about the importance of perception. This is a truly beautiful and inspiring book.I read this digital ARC courtesy of Canongate Books and Net Galley. It will be published in the UK in August.
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  • Siobhán
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*CW: suicide, depression, death etc.I wasn't a huge Matt Haig fan before, so this review is not biased, rather this book had to work really hard to convince me. It's about Nora, whose cat just died, who has just lost her job, who is estranged from her brother and who is depressed, full of regrets for missed opportunities and suicidal. When she overdoses, she does not die though. She comes to "The Midnight *I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*CW: suicide, depression, death etc.I wasn't a huge Matt Haig fan before, so this review is not biased, rather this book had to work really hard to convince me. It's about Nora, whose cat just died, who has just lost her job, who is estranged from her brother and who is depressed, full of regrets for missed opportunities and suicidal. When she overdoses, she does not die though. She comes to "The Midnight Library", where the former librarian from her school days, Mrs Elm, informs her that she is currently in limbo & can try out different lives in order to decide whether she'd like to keep on living. So she tries out different lives: as a rockstar, as a glaciologist, as a mother, as a former Olympic swimmer...As you can see, the outline of the novel is fairly simple and albeit well crafted, the construction of it shows. A lot. This annoyed me at first, because I thought I'd be be able to predict the outcome of the novel (I was right) and that I wouldn't fall for the narrative (I did). The nice thing about this book isn't really the content (and Nora is very privileged to have been able to achieve everything in these infinite parallel universes), but about the message: Life is always worth living and there are always ways to make it better for you and others. Also: constant happiness is a myth, nobody is happy all the time, nobody. And we shouldn't strive to reach other people's dreams. (And that was also one outcome I had anticipated, but the novel really made me feel it!)Wholesome, interesting, philosophical (as a person with a Master's degree in Philosophy I loved how philosophers were used in the narrative and, random but fun fact, I always wanted to name my future potential dog Plato, what are the odds?) and fast paced, a nice thought experiment which didn't surprise me at all though. But it's nice to be taken back to square one and declutter your ideas concerning life.4,5 Stars
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  • PaleHorsemen
    January 1, 1970
    The most wonderful and profound book!
  • Jay
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars.What an interesting read - it's basically a fictionalised self-help book, and I don't think I've ever read anything like that before! I've heard great things about Matt Haig's writing and have been meaning to read something of his for a really long time. I follow him on Twitter and he's just the most wholesome person ever, very open about his own mental health struggles and extremely supportive of everyone else's journey.I remember spotting The Midnight Library on a list of forthcoming b 4 stars.What an interesting read - it's basically a fictionalised self-help book, and I don't think I've ever read anything like that before! I've heard great things about Matt Haig's writing and have been meaning to read something of his for a really long time. I follow him on Twitter and he's just the most wholesome person ever, very open about his own mental health struggles and extremely supportive of everyone else's journey.I remember spotting The Midnight Library on a list of forthcoming books and I completely fell in love with the concept: a woman finding herself in a mysterious library between life and death where she is able to experience an infinite amount of parallel lives. I'm also a massive fan of Groundhog Day type stories like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and The First Time Lauren Pailing Died so this seemed absolutely perfect for me. I really enjoyed Nora's journey through her parallel lives and the lessons she had to learn one way or another. My heart broke for her so many times! I know it's cheesy to say things like "what IS happiness?" but this book really makes you wonder. Is it money, love, family, fame, a good career; is it a mixture of these? Is it even possible to have it all or must I wholeheartedly commit to just one? What about the fact that everyone is constantly changing, and what was important to me today might be an afterthought tomorrow? How can I commit to just one thing when there's a possibility I'd regret not going with something else 5 years down the line with the gift (or curse) of hindsight? But would I even be at that exact spot in 5 years' time if I'd gone with another option? And what if I do "try to have it all" by putting a bit of effort into a lot of different things and missing out on huge potential in an area that simply needed my full attention???Minor existential crisis mid-read but I made it to the end!There were two things that slightly let it down for me, but only half a star each.1) The frequent and slightly drawn out inspirational writing. It was a little repetitive to see Nora make the same speech over and over again about regret, making the best of what we have, other people's expectations, etc and she really didn't have anything particularly new to say. I kind of skimmed these parts by the end. She'd talk about it in a speech, in an interview, in her book, in her inner musings, she'd even hear it from Mrs Elms... it was a little too much for me. I think some of Haig's smaller sprinklings of wisdom were punchier and Nora's experiences were enough to get the message through to the reader. 2) Names. Good dialogue that flows well and sounds realistic is so very important when you're trying to immerse yourself in a story, which is why I felt sad when Haig occasionally overused names in dialogue. Example:'Bloody hell, Dan.'*4 lines of description*'Is this what you imagined? Is the dream working out?''Nora, let's not do this heavy shit. Just get to bloody bed.''Are you happy, Dan?''No one's happy, Nora.'Other than these, I really enjoyed The Midnight Library and found myself wondering about what lives I'd try to experience if given the chance. It's definitely going to stay with me :)Thank you to NetGalley and Canongate for the lovely ARC, I'm grateful as always!!
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued from the moment Matt Haig posted about his newest book on Instagram. I was not disappointed! Nora, a woman for whom nothing seems to be going right, decides to die by suicide. Before she can fully accomplish this end, she is thrust into the Midnight Library where she has the chance to experience the endless permutations of what her life could have been like if different decisions were made. Think about any regret you have, from the smallest to the largest. Then imagine getting a I was intrigued from the moment Matt Haig posted about his newest book on Instagram. I was not disappointed! Nora, a woman for whom nothing seems to be going right, decides to die by suicide. Before she can fully accomplish this end, she is thrust into the Midnight Library where she has the chance to experience the endless permutations of what her life could have been like if different decisions were made. Think about any regret you have, from the smallest to the largest. Then imagine getting a chance to live your life over as if you'd chosen differently. That's the Midnight Library.Haig has some beautiful writing in here. From observations about humanity ("Nora wanted to live in a world where no cruelty existed, but the only worlds she had available to her were worlds with humans in them.") to thoughts about disappointment, tragedy, betterment, and hope. While sometimes her monologues went on too long or were repetitive, the meaning was clear.My review might be a bit biased because my brain is comparing it to Oona Out of Order since that was the last book I read and also had a version of time travel. Where I wish I could read another book full of Oona's years, I am content with how much of Nora's life I was allowed to see. I think I just connected with Oona more and that is in no way a fault of this book. It is very good and composed in its own right.This book might help some people let go of their regrets; it certainly got those ideas rising in me. Sometimes, things are just the way they are and the best you can do is control your next choice. Recommended read for anyone familiar with Haig's work, contemporary fiction, or depression and mental illness with a dash of whimsy. Also, another A+ cover!Thank you to Penguin Group Viking and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could give more than five stars!~If you’re also enamored with Matt Haig’s writing, then this is a story you didn’t even know you were waiting for. Imagine a fictional blend of Reasons To Stay Alive with his imaginative writings from How to Stay Alive!Nora’s journey is honest and unexpected, and far more than I initially imagined. Plus, beyond simply enjoying how the story unfolds, it had a a resounding conclusion too!We need powerful imagination like this- especially today; stories that I wish I could give more than five stars!~If you’re also enamored with Matt Haig’s writing, then this is a story you didn’t even know you were waiting for. Imagine a fictional blend of Reasons To Stay Alive with his imaginative writings from How to Stay Alive!Nora’s journey is honest and unexpected, and far more than I initially imagined. Plus, beyond simply enjoying how the story unfolds, it had a a resounding conclusion too!We need powerful imagination like this- especially today; stories that can not only take you out of our crazy reality – but transform you into something such new and effective!!Galley borrowed from the publisher.
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  • Alexandra
    January 1, 1970
    No rating yet, this comes out in 2020, the idea sounds excellent.
  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: The Midnight LibraryAuthor: Matt HaigPublisher: PENGUIN Group/VikingPublication Date: September 29, 2020Review Date: June 13, 2020I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb:Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything dif Book Review: The Midnight LibraryAuthor: Matt HaigPublisher: PENGUIN Group/VikingPublication Date: September 29, 2020Review Date: June 13, 2020I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb:Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?' A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.”Wow! This was an absolutely gorgeous and very profound book. One of those books that I highlighted sentence after section on my Kindle. The character of Nora Seed and others were well portrayed, and the figure of the Midnight Library was totally fascinating to me. The plot arc moved perfectly. What was so incredible about this book, is not only was it something of a mystery/thriller, it was also profoundly philosophical about life and death. And at the core, the regrets we all carry made me think hard about my life and a tendency toward regrets about what I have and have not done. I realized that I look back on places and times in my life with great nostalgia, but remembered that in actuality I was quite miserable during many of those times. Something to ponder. So 5+ Stars for this book. Highly, highly recommended. I googled Matt Haig and saw that he is a very well-known and prolific writer. I was lucky to be able to get a few more of his books from my library.Thank you to PENGUIN/Viking for giving me early access to this great book, and best of luck to Matt Haig in his literary career.This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon. #netgalley #themidnightlibrary #penguinviking #matthaig
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  • Wendy Kuzma
    January 1, 1970
    I was given early access to this title through NetGalley . First of all, I want to say that I loved this book! I was so drawn in by the story line that I finished it in a day. This book is the story of a British woman named Nora who is struggling with depression. Early on in life, Nora seemed to have so much potential. She was on track as a young teen to be an Olympic swimmer. When she decided to give that up due to the associated pressures, she took up piano. She and her brother started a band I was given early access to this title through NetGalley . First of all, I want to say that I loved this book! I was so drawn in by the story line that I finished it in a day. This book is the story of a British woman named Nora who is struggling with depression. Early on in life, Nora seemed to have so much potential. She was on track as a young teen to be an Olympic swimmer. When she decided to give that up due to the associated pressures, she took up piano. She and her brother started a band but just as the band was starting to experience success and was offered a recording contract, she quit. Two days before she was supposed to get married, she called off the wedding. In the few months previous to the start of this story, her mother passed away. When Nora's cat dies, her depression overcomes her, and she decides she does not want to live anymore. She takes an overdose of her anti-depressants and when she awakes, she finds herself in a seemingly endless library. The only other person in the library is her former school librarian, Mrs. Elm, who had always taken a special interest in Nora. She tells Nora that all of the books in the library are the infinite lives Nora could have lived based on different choices Nora could have made. This library is a place between life and death where Nora can choose to look back on her regrets and see how her life would have been if she had pursued other paths in life. If she decides she wants to live and finds a path that would ultimately make her happy she could choose to stay in that version of her life. This book was very thought-provoking and relatable. How many of us have wondered how life would have been different if we had made different choices along the way or thought that we would surely be happier if only we had (fill in the blank)? Having the chance to erase regrets is certainly a tempting topic to explore. As I was reading and really enjoying the story, I knew that the ending of the story would be crucial to my ultimate rating of this book. I am happy to say that it did not disappoint!
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  • BookgirlonGoodreads
    January 1, 1970
    The Midnight Library is an intriguing story about the choices we make, our perception of our lives and our choices, and regrets. It begins on a dark note, and we are told the character we are first introduced to, Nora, has decided to kill herself. What follows is a countdown of the events that lead her to this decision over the course of a week, but really her regrets and sadness go back much further. Then, Nora is given a chance to start over in the Midnight Library, and can see how her life wo The Midnight Library is an intriguing story about the choices we make, our perception of our lives and our choices, and regrets. It begins on a dark note, and we are told the character we are first introduced to, Nora, has decided to kill herself. What follows is a countdown of the events that lead her to this decision over the course of a week, but really her regrets and sadness go back much further. Then, Nora is given a chance to start over in the Midnight Library, and can see how her life would have turned out had she made different choices. The lives she can sample are infinite, as choices are also infinite. Nora goes on a remarkable journey of self discovery as she "tries on" different lives.As always, Matt Haig writes about depression with clarity. He has a knack for breaking mental illness down in a way that is easy for anyone to understand, but this book does not focus all that much on depression despite the fact that Nora is initially depressed and suicidal. Rather, the book's focus is much more philosophical in nature, and allows the reader to consider his or her own life choices, and how these help define our lives as much as our personalities do. This is a unique and lovely book.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Being a realist, I do not normally like fantasy books. The description piqued my interest and once I got into the story I really enjoyed it. Nora has depression and this book begins with a day in her life where everything that can possibly go wrong has gone wrong . She decides that enough is enough and takes an overdose. The next part of the book explores lives that could have happened if she had made different decisions at different times in her life. Very thought provoking and it gets you thin Being a realist, I do not normally like fantasy books. The description piqued my interest and once I got into the story I really enjoyed it. Nora has depression and this book begins with a day in her life where everything that can possibly go wrong has gone wrong . She decides that enough is enough and takes an overdose. The next part of the book explores lives that could have happened if she had made different decisions at different times in her life. Very thought provoking and it gets you thinking about crossroads and what-ifs in your own life. No spoilers here, but what does emerge is why we choose to follow a particular path, is it for ourself or for others ? I loved the descriptions of the surroundings and Nora's feelings about being almost an outsider looking into an alternative existence . This is a fantasy book for a realist ! Although the idea is a bit far-fetched, it is written in a totally believable way Thank you to Net Galley for an interesting read in exchange for an honest review and To the publisher and Matt Haig for an interesting read
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  • Elise
    January 1, 1970
    “Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”The Midnight Library is a poignant reminder of how fragile human life can be. A story that makes you question what you wish you’d done differently and think about how your life might have turned out if you had. Would you be happy? Fulfilled? Would things have turned out better?Nora’s journey was painful but beautiful. A journey that I believe a lot of people will relate to and I certainly did. Matt Haig showed u “Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”The Midnight Library is a poignant reminder of how fragile human life can be. A story that makes you question what you wish you’d done differently and think about how your life might have turned out if you had. Would you be happy? Fulfilled? Would things have turned out better?Nora’s journey was painful but beautiful. A journey that I believe a lot of people will relate to and I certainly did. Matt Haig showed us all of the dark but also, the light that can be experience in one’s life.Human life is beautiful and something to be cherished. This book just made me appreciate that a whole lot more.I don’t believe my words will ever be able to do this book any justice. It’s something everyone should experience for themselves.Thank you so much to Canongate, NetGalley and most importantly, Matt Haig for the pleasure of receiving this e-ARC.
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  • Vix Standen
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been a long time since I finished a book and immediately wanted to go back to the beginning so I could start again. This was my first Matt Haig book, and it did not disappoint. It perfectly encapsulates the feeling of hopelessness that can come from feeling sad or low all. of. the. time., and the journey that this sadness can take you on.
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    Thought-provoking with Matt Haig's signiture observation of life. Quotes which will stay with you. A really amazing idea.
  • Meagan (she/her)
    January 1, 1970
    This was just what I needed: a reminder to live fully and appreciate every moment, even the hard ones. The Midnight Library is the best book I’ve read this year.
  • Angelina
    January 1, 1970
    First off let me say that I read this book in a day. I don’t usually do that. This book was extremely well done and beautiful and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book for anybody who is suffering through depression or anyone who is going through a hard time. This book should be a must read for them. I myself do not suffer through that however I know people that do so this book really got to me. Please, if you know somebody suffering through depression then give them this book to read. Thi First off let me say that I read this book in a day. I don’t usually do that. This book was extremely well done and beautiful and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book for anybody who is suffering through depression or anyone who is going through a hard time. This book should be a must read for them. I myself do not suffer through that however I know people that do so this book really got to me. Please, if you know somebody suffering through depression then give them this book to read. This book is not written by some trained professional in the medical field. This book will not treat or diagnose. It is not clinical. It will, however, force you to change your perspective on life. It will show you that things are not always as they seem, that the grass is not always greener, and maybe things are not always as bad as you think. I am simply recommending it because it is a beautiful, magical, heartbreaking, heartfelt, and well written novel that provides HOPE! And we can all use a little hope.
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  • Ithil
    January 1, 1970
    TW: suicide, attempt of suicide, self harm scars, alcoholism. I'm not quite sure what my feelings are for this one.I liked the plot and it was a good enough read, however I do consider I have to think about it. I'm not quite sure yet how I feel regarding the moral of the story.
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  • Robyn
    January 1, 1970
    Some books just speak to you. They seem to access a part of your soul that you weren't even aware of; that you didn't even know you needed. This is one such book. I've read other books by Matt Haig but none have affected me in the way that this did. I'm speechless. Everyone should read this. Everyone needs this magic in their lives.This is a book about life, in all of its messy perfection. It's a fantasy novel, in a way, but it's also more real than most contemporaries. It's almost impossible to Some books just speak to you. They seem to access a part of your soul that you weren't even aware of; that you didn't even know you needed. This is one such book. I've read other books by Matt Haig but none have affected me in the way that this did. I'm speechless. Everyone should read this. Everyone needs this magic in their lives.This is a book about life, in all of its messy perfection. It's a fantasy novel, in a way, but it's also more real than most contemporaries. It's almost impossible to review because it's impossible to capture the feeling that it gives you. I've rarely read a book and felt so profoundly moved."We don't have to do everything in order to be everything, because we are already infinite."'The Midnight Library' is an in-between place, somewhere between life and death. The protagonist, Nora, wants to die. Her life has gone in a completely unexpected direction and she no longer has the will to keep herself alive. But instead of dying, she finds herself in a library of endless possibilities - a library where she can live out every other possible life, all the lives that could have happened if she made different choices, from the large to the small. As she explores all of her other lives, Nora comes to profound realisations about her own - and what it means to be alive.There are no perfect things in life, so of course this isn't a perfect book. But it comes close to. I encourage everyone to read this book - read it, and seek joy in the small moments that make up humanity."It takes no effort to miss the friends we didn't make and the work we didn't do and the people we didn't marry and the children we didn't have... but it is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself."*Thanks to Canongate and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC - this in no way affects my rating or the content of this review*
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