Cover Image: The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library

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Member Reviews

Between life and death there is a library, and that library is filled with books that offer a chance to experience another life you might have lived. If you experienced this library, would you do anything different with your life? Would you make peace with your regrets? THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY’s main character, Nora, finds herself in the library contemplating these questions. From experiencing a new career and different relationships, and by becoming the glaciologist she always wanted to be, Nora must decide what she really wants out of her life and what makes it worth living. 

I was intrigued by this book for two reasons: 1) library as a setting and, 2) Matt Haig. Having read REASONS TO STAY ALIVE and NOTES ON A NERVOUS PLANET, I learned that Haig has achieved some level of enlightenment and his books are filled with wisdom and meaningful insights. That, and I knew his experiences with mental illness would inform the development of Nora, who spends much of the book wanting to die. 

I found this book a bit depressing and more dark than I anticipated. While the overall life lessons and underlying themes and messages I got from the book were rewarding, the stories accompanying all of Nora’s different lives just didn’t do it for me. I think the plot was ambitious, but something about it didn’t make it as profound as I think it could have been. I found myself counting how many pages were left on several occasions and it turned out to be one of those books you read that you’re not going to remember much about and won’t put high up on the list of books to recommend. 

If you’re a Matt Haig fan, you’ll likely be content with this read. But if this is the first Haig book you’re reading, you might not get the opportunity to appreciate how great Haig really is. 

*ARC provided by Penguin Group Viking via NetGalley.
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Gosh, I just really love Matt Haig. I feel like every time I pick up a book he's written, I can't tear through it fast enough--in the best way. Haig understands what it means to be human, to grapple with anxiety and depression, and what truly brings us joy and gives life meaning. 

I really enjoyed this dream-like novel.. Haven't we all, in one way or another, wished for Nora Seed's gift of seeing how our different parallel lives would pan out? What would happen if we'd woken up five minutes earlier on one day, or chosen a different spouse, or went to a different college? If we could, would we choose a different path after all?

I loved the juxtaposition of mundanity and fantastical and found the Midnight Library premise satisfying. The themes in this novel are those I like to explore in my own writing, and I think Haig's constructs here are beautiful. If you found Life After Life too much of a slog, or have ever wanted to reading Sliding Doors in novel form, I think you'll find this title a gem.
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What would you do if you had the opportunity to change your life? If you could go back in time and make different decisions about your life’s choices? Would you do it? When Nora makes the decision that life is too hard to continue living, she ends up in the Midnight Library. With the help of her former childhood librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora is given the opportunity to change the choices she regrets and live out different lives. But is another life worth living? How do simple choices make such drastic changes to our lives? With her time running short, Nora must choose between a life in the real world, or entering the afterlife. 
The Midnight Library is an interesting take on time travel. Nora has many regrets in her life from letting down friends and family, to not standing up for herself as often as she should. It’s through this lens that Nora tries many different takes on her life from living in different parts of the world, drastically different careers, to marrying different people. It is only when she finds true happiness will she stay within one of her new lives and yet, even when she feels happy “enough,” Nora finds herself slipping back to the Library in search of trying a new life. 
Nora is a complicated character written with a lot of depth. Dealing with anxiety has caused her to give up on dreams that seemed too overwhelming, even when she was excelling. Wanting to please others left her unable to see her own unhappiness and left her feeling unfilled. Even when Nora finds herself living a life free of anxiety, she finds herself conflicted about the choices made in that life and unhappy. As Nora travels to more and more of her other lives, she becomes increasingly confused about what she wants instead of more focused. 
I loved the character of Mrs. Elm. She was a wonderfully grumpy librarian who was both a real figure in Nora’s life, and her guide in the Midnight Library. The entire concept of the Library was what drew me to this book. To envision your life as countless different stories all inspired by each individual decision is fascinating. Now a book of regrets, that I can do without. 
The Midnight Library is a unique and intriguing story that captivated me from the very first page. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.
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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig was a pleasant surprise. Nora, finding herself on the edge of life and death, living a life full of regrets, she finds herself in the Midnight Library with her former elementary librarian, Mrs. Elm. In this library all the books contain glimpses of lives she could have lived depending on choices she made and all she needed to do was select a book and her life would change, 

The Midnight Library was a fun and thought provoking read and I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to preview this book.
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In The Midnight Library, our protagonist, Nora Seed, is guided by her kind childhood librarian as she reluctantly seizes the opportunity to undo her regrets, make different choices, and try out different lives as easily as opening the cover of a book. This novel about a depressed woman who ends up in a library that occupies the space between life and death sounded right up my alley. I adore every Matt Haig book that I've read and thus came to The Midnight Library with very high expectations. While an interesting read, it didn't quite live up to Haig's other books, such as the enchanting How to Stop Time. This title never reached such depth of feeling, nor did I develop a strong connection to Nora. Pick it up when you want a relatively light and cozy read that is gently thought-provoking.
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An interesting exploration of how choices, big and small, affect the outcome of your life. While I enjoyed this one, something about it left me wanting. No spoilers, but the ending felt rushed and too obvious, a little too trite. I did appreciate some of the larger messages it discussed, but was ultimately left unsatisfied. Books that play with time are always intriguing to me, and so I found that aspect of it highly entertaining. I'd still recommend it, especially to fans of Haig, but would temper my expectations.
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What is not to love about a midnight library full of magic books and a knowledgeable librarian to guide you?  I loved how this book was not focused on "finding the fairy tale ending" but rather the focus was on eliminating her regrets in life.  By working on one regret at a time, Nora was able to work through many of the less than ideal decisions she had made that led her to wishing to end her life.  It was a great twist on time travel, and I felt very attached to Nora's character by the end of the book.  A fun read that was also packed with meaning on how to find the joy in your life.
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The premise for this story immediately caught me. A 35-year-old woman, wracked with regret and depression, kills herself and finds herself in a mystical library in which all the books are the infinite other lives she could have lived. Brilliant. The sort of thing that's so good it almost feels obvious- how has this book not already been written? The writing style is casual and simple. The story is engaging. I was pleased with the ending.

Slightly detracting from my overall enjoyment, the book really skirts around the darkness of the subject matter. It never REALLY grapples with the heaviness of suicide and depression. And I never REALLY felt like I knew the main character, Nora. I knew her story and a list of her likes and interests, but never had a real feel for her personality.

Overall, I enjoyed it more than not.
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Good premise. Great storytelling. Relatable character, whose development made sense. Very thought-provoking. Good for book clubs.
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The Midnight Library is an engaging, fun story that questions the meaning of regret and posits the connections between people as more important that external measures of success. It reads quickly and despite themes of grief and suicide, is actually an uplifting story about what really matters. I would recommend it to anyone needing a lift and as a good "quarantine read" for someone looking for something relatively light and quick. The notion of a library of possible lives, of roads not taken and of dreams not followed, is also beguiling.
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I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. On the one hand, I adored the premise of a library (and grumpy librarian!) that has the power to send you into your past. On the other, the light—and almost comical—touch the author took with suicide was disconcerting. I'll keep pondering, but it's that last factor that may keep me from giving an unqualified recommendation to readers.
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I always enjoy reading Matt Haig's books and this is no exception!  The cover is inviting, the writing is wonderful and the storyline truly inventive.  What a lovely treat to enjoy while quarantined!
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I received this book as an ARC from

First line: Nineteen years before she decided to die, Nora Seed sat in the warmth of the small library at Hazeldene School in the town of Bedford.

Summary: Nora Seed commits suicide, but instead of entering the afterlife, she enters the Midnight Library where she is granted the ability to visit an infinite possible lives based on decisions she didn't, but could have made.

My Thoughts: This book was wild! The plot line was just genius and made for such an enjoyable read. Nora went through the gamut of emotions as she navigated through a series of alternate lives that force her to realize that she does want to live. Her struggle to find what truly makes herself happy resonated so loudly with me. I needed this book right now.

FYI: Big trigger warning. There is a suicide attempt made by the main character.
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Somewhere out in the universe is a library where a person hovers between life and death.  This library contains an infinite number of books where a person can choose between the life they are now living or a life with different choices.  Nora Seed finds herself in this library and chooses to make different decisions that she has made in the past.  She explores her life with a different husband, her dream to become an Olympic swimmer and to live and explore the Arctic circle.  All of us would find this book interesting and maybe even want to visit this library and make different choices for ourselves.  Great, unusual book!
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This was one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I learned. 
The Midnight Library has something everyone can relate to. We all have regrets, images of what life could be. Nora Seed, is not by any means enjoying the life she is living. Everything that could go wrong... has. 
While it seems any hint hope has disappeared, Nora opens her eyes in the Midnight Library. From there she embarks on the journey to see who she could've been and could be. 
 There are so many valuable lessons in this book for not only Nora, but the reader. I highly reccomend!
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I really liked this book! More than I anticipated. The main character, disappointed with her life, chooses her exit. Only her exit leads to infinite possibilities with regard to choices and regrets. This story was mesmerizing in how it explored her possibilities and their possible outcomes, both positive and negative. It was a satisfying ending that did not leave you hanging. 5 Stars!
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This book was received as an ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Viking in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Ever since I read How to Stop Time, I have become a fan of Matt Haig's work and I absolutely loved The Midnight Library. I fell in love with the concept of everyone has a different life story and how their lives would have turned out if a series of events were to change. I got too excited throughout the book and was so overjoyed with the plot. I could not stop reading the entire book and just loved every page and every chapter that existed.  I can't wait to share this book with our library community.

We will consider adding this title to our Adult Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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I chose this book to read based entirely on the title and cover, knowing nothing about it.  About halfway through, I realized that I have been following the author on Twitter for the past year, and enjoying his candidness on discussing mental health.

Just to get this out of the way- I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  Anyways, this book surprised me- at certain points, the critic in me assumed that the author was going to have something contrived happen to Nora, the protagonist of the story.  I was pleased to be wrong each time, and the ending was a proper ending that Nora deserved.

I won’t give any spoilers.  I will say that the author’s knowledge of mental health and suicide helped to make this book more interesting and more sensitive.  A quick read with a heavy storyline that you can devour.
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This book has such a unique concept. I was happily surprised by the ending too! It may be that “human lives are no greater than those of oysters,” but each one is unique and beautiful.
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I found this to be similar to the authors previous book but it was a very thought provoking read about examining ones life choices and finding meaning in the little things.
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