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16 / 30 books. 53% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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90 / 165 books. 55% done!
Saturday, January 09, 2021

The Midnight Library Full of Tantalizing Possibility

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

One of the things I love about libraries is that they're full of possibility.  There are literally millions of stories sitting on the shelves, just waiting to be told.  You might walk in having a vague idea of what you want to read, but you could walk out with something totally different.  The best part is you don't have to limit yourself to only one or two stories—you can experience them all!

Imagine a library with that kind of power, except every book on its shelves stars one person:  you.  Each represents a life you are living in a parallel universe, one in which you made different choices than those you picked in your root life.  You can hop in and out of these volumes to find the story that suits you best.  With endless possibilities, which life would you choose?

This is the premise behind The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.  The story revolves around Nora Seed, a 35-year-old who has just lost her long-time dead-end job as well as her beloved cat.  After realizing that these are her only real connections in a world where she's always felt superfluous, she decides to take her own life.  Instead of ending up in heaven or hell, however, she finds herself in an in-between place called The Midnight Library.  Here, she has the ability to try on her different lives to find one that feels more comfortable, more satisfying than her root life.  As Nora tries these variations on for size—experiencing versions that are glamorous, successful, adventurous, terrifying, humdrum, disappointing, surprising, etc.—she begins to wonder if any life is really worth living.  When her strange library starts to crumble, she must decide whether to live or die.  

With that kind of premise, how could I not be drawn into The Midnight Library?  It's a fascinating seed from which to grow a compelling story.  The novel definitely tells an interesting tale, one which is both entertaining and thought-provoking.  It explores some intriguing concepts:  potential and perspective, regrets and resolutions, choice and possibility.  Still, I didn't end up absolutely loving The Midnight Library, but I did like it.  It's a unique, life-affirming read that kept me turning pages.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, sexual content, and depictions of illegal drug use (marijuana)

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Midnight Library with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. Absolutely love reading stories about booksellers, lirbarians, and bookstores. While this is a mystical library, it still stands. :D Reading my copy now.

  2. Doesn't that seem like a tantalizing possibility - a library with different versions of your own life. Though I do like my life. Hmmm. I've got this one and will get to it at just the right time - whenever that is. I'm definitely embracing the 'go with the flow' possibilities for my reading this year. Think there will be a lot of re-reading and slower reading. And I think that will be a good thing. I feel more peaceful already (as long as I ignore the news - ha!).

  3. I can't wait to read this one. I really like Matt Haig's novels. Too bad there are like 50 people ahead of me on the hold list.

  4. I've been on library hold forever on this one, but I've finally worked myself down to number 5 on the list, so maybe I'll finally be reading it. I'm really looking forward to it.

  5. It was definitely an interesting read. I am glad you enjoyed it, I did too. Nice review, Susan.

  6. What an interesting premise! I would love to see what my life would have been like if I had gone with the opposite decisions that I made.

  7. I love the premise on this one and it does sound intriguing but somehow I haven't felt the pull to pick it up. This may be a good audio book for me. It is always a bit disappointing when a book I really expect to absolutely love ends up being a bit more of a meh.

  8. This one's been on my radar for a while now but I think I will wait until I can get it from the library. Interesting that it didn't grab as you hoped it would.

  9. I've seen this one so much in the past couple weeks. With a setup like the one it has, it would be hard to not read it. That being said, I can see how it might not actually live up to all the hype.

  10. I got a copy of this for Christmas and I'm really hoping I'll enjoy it. The premise sounds so great and I enjoyed his last book. We'll see how it goes though. Sorry to hear it was just okay for you.

  11. Sounds like a good one! And who can resist books featuring libraries as a setting? ;)


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