The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“Between life and death there is a library,” she said. “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 different if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

I think we’ve all wondered how our lives would have turned out had we made different choices at certain points. This story explores what it would be like if you were able to experience these “other” lives in an enchanting and feel-good take on the concept of the multiverse. After experiencing a string of loss and disappointment in her current life, Nora Seed finds herself somewhere between life and death in a sort of magical library that’s full of books for all the different lives she could have lived. What once seemed like a pointless existence is suddenly full of possibility as Nora has the opportunity to “try on” any of these alternate lives, undo past regrets, and see if any of these parallel realities are where she’s meant to be. 

The concept of a multiverse is fascinating to me and I really enjoyed this take on it. It was fun following along with Nora as she explored her other lives – ranging anywhere from being an Olympic medalist to being a glaciologist studying the effects of climate change on icebergs in the Arctic and everything in between. But are any of these lives truly better than her root life? You’ll have to find out for yourself if you read this book but I really enjoyed the life lessons we get along the way. 

This may have been Nora’s journey but it was easy to flip it around and reflect on your own life. One of the main themes was the importance of actually living – because as long as we are alive, the possibilities for our future are endless. Every moment is important, even the smallest things can leave a lasting impact on your life and potentially the lives of others. Life is complicated, life is messy, and often life is confusing but this one line from the book, which I will leave you with now, sums it up best:

“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

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