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The Midnight Library Book Summary, Review, Notes

 

“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the myriad possibilities of life through the unique concept of a library that exists between life and death. 

 

Here, each book represents a different life that Nora Seed, the protagonist, could have lived based on her different choices. As Nora explores these lives, she confronts her regrets and the impact of her decisions, ultimately embarking on a journey of self-discovery and understanding about the value of life.

 

Book Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Date of Reading: December 2023
Rating: 7/10

 

Table of Contents

What Is Being Said In Detail:

 

Chapter 1: A Conversation About Rain

 

Nora Seed reflects on her life and choices during a conversation with her school librarian, Mrs. Elm. This chapter sets the tone for Nora’s introspective journey, highlighting her regrets and uncertainties about the future.

 

Chapter 2: Nineteen Years Later

 

Nineteen years after the initial conversation, Nora finds herself in a deep state of depression, contemplating her life choices and the path she has taken. This chapter establishes the emotional and existential crisis Nora is experiencing.

 

Chapter 3: The Man at the Door

 

A surprising visit from an old acquaintance, Ash, brings tragic news about Nora’s cat, Voltaire. This event intensifies Nora’s feelings of despair and loneliness, further pushing her towards a mental and emotional breakdown.

 

Chapter 4: String Theory

 

Nora faces a series of setbacks, including the loss of her job and the realization of her insignificance in the lives of others. This chapter marks the culmination of her despair, leading her to a pivotal moment of decision about her life.

 

Chapter 5: To Live Is to Suffer

 

Nora Seed wanders aimlessly through Bedford, reflecting on her life’s disappointments and her recent breakup with Dan. Her thoughts are filled with chaos and entropy, symbolizing the disorder in her life following the loss of her job and her continuous struggle with personal relationships and regrets​​.

 

Chapter 6: Doors

 

Nora, seeking shelter from the rain, contemplates her life and compares herself to a black hole, a symbol of her collapsing life. She encounters Ravi, a friend from her past, and their conversation highlights her past decisions, specifically leaving her band, The Labyrinths, and her relationship with Dan. These interactions reinforce Nora’s feelings of regret and failure​​.

 

Chapter 7: How to Be a Black Hole

 

Feeling isolated and without purpose, Nora reaches out to her former best friend Izzy, only to be met with silence. Her reflections on life choices and regrets continue, as she reminisces about her philosophical interests and missed opportunities. Nora’s sense of failure is compounded by her lack of significant relationships and accomplishments​​.

 

Chapter 8: Antimatter

 

Nora faces further disillusionment and a sense of uselessness, underscored by her interactions with others and her environment. Her despair deepens as she feels unneeded and insignificant, leading her to contemplate her own existence and her impact on the world. This chapter ends with Nora deciding that it’s time to end her life, a decision that leads her to the Midnight Library​​.

 

Chapter 9: 00:00:00

 

Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library, a metaphysical space between life and death. Here, she meets Mrs. Elm, the librarian, who explains that the library contains books representing all the lives she could have lived. This surreal environment represents a place of reflection and choice, where Nora confronts her regrets and the endless possibilities of existence​​.

 

Chapter 10: The Librarian

 

Nora encounters her old school librarian, Mrs. Elm, in the Midnight Library. Mrs. Elm, both familiar and mysterious, represents a comforting presence from Nora’s past. In this surreal environment, Mrs. Elm serves as a guide, explaining the nature of the library and its significance in Nora’s journey. The chapter highlights Nora’s confusion and the initial revelation of the library’s purpose​​.

 

Chapter 11: The Midnight Library

 

Mrs. Elm explains to Nora that the Midnight Library exists between life and death, offering a chance to experience different lives based on alternate choices. Nora learns that the library’s books represent different versions of her life, challenging her to contemplate her deepest regrets and the choices she’s made. This chapter lays the foundation for Nora’s journey of exploration and self-discovery within the library​​.

 

Chapter 12: The Moving Shelves

 

The moving shelves in the library symbolize the fluidity and endless possibilities of life. Mrs. Elm reveals that each book is a portal to a different life Nora could have lived, shaped by different decisions. This chapter presents Nora with the concept that her life’s trajectory could have been drastically different, sparking her curiosity and desire to explore these alternate realities​​.

 

Chapter 13: The Book of Regrets

 

Nora is presented with “The Book of Regrets,” which contains every regret she has ever had. As she skims through it, she confronts a litany of missed opportunities and unfulfilled desires, ranging from minor regrets to profound life choices. This chapter serves as a deep introspection into Nora’s psyche, revealing the weight of her regrets and their impact on her current state​​.

 

Chapter 14: Regret Overload

 

This chapter delves into Nora’s relationship with Dan, her former fiancé, and the complex emotions surrounding their breakup. Nora’s introspection reveals her fears of replicating her parents’ unhappy marriage and the overwhelming grief and depression that followed her mother’s death. This emotional overload from the “Book of Regrets” encapsulates Nora’s struggle with her life choices and the path she’s taken​​.

 

Chapter 15: Every Life Begins Now

 

Mrs. Elm prompts Nora to choose a life to try on, emphasizing that each life begins at the library’s current moment, midnight. The chapter highlights the library as a place of transition, where Nora has the chance to reinvent herself by stepping into a different life. This moment symbolizes a crossroads, where Nora must choose whether to confront or escape her regrets​​.

 

Chapter 16: The Three Horseshoes

 

Nora finds herself outside a quaint pub, The Three Horseshoes, in a rural setting, realizing she has stepped into a life where she and Dan had stayed together and pursued their dream. 

 

This new reality contrasts sharply with her previous life in Bedford, filled with unfulfilled dreams and regrets. The chapter explores the theme of “what if,” presenting a life where Nora followed a different path, one of her many alternate realities​​.

 

Chapter 17: The Penultimate Update Nora Had Posted Before

 

This chapter title references a social media update that Nora posted before finding herself between life and death. The update reflects Nora’s internal turmoil and her sense of being lost, symbolizing the critical state of her mind and life just before her journey to the Midnight Library begins​​.

 

Chapter 18: The Chessboard

 

In “The Chessboard,” Nora discusses her experiences and feelings with Mrs. Elm, who is playing chess, symbolizing strategic thinking and life’s choices. This chapter continues the exploration of Nora’s disillusionment with life, as she grapples with the realities of the lives she has experienced and her persistent desire for death​​.

 

Chapter 19: The Only Way to Learn Is to Live

 

This chapter emphasizes the importance of living through experiences to gain understanding and insight. Nora’s conversation with Mrs. Elm revolves around the concept that life’s lessons are best learned through direct experience rather than theoretical knowledge or avoidance​​.

 

Chapter 20: Fire

 

“Fire” represents a new reality for Nora, characterized by intense and immediate experiences. In this chapter, she finds herself in a situation that is vivid and unfamiliar, illustrating the unpredictable nature of life and the various paths one’s life can take​​.

 

Chapter 21: Fish Tank

 

In “Fish Tank,” Nora enters a life where she’s in a different set of circumstances, surrounded by unfamiliar names and faces. This life includes a message from Dan, reflecting a shared past and unexplored future. The chapter represents a shift to a reality where Nora’s decisions and relationships have taken a different turn, illustrating the complex web of choices and consequences​​.

 

Chapter 22: The Last


Update That Nora Had Posted Before She Found Herself Between Life and Death

 

Chapter 23: The Successful Life

 

Nora reflects on her fears of replicating her parents’ marriage, questioning whether they ever truly loved each other. Her contemplation is interrupted by overwhelming regrets, stemming from her mother’s death and her subsequent life choices, which she feels trapped by​​.

 

Chapter 24: Peppermint Tea

 

Nora, feeling overwhelmed by her regrets, is urged by Mrs. Elm to close the book of regrets. She then discusses with Mrs. Elm the possibility of trying on different lives to find one she truly wants to live. This represents a pivotal moment where Nora must choose which life she wants to experience next​​.

 

Chapter 25: The Tree That Is Our Life

 

Nora ponders the nature of the Midnight Library and the concept of alternate lives. She learns that each life ends differently and that her choices will determine the life she inhabits. Nora expresses a desire to explore a life where she stayed with her ex-partner, Dan, and worked towards a shared dream​​.

 

Chapter 26: System Error

 

Nora chooses to explore a life with Dan, where they own a pub in the countryside. This life is starkly different from her current one, offering a fresh perspective on her choices and the paths she didn’t take. Nora finds herself in a new reality, starting her journey in this alternate life outside the pub they own​​.

 

Chapter 27:Svalbard

 

Nora wakes up in a small, basic cabin on a boat, feeling distant from her past life as an Olympian swimmer. She interacts with a robust, hard-weathered woman speaking Scandinavian, hinting at Nora’s current geographical and cultural setting. 

 

The cabin’s ambiance, marked by the cold and essentials like a bottle of vodka and books about the Arctic and glacier mechanics, foreshadows the challenges and stark realities of her new life in this frigid, remote location​​.

 

Chapter 28:Hugo Lefèvre

 

Nora navigates through her new life, experiencing a breakfast in a small dining hall among research scientists. Her encounter with Hugo Lefèvre, a fellow researcher, reveals her professional identity in this life as someone knowledgeable about glaciers. 

 

The interaction with Hugo and the Arctic environment surrounding them, filled with ice islands and a unique landscape, further immerses Nora in the distinct realities of this life, contrasting sharply with her previous experiences​​.

 

Chapter 29:Walking in Circles

 

Nora finds herself in a perilous role as a lookout for polar bears while scientists conduct climate research on a desolate, snow-covered skerry. Armed with a rifle and a flare gun, she is tasked with the daunting responsibility of warning others about polar bears.

 

This situation emphasizes the harshness and risks of her new life, as well as the reality of climate change’s impact on wildlife behavior, highlighting Nora’s drastic shift from her past lives​​.

 

Chapter 30:A Moment of Extreme Crisis in the Middle of Nowhere

 

Nora faces a life-threatening encounter with a polar bear, leading to a profound realization. As she tries desperately to fend off the bear, her instinct for survival kicks in. 

 

This intense confrontation brings a moment of clarity: Nora realizes she does not want to die, despite her previous suicidal tendencies. This realization marks a significant shift in her mindset, highlighting a newfound appreciation and desire for life, even in its most challenging moments​​.

 

Chapter 31:The Frustration of Not Finding a Library When You Really Need One

 

After her near-death experience, Nora reflects on her life’s intensity and the realization that she wants to live. Her interaction with nature and the scientists studying climate change in Svalbard brings a sense of purpose and belonging, despite the life-threatening dangers. 

 

This chapter delves into Nora’s family history, connecting her current experiences with her lineage’s pattern of regrets and unfulfilled dreams, and underscoring the complexities of her journey towards self-discovery and acceptance​​.

 

Chapter 32: Island

 

In this chapter, Nora Seed experiences life on a beautiful Greek island, a stark contrast to her previous existences. Here, she is a successful pub owner, enjoying a simple, fulfilling life. The chapter focuses on Nora’s realization of how diverse her life could be, showing her embracing a lifestyle completely different from her previous hectic and unfulfilling lives. This chapter signifies a moment of tranquility and self-reflection for Nora, as she contemplates the varied paths her life could take.

 

Chapter 33: Permafrost

 

In this chapter, Nora learns about the rapid effects of climate change in Svalbard, including the melting of permafrost and the risks it poses to the local environment and structures. 

 

The chapter also delves into Nora’s family history, particularly her grandfather’s journey from Italy to the UK and the compromises he had to make, which mirrors Nora’s own life of unfulfilled dreams and settling for less than she had hoped for​​.

 

Chapter 34: One Night in Longyearbyen

 

Nora reflects on her recent near-death experience with the polar bear and realizes she wants to live a meaningful life. She grapples with her place in the world, feeling like a hero in a non-traditional sense. 

 

The chapter also describes a dinner with her colleagues, where Hugo Lefèvre expresses his suspicion that Nora is not who she appears to be. This interaction underlines Nora’s struggle to fit into this new life and hints at her underlying sense of displacement​​.

 

Chapter 35: Life and Death and the Quantum Wave Function

 

Nora finds herself grappling with the complex ideas of quantum mechanics and the nature of existence in this chapter. She dives into philosophical musings about life, death, and the choices that lead to different realities. The chapter delves into the scientific underpinnings of the library’s mechanism, where every book represents a different life stemming from different choices. This chapter is pivotal in expanding Nora’s understanding of her situation and the infinite possibilities that life holds.

 

Chapter 36: If Something Is Happening to Me, I Want to Be There

 

In “If Something Is Happening to Me, I Want to Be There,” Nora experiences a profound shift in her mindset. She begins to actively engage with the lives she is living in the library, rather than passively observing them. This chapter marks a turning point in her journey, as she starts to understand the importance of being present and making conscious choices in life. It reflects her growing determination to find a life that feels genuinely hers, a life where she is fully present and engaged.

 

Chapter 37: God and Other Librarians

 

This chapter describes Nora’s return to the Midnight Library amidst its destruction. The library’s disintegration and Mrs. Elm’s guidance lead Nora to understand that the library exists because of her, and it’s collapsing because she has finally decided she wants to live her own life. 

 

Nora’s realization culminates in her writing “I AM ALIVE” in a book, signifying her acceptance and desire to live her life despite its imperfections and challenges​​.

 

Chapter 38: Fame

 

In “Fame,” Nora Seed experiences a life where she is a famous musician, grappling with the challenges and emptiness of celebrity life. Despite her success, she feels disconnected and realizes that fame doesn’t equate to happiness or fulfillment. This chapter highlights the disillusionment that can come with achieving one’s dreams, especially when they don’t align with one’s true self.

 

Chapter 39: Milky Way

 

In “Fame,” Nora Seed experiences a life where she is a famous musician, grappling with the challenges and emptiness of celebrity life. Despite her success, she feels disconnected and realizes that fame doesn’t equate to happiness or fulfillment. This chapter highlights the disillusionment that can come with achieving one’s dreams, especially when they don’t align with one’s true self.

 

Chapter 40: Wild and Free

 

In “Wild and Free,” Nora lives a life where she’s in tune with nature, leading a simpler, more grounded existence. This life is marked by a sense of freedom and connection with the natural world, contrasting sharply with her previous urban, fame-driven life. The chapter underscores the theme of finding peace and fulfillment in simplicity and being one with nature.

 

Chapter 41: Ryan Bailey

 

Nora explores a life where she’s in a relationship with her old school crush, Ryan Bailey. This chapter delves into the idea of romantic fantasy versus reality. Nora discovers that the idealized version of Ryan she held in her mind doesn’t necessarily align with the real person, leading to a bittersweet understanding of love and relationships.

 

Chapter 42: A Silver Tray of Honey Cakes

 

In this chapter, Nora finds herself in a life where small, simple pleasures bring joy. The focus is on the beauty of mundane moments and the importance of savoring them. This chapter is a gentle reminder that happiness often lies in the little things in life, like enjoying honey cakes, rather than grand achievements or status.

 

Chapter 43: The Podcast of Revelations

 

“The Podcast of Revelations” chapter finds Nora in a life where she’s a guest on a podcast, discussing her experiences in the Midnight Library. This chapter serves as a meta-commentary on her journey, allowing Nora to reflect on her various lives and the lessons she’s learned. It’s a moment of introspection and realization about the nature of happiness, choice, and destiny.

 

Chapter 44: Howl

 

In “Howl,” Nora Seed is back in her root life, reflecting on her journey through various lives in the Midnight Library. She ponders on the impact of small actions and their profound influence on the course of one’s life. This chapter emphasizes the importance of seemingly insignificant choices and their cumulative effect on shaping one’s destiny.

 

Chapter 45: Love and Pain

 

Nora experiences an intense blend of love and pain in this chapter. She is confronted with the complexities of her relationships and the deep emotions they evoke. This chapter delves into the intricate connection between love and pain, highlighting how closely intertwined these emotions are in the human experience.

 

Chapter 46: Equidistance

 

In “Equidistance,” Nora grapples with the concept of being equidistant from various potentialities in her life. She reflects on the idea that her current state is just one of many possibilities, and how different choices could have led her to alternate realities. This chapter explores the theme of existential possibilities and the myriad paths one’s life could take.

 

Chapter 47: Someone Else’s Dream

 

This chapter sees Nora navigating through a life that feels like someone else’s dream. She struggles with the realization that the life she is living may not truly be the one she desired or chose for herself. The chapter highlights the dissonance between living a life that seems perfect on the surface and the underlying feeling of unfulfillment.

 

Chapter 48: A Gentle Life

 

Nora finds herself in a life characterized by its gentleness and simplicity. This chapter contrasts her previous experiences with a life that is less about grand achievements and more about finding joy and contentment in the simple, everyday moments. It underscores the value of a peaceful, unassuming existence.

 

Chapter 49: Why Want Another Universe If This One Has Dogs?

 

In this chapter, Nora contemplates the beauty and simplicity of the universe she inhabits, especially appreciating the existence of dogs. She realizes that despite the allure of infinite possibilities, there is profound beauty and joy to be found in the familiar and the simple aspects of life. This chapter is a celebration of the small joys that make life worthwhile.

 

Chapter 50: Dinner with Dylan

 

In “Dinner with Dylan,” Nora shares a meal with Dylan, a friend from her past. They reconnect and discuss their lives, revealing the depth of their friendship and the comfort of rekindling old connections. This chapter highlights the importance of human connections and the role they play in understanding oneself and one’s place in the world.

 

Chapter 51: Last Chance Saloon

 

Nora finds herself at a crossroads in “Last Chance Saloon,” contemplating the gravity of her situation and the choices she’s made. She realizes that her time in the Midnight Library may be running out, and she must make a crucial decision about her life. This chapter underscores the theme of urgency and the significance of making choices that truly resonate with one’s deepest desires and values.

 

Chapter 52: Buena Vista Vineyard

 

In this chapter, Nora experiences life as the owner of a vineyard, embracing a peaceful and fulfilling existence. The vineyard symbolizes growth, renewal, and the cultivation of a life that aligns with one’s passions. This chapter reflects on the themes of simplicity, contentment, and finding joy in nurturing something meaningful.

 

Chapter 53: The Many Lives of Nora Seed

 

Nora reflects on the myriad lives she has experienced and the lessons each one has taught her. This chapter is a powerful introspection into how each life has shaped her understanding of happiness, purpose, and self-identity. It underscores the idea that every choice and experience contributes to one’s overall journey and growth.

 

Chapter 54: Lost in the Library

 

Feeling overwhelmed by the endless possibilities and choices in the Midnight Library, Nora experiences a sense of being lost. This chapter delves into the emotions of confusion and indecision, highlighting the daunting nature of infinite choices and the struggle to find clarity in one’s life path.

 

Chapter 55: A Pearl in the Shell

 

Nora discovers a metaphorical “pearl” within herself – a newfound understanding and appreciation of her life. This chapter symbolizes the realization that true value and beauty often lie within, waiting to be discovered and cherished. It’s a moment of self-realization and the acknowledgment of one’s intrinsic worth.

 

Chapter 56: The Game

 

In “The Game,” Nora engages in a symbolic game that represents her journey through the Midnight Library. The chapter emphasizes the strategic and sometimes unpredictable nature of life, where every move can lead to new possibilities and outcomes. It’s a reflection on the game-like aspects of life, where choices, risks, and opportunities interplay to shape one’s destiny.

 

Chapter 57: The Perfect Life

 

In “The Perfect Life,” Nora Seed returns to a life where she seems to have everything she ever desired. However, she starts feeling an unsettling sense of disconnection and doubt. This chapter explores the theme that a seemingly perfect life may not be genuinely fulfilling, prompting Nora to question her true desires and identity.

 

Chapter 58: A Spiritual Quest for a Deeper Connection with the Universe

 

Nora embarks on a spiritual journey, seeking a deeper understanding of her place in the universe. This chapter delves into themes of existential reflection and the quest for meaning beyond material success or societal standards. Nora’s journey is characterized by introspection and a longing for a more profound connection with the world.

 

Chapter 59: Hammersmith

 

In “Hammersmith,” Nora explores a life centered in the London borough of Hammersmith. This chapter focuses on the nuances of living in a bustling, urban environment, contrasting with her other experiences in more serene or extraordinary settings. It highlights the diversity of life choices and the different kinds of fulfillment they can offer.

 

Chapter 60: Tricycle

 

This chapter symbolizes Nora’s journey back to simplicity and childhood innocence, as represented by a tricycle. It’s a metaphor for her desire to revisit simpler times and reassess her life from a more fundamental, uncluttered perspective. The tricycle serves as a reminder of the uncomplicated joys of life.

 

Chapter 61: No Longer Here

 

Nora confronts the reality of loss and the impermanence of life in “No Longer Here.” This chapter deals with the theme of accepting the transience of existence and the importance of appreciating the present. It’s a poignant reflection on how the absence of something or someone can deeply impact one’s life.

 

Chapter 62: An Incident With the Police

 

In this chapter, Nora encounters a situation involving the police, which serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictability and sometimes harsh realities of life. The incident forces her to confront societal issues and her role in them, adding complexity to her understanding of the world.

 

Chapter 63: A New Way of Seeing

 

“A New Way of Seeing” marks a pivotal point in Nora’s journey, where she gains a new perspective on life. This chapter is about the transformation in Nora’s perception, as she begins to see the world and her place in it with newfound clarity and understanding. It’s a significant step in her path towards self-discovery and acceptance.

 

Chapter 64: The Flowers Have Water

 

Nora, back in her “root life,” grapples with the imminent end of her time in the Midnight Library. She reflects on the small but significant changes she’s made in the lives around her, realizing the profound impact of seemingly minor actions. This chapter underscores the importance of appreciating and nurturing the life one has, recognizing the ripple effects of our choices on others.

 

Chapter 65: Nowhere to Land

 

Nora finds herself suddenly back in the Midnight Library amidst its chaotic collapse. Confronted with the library’s destruction, she faces the reality that her root life might be ending. This chapter captures the tension and urgency of finding a life worth living, emphasizing the fleeting nature of existence and the desperation to find meaning.

 

Chapter 66: Don’t You Dare Give Up, Nora Seed!

 

Amidst the destruction of the Midnight Library, Nora battles to find a way back to life. This chapter is a vivid portrayal of her struggle for survival and her refusal to give in to despair. It highlights her fierce determination to live and the realization that her true desire is to embrace her own, unique life.

 

Chapter 67: Awakening

 

Nora awakens in her original life, having chosen to live despite its imperfections. This chapter symbolizes her rebirth, marking a transition from despair to a newfound appreciation for life. It’s a poignant reflection on the value of existence and the power of choosing to live.

 

Chapter 68: The Other Side of Despair

 

This chapter sees Nora coming to terms with her life and its possibilities. She reflects on the myriad lives she could have lived and finds peace in her current existence. She understands that life’s potential is limitless and that she can choose her path. Nora’s journey here is about acceptance and the embrace of life’s unpredictability and richness.

 

Chapter 69: A Thing I Have Learned

 

Nora shares her insights on life, emphasizing the futility of regret and the importance of embracing the present. She writes about her realization that longing for different lives only leads to dissatisfaction and that true contentment comes from appreciating and living the life one has. This chapter is a meditation on the power of acceptance and the beauty of living in the moment.

 

Chapter 70: Living Versus Understanding

 

Nora reflects on the difference between understanding life and living it. She realizes that it’s not necessary to fully understand life to appreciate and enjoy it. This chapter highlights the idea that life is to be experienced and savored, not merely analyzed or understood.

 

Chapter 71: The Volcano

 

Nora compares herself to a volcano, symbolizing both destruction and creation. She acknowledges her own potential for growth and transformation, realizing that she is not defined by her past but by her capacity for change and renewal. This chapter is about embracing one’s own potential and the transformative power of self-acceptance.

 

Chapter 72: How It Ends

 

The final chapter concludes with Nora visiting her old librarian, Mrs. Elm, in a care home. They share a game of chess, symbolizing the strategic nature of life. Nora’s newfound perspective allows her to see the beauty in her life, regardless of its imperfections. The chapter, and the book, end on a note of hope and possibility, reflecting Nora’s journey from despair to a life filled with potential and choice.

 

Matt Haig Quote

Most important keywords, sentences, quotes:

 

“The only way to learn is to live.”

 

“Sometimes regrets aren’t based on fact at all.”

 

“Sometimes just to say your own truth out loud is enough to find others like you.”

 

“As Thoreau wrote, ‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

 

“If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it. And don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise.”

“Never underestimate the big importance of small things”

 

“A person was like a city. You couldn’t let a few less desirable parts put you off the whole. There may be bits you don’t like, a few dodgy side streets and suburbs, but the good stuff makes it worthwhile.”

 

“It is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living. Easy to wish we’d developed other other talents, said yes to different offers. Easy to wish we’d worked harder, loved better, handled our finances more astutely, been more popular, stayed in the band, gone to Australia, said yes to the coffee or done more bloody yoga.

 

It takes no effort to miss the friends we didn’t make and the work we didn’t do the people we didn’t do and the people we didn’t marry and the children we didn’t have. It is not difficult to see yourself through the lens of other people, and to wish you were all the different kaleidoscopic versions of you they wanted you to be. It is easy to regret, and keep regretting, ad infinitum, until our time runs out.

 

But it is not lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It’s the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people’s worst enemy.

 

We can’t tell if any of those other versions would of been better or worse. Those lives are happening, it is true, but you are happening as well, and that is the happening we have to focus on.”

 

Matt Haig Quote 2

Book Review (Personal Opinion):

 

“The Midnight Library” is a beautifully crafted narrative that masterfully intertwines the themes of regret, choice, and the infinite possibilities of life. Haig’s eloquent writing style and the novel’s unique premise make it a compelling read. 

 

The exploration of Nora’s parallel lives offers profound insights into the human condition, making the reader reflect on their own life choices. The book’s blend of fantasy and existential exploration is both imaginative and thought-provoking.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

This book is for (recommend):

 

  • Those interested in philosophical and existential themes.
  • Readers who enjoy speculative fiction and magical realism.
  • Anyone grappling with life choices and the concept of regret.

 

Matt Haig Quote 3

If you want to learn more

 

To delve deeper into themes like life choices, regret, and parallel universes, readers can explore works in existential philosophy, quantum mechanics, and speculative fiction. Books by authors like Albert Camus, Sylvia Plath, and Philip K. Dick offer further exploration of these concepts.

 

How I’ve implemented the ideas from the book

 

Embracing the lesson of “The Midnight Library,” one can start by acknowledging and confronting personal regrets, understanding that every choice shapes a unique path, and learning to appreciate the present moment and the life one is living.

 

One small actionable step you can do

 

Reflect on a major life decision you’ve made and consider its impact on your life. Acknowledge any regrets but also appreciate the unique experiences it has brought, helping you embrace your current path.

 

The Midnight Library Book - Summary-Infographic