The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

My book group just read this very good book. It’s an interesting premise. A young woman, Nora, is weary of her life and is piling up regret after regret. She decides to end it all and finds herself in an in-between place that is a library. The books are all her possible lives. Guided by the librarian, Mrs. Elm, she moves from life to life, always risking really being dead. It all sounds rather defeating, but it is an encouraging and endearing book.

As I read it, I was reminded of other things that have similar themes. The movie Bedazzled (with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, not the more recent one), the shapeshifters that appear from time to time on any of the Star Trek series, and all other stories that have people sliding from one reality into another. Nora begins in her “Book of Regrets,” which is big and thick. It gets slimmer as things go along. Mrs. Elm is always asking Nora to stand in her “root life” as she ventures into new arenas, and I found that phrase to be helpful and illuminating. You really want Nora to succeed, to find the life she’s meant to be in. That tension makes this a really good read. It’s funny and charming and not nearly as dire as the plot sounds.

Make your way into the Midnight Library and see what you can discover about your own root life.

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