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The Midnight Library

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,176,386 ratings  ·  131,283 reviews
The New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick

"A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits."—The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

Somewhere out b
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Viking (first published August 13th 2020)
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Blue Wren This is not suitable for teens because they deserve better literature than this predictable guff.
Adrienne I hate this book because it presents the extremely harmful narrative that you can cure suicidal ideation by just "changing your outlook." Depression a…moreI hate this book because it presents the extremely harmful narrative that you can cure suicidal ideation by just "changing your outlook." Depression and mental illness absolutely do not work like that and it makes me sick to see so many people continue to embrace such a cutesy representation of the disease that cripples my life.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,176,386 ratings  ·  131,283 reviews

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Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
I liked this book until it suddenly decided to moonlight as a self-help manual, replete with messages that would look great and profound on an Instagram post next to a well-posed cup of coffee with those foam pictures on top. Or embroidered on a pillow — pick your poison.
“She realised that she hadn’t tried to end her life because she was miserable, but because she had managed to convince herself that there was no way out of her misery.”

And these messages have the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
“The only way to learn is to live”
Fuck, this book hit me so hard. I finished this book a few days ago and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It has one of my favorite themes or tropes in a book, where we follow a main character who at the beginning of the story is very depressed and possible suicidal and doesn't see the point of life, but then slowly throughout the story begins to build an admiration toward humanity and life. This book was so beautifully written and I love the way th
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, audiobooks, fiction
Everybody probably knows the premise of this book by now (I mean this book is everywhere): a library with an infinite number of books. The books of regret. You open one and it transfers you to the life where you didn’t make that particular regret. Was it marrying someone or traveling or maybe other little things.

While I admit I don’t actively pursue parallel universes kind of books on one hand, and on the other, the main reason why I read this book is that I was choosing the best fiction this ye

Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay! No more words! This is one of the best sci-fi dances with fantasy which carries additional philosophic vibes novel of the year! I LOVED IT! ( this is not kind of toasting for the book and raising your glass kind of loving it. This is more like climbing at the top of the roof and declaring your love by shouting and howling to the moon kind of love. If you read the song lyrics of “ Howl” at the book you may probably understand why I feel so enthusiastic and why I’m writing a high volume revi ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is no secret that Matt Haig has mental health issues, dogged by the darkness of depression that has taken its toll on his life. His acute observations and experience of his condition informs this exquisite, inspiring, compassionate and empathetic novel where he creates the concept of the midnight library, to be found in the spaces between life and death, to explore life, the issues that afflict our world, through philosophy and more, endeavouring to tease out what might make life worth living ...more
Okay. Picture this: you are about to bite into a cookie. A big, warm cookie. Kinda crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, yummy and chocolate chip-y and presumably made with brown butter and flaky sea salt, as all the best cookies are.

And then you take a big ol' chomp, and...oh no.

Not a chocolate chip at all.

This cookie is filled with...RAISINS.

Have you immersed yourself in that experience? Really felt the high expectations and the all-consuming disappointment?


Because that was my expe
Apr 28, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"That is just me. I add nothing. I am wallowing in self-pity."
No truer words have been said by Nora, the world's largest wet blanket. Woe is her, folks.

Nora ends up at The Midnight Library, a place between life and death, because she doesn't want to live anymore. The library is full of books, each representing a life she could've had, had she made different choices. Now she has a chance to undo all her numerous regrets and to try out all the lives she's missed out on, to see if there is anot
Reading_ Tamishly
My mind is blown; my soul is lit and I am happier.

"She realised, in that moment, that she was capable of a lot more than she had known."

(In one of her many lives)

"I think you might have lost your way a little bit."

"Isn't that why I came to the Midnight Library in the first place? Because I had lost my way?"

"Well, yes. But now you are lost within your lostness."

This story is so fascinating and one of the most amazing stories that look into life, dissect it and offer too many chances to live in
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Unpopular opinion!

In between life and death is a library, The Midnight Library. With books curated just for you..

You will start with “The book of Regrets” your regrets, which could be “not telling your father you loved him before he died”, not marrying a certain sweetheart or not following a dream.

Select another volume and see how a different choice may have played out.

Discover that an alternate choices may not have necessarily led to a different outcome.

This is a MAGICAL premise!

But, I must
Aug 22, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a shame - this could have been such a great novel if the author had the capacity to write about the issues of regrets and suicidal thoughts with maturity, complexity and depth. Instead, we get this young-adult-like novel in which the main character behaves and thinks like a 15-year-old, and every other character around her is just a cardboard poster rather than a human being. This is not what I expected from Matt Haig, whose previous books I recommended to people who wanted to understand de ...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(4.5?) After loving The Humans, I was very excited for this new release and I wasn't let down!

The main character is full of regrets after attempting suicide and ends up in a library where she gets to try all the other lives she could have lived.

This books was heartbreaking and unputdownable. My main regret is starting it late at night because I had to wait until the next day to finish it!

The writing was beautiful and hit almost too close for comfort. I can't recommend it enough!

(view spoiler)
Ruby Granger
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
okay WOW. This was amazing.

I must say that I was kind of skeptical? going into this because the idea is SO good that I didn't know if the writing would be able to live up to it (which can sometimes happen)... but alas, no! Haig's prose is fast-paced and easy to read, but also believable and deeply philosophical. There is just so much to learn from this book. I mean, you COULD read a self-help book on stoicism, or you could just read this :)
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I think this is a really deeply personal book, and it's definitely one that resonated with me. It is kind of part self help book and part story, but that was why it meant a lot to me. I think I'd love to reread it to fully get its message. I can see why people wouldn't like it, but I can also see why it'd be really meaningful to a lot of people. I fall on that side. ...more
Aug 18, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Corny like a Hallmark movie and probably the least subtle book I've ever read.

Update: for those butthurt about my sentence-long review I just wanted to say that as a person who also struggles with depression, this book will become my 13th reason if y'all keep trying to defend it to me (jk)
Emily B
This was cute and the concept was great but unfortunately it really lacked some depth for me!
Miranda Reads
So, first of all, HUGE thank you to goodreads for featuring my kindle highlights and notes for this book - wow.

I never would've expected such an amazing opportunity to share my love for this book NOR would I have expected to "meet" so many wonderful people through the comments.

It's been so much fun and I'm definitely doing more highlights/notes soon!!

The Written Review
Life has just gotten to the point where it's overwhelming and all-encompassing and above all, Nora can't see a possible
David Putnam
This is a quaint little book. A quick read that I enjoyed. It is another form of the Groundhog Day plots that I have read this year. The library in this book is an infinite number of lives not taken. The opening is a little depressing, but it has to be to establish the motivation for the rest of the story. Even so there is a continued darkness in the tone. With each life to which the character ventures she only has to not like it in order to move on to the next. She is in constant search of that ...more
Lisa of Troy
Jul 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
Nora has a rough 24 hours, and she thinks her life is not worth living. She finds herself in a library where she can pick a book where her life would be different than her current life. Will Nora ultimately find the answers she is looking for? What about happiness?

Sorry, this book has received absolute rave reviews, but this book was not for me. I found it extremely boring and unoriginal. There was a movie ages ago called "The Family Man" with Nicolas Cage which has an incredibly similar plot. T
Jenny Lawson
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this before it came out but I was in a bad place mentally and it would have been dangerous to read. I'm better now, in a different life as it were, and it was exactly what I needed to read. ...more
Meredith (Slowly Catching Up)

“Let’s be kind to the people in our own existence.”

The Midnight Library is a book about choices, regrets, and embracing life.

Nora Seed is having a really bad day. She is mugged, loses her job, blamed for other’s people’s failures, and her cat is run over by a car. She is also seriously depressed. This day is one of many bad days that Nora has experienced over the last decade of her life. She can’t take life anymore and attempts suicide.

Nora wakes up to discover that she is in the space
2021 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

It’s incredibly rare that I come across a book that ticks all my boxes. Good characters. Great setting. Wonderful story. This book really lived up to the hype! 🤗 Nora Seed has regrets. In a moment of absolute darkness she decides she’s done with life. Trigger warning: suicide attempt. 😬 She’s pushed into The Midnight Library, where her school librarian greets her and explains the books of regret. Nora opens a book and lives a life had she done things diff
This is the ultimate “what if I had done it differently?” story. I guarantee it will make you think and might give you some new perspective on life. Also, while it starts a bit dark, I think people who are looking for a way out of a dark place might find this story uplifting overall.

I have been sitting here thinking about how to review this book and I don’t want to say too much about it because after 10 pages or so, everything little thing would be a spoiler! That, in itself, should probably piq
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
A sojourn of a human to the multiverses through a library, which is as normal as this bizarre world without an exit to trap us there. Nora Seed might seed our mind with melancholy and heart with love in her quest for perfection. Can perfection be attained through the careful movement of the pawns in this deliberate game of life? Through the underlying current of sadness, this literature transcends us to a library between the universes with a librarian who is a mental metaphor that can be fathome ...more
Are You Serious, Matt?

Could it be true that clinical depression arises from bad choices and disappointments; or is it more likely the other way round? Or is it the case that depression is a consequence of environment, one’s less than sane immediate family perhaps; or possibly genetics, an historical aberration passed down from family far distant in space and time? Is the world an objectively depressing place; or made so by our attitude towards it? The philosopher Schopenhauer thought depression
Susan's Reviews

Who hasn't had regrets - wished they'd taken a different path in life, loved more and hated less, studied a little harder, applied themselves a bit more, had more faith in themselves, wished they'd liked themselves for who they were instead of what others wanted them to be?

I'm certainly not immune, and I've actually fulfilled a couple of my life's ambitions, but life is not easy for any of us. As Nora was to discover, we all "fear life" to s
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'if you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. aim to be you... the truest version of you.'

quietly profound and deeply meaningful.

very 'the five people you meet in heaven' with a magical, bookish feel. perfect for anyone who had ever wondered if their life is enough.

4 stars
Meghna Agrawal (On a Review-Writing Break!)
I am not a literature student but a software engineer. I am someone who easily falls in love with books from fantasy and fiction genres, specifically magical realism. I love to dangle in both the primary and secondary worlds (trust me I do that whole day long, that's my happy space). Most of the reviews I have given till date are positive, be it for classics or the genres I mentioned. My heart melts like hot chocolate whenever i pick up books belonging to aforesaid genres , and not being a liter ...more
Jenna is buying a house and mostly too busy for GR ❤ ❀  ❤
Sweet Dreams Good Night GIF - SweetDreams GoodNight Sloth GIFs

This sort of contemporary fiction is not something I normally read or like, so don't rely on my opinion for this book. I thought that with the slight (slighter than I thought) fantasy bent I might enjoy it.

Obviously I did not.
4.5 stars

Sylvia Plath ‘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 if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

Nora is going through a terrible period in her life, where everything that could possibly go wrong, does. She’s consumed with regret over the paths not
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Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist.

Articles featuring this book

Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we ascribe to a hivemind system when it comes to books. Science has long known that the best method for...
110 likes · 36 comments
“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.”
“The only way to learn is to live.” 1038 likes
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