The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

#BookReview
Fantasy | Fiction | Life | Hope | Philosophical

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is one of the most popular books published in the year 2020 so I decided to give this one a read. Also, because the title sounded pretty interesting to me. Now, who wouldn’t love spending the night in a library reading books? Even though this book is nothing of that sort, I wasn’t disappointed. The story is about a woman named Nora Seed who finds herself in a library lingering between life and death. There are innumerable books in the library that allow Nora to undo her regrets, explore parallel lives, and choose a life which she would love to be in. Will she give up her present life and choose one that she always dreamed of? 

“Minds can’t see what they can’t handle.”

Matt Haig

The Midnight Library is a book that opens up a passage for us to explore different lives, it answers the question which we often ask ourselves – What if? What if I had decided to become a sports player instead of becoming an engineer? What if I pursued my childhood dream then where would I be now? What if I listened to my parents and followed the path that they wanted me to be on, then what would I be doing now? Somehow this book feels personal, it’s more like a self-help book, where it answers those questions that we sometimes have about our unfulfilled dreams. Would life be better than it is now? 

“Because a pawn is never just a pawn. A pawn is a queen-in-waiting.”

Matt Haig

The year 2020 was a terrible year for all of us. I feel this book was released at the right time when most of us were lost and going through a difficult phase in life. Depression and grief were the two predominant emotions. This book was like a ray of hope for those who were leaning towards the red line where giving up on life seemed to be the easiest way out of problems. This book can pull you right back out of the darkness and show you that there’s more to life than you’ve already seen. When you are given the chance to change your life and make it better, would you take it or let it go? 

The Midnight Library has received mixed reviews where many immensely loved it and many were super disappointed. If you picked this book up solely on the basis of its rave reviews, remember that expectation is the thief of joy. I guess it also depends on the state of mind in which you are while reading the book. If your life is perfect and you don’t need a helping hand then give it a pass. But if you are feeling low or if you know somebody who is out of sorts then this book can be a great distraction to keep yourself busy and it might lift your spirits by the end of it. Who knows, this book can be a reason to get back on your feet and experience something that you’ve been putting off for a long time. Coz, why not? After all, books can be a guiding light at times when we cannot find our path. I enjoyed reading the book and would definitely recommend it. 

‘If one advances confidently’, Thoreau had written in Walden, ‘in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with unexpected success in common hours.’ He’d also observed that part of this success was the product of being alone. ‘I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.’

Matt Haig

Paradise Taken: The Diary of Eden Flores Part I By Omar Gonzalez

When the innocence of a child is tainted by the gruesome realities of the world, then paradise becomes an unattainable dream.

Paradise Taken: The Diary of Eden Flores Part I is a collection of true events about a girl named Eden Flores. The author, Omar Gonzalez, captures Eden’s life experiences remarkably in this book and shares them with us in the form of stories and poems. 

The book begins with stories about Eden’s childhood and her family. The family visits her parents’ native place called El Paraiso (“Paradise”). Here, Eden first realizes after witnessing certain events that life is far from being anywhere close to a paradise. As young kids, Eden and her brothers would always look for reasons to escape so they could avoid the chaos and violence at home. But, even the outside world had its perils and dangers which she soon experienced. The ordeal just gets worse, making it an immersive reading experience. 

All Eden ever wanted was a life filled with smiles and simple joys with her family. But how does one cope when family inflicts the most amount of pain? There are many things in this world that we take for granted and don’t appreciate enough, Paradise Taken is a book that makes us realize that. 

It discusses themes around racism, religion, sorrow, suffering, domestic violence, and sexual child abuse. The careful interweaving of stories and poems provide an impactful narrative that stay with you after the last page.

Also find my review on Reedsy.

Be Still

Relatable Quotes #13

Be still, thou unregenerate part;
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vowed, and so will do,
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must,
Until I see thee laid in the dust.


From
“The Flesh and the Spirit”
by Anne Bradstreet (d. 1678)


Read this quote at the beginning of a book that I’m currently reading called, A Thousand Valleys by Ken Fulmer and l really liked it.

Happy Here and Now by Matt Tracy

#BookReview
Self-Help|Happiness|Motivational|Self-Improvement

Happy Here and Now: Lasting Happiness You Can Count On gives you the tools that are required to stay happy during the sunniest of days and stormiest of nights.

We are all happy in one moment and sad in the other. We are beings with so many emotions and feelings that sometimes we get carried away by them and end up losing ourselves. We don’t often pay attention to the little joys of life and also the little problems.

Sometimes acting on every emotion like anger, fear, or sadness can have a negative impact on our life. It can even make us regret our actions. Happy Here and Now by Matt Tracy is a self-help book that discusses situations and behaviors that we usually don’t pay attention to or tend to neglect. It is more like a guide that will train us to understand those emotions better, process them, and sometimes learn to let them go.

Grieving must happen, and emotions must be felt, whatever they are. Fear or hatred or worry or disgust must be acknowledged. That is healthy.

Matt Tracy

This book also talks about understanding what happiness really is, how to be grateful, thankful, and forgiving. It’s about listening to our thoughts, becoming more aware, and believing in ourselves. At the end of each chapter, there is a section called Living It that we can follow to pay attention to our emotions and bring changes in our day-to-day lives by being more aware of our habits and trying to improve them.

I found this book interesting to read and found myself agreeing on multiple points that I never considered important. Happy Here and Now is a must-read!

Being aware of your thoughts leaves room for intuition to flourish.

Stop living for the future. Enjoy now.

Matt Tracy

Also, find my review on this website: Reedsy

Gorgeous Quote #6

To bake a cake in the eye of a storm; to feed yourself sugar on the cusp of danger.

By Ocean Vuong

This quote is from the book, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Every line in this book is like poetry, beautiful, graceful and so impactful. The title of the book itself was amazing enough for me to pick it up and start reading. This literary fiction discusses some serious elements like trauma, violence, race, war, and survival.

To explain the above quote, the author says, “In the story, when a girl and her grandmother spot a storm brewing on the green horizon, instead of shuttering the windows or nailing boards on the doors, they set out to bake a cake. I was unmoored by this act, its precarious yet bold refusal of common sense.”

Relatable Quotes #3

A man’s emotions are what define him and control is the hallmark of true strength. To lack feelings is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.

– Brandon Sanderson, Way of Kings ❤

This line was like an awakening for me where I had to tell myself out loud, “See, did you read that. It’s ok to have so many emotions but stop being a child.” The Stormlight Archive has my heart and soul.

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas

Book Review

Fiction | Romance | Hope | Emotional

Reading Your Perfect Year made me feel like I was watching a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story. Set in Hamburg, the story is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle.

Jonathan Grief is a rich man in his 40s who has inherited his dad’s famous publishing house called Grief and Sons. He is a lonely, uptight divorcee with only a drowning publishing house left to look after. He constantly complains about everything that doesn’t appeal to his sensibilities. He believes he is living a perfect, content life until he finds the Filofax and realises how much he has been missing out on life by not paying attention to the simple joys.

I’ll tell you one truth: if life’s taught me anything, it’s that you should only do what excites you. Everything else is a waste of time. No one should act against their heart and their own convictions.

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah Marx on the other hand is an optimistic, happy, and over-energetic person who runs a successful child care business called The Little Rascals with her friend. She makes a journal full of ideas for her boyfriend to bring hope and positivity in his life. However, she loses all her zest for life after she finds out that her boyfriend is never coming back.

Fate plays a major role in this book. It all starts with the Filofax finding Jonathan. He tries to find the owner of the Filofax but in vain. So, he decides to live his life by following the things planned in the diary which include tasks, motivational quotes, attending events, etc.

Make a break with your habits, test yourself, expand your horizons! If you usually hold the phone in your right hand, use your left. Do your shopping in a different supermarket and buy different brands..

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

Jonathan laughed and shook his head. He had never seen it like that, but it was so true. It was insanity!

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah inevitably finds out that some insane stranger has been religiously living according to the things that she had planned for her boyfriend. Finally, the day comes when they meet. Of course, the story doesn’t end there. There are more emotional ups and downs that they go through which you’ll have to read to find out.

Life was for living, regardless of how long you had left.

Charlotte Lucas

Not highly recommended but a good read. Your Perfect Year is about love, friendship and also some serious topics like dementia, death, and divorce. You can indulge in this light and breezy book if you’re in a marshmellow mood. Cozy up with your cat and enjoy reading this book on the weekend!

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. From the Talmud, or so it says here.

Charlotte Lucas

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, translated from German by Alison Layland.

You can also find my book review here Discovery.