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

Hello Fall!

How many times are you going to enthrall me with your colors, dear nature?
Yes, I love the flowers that bloom on you but look at you..
Your leaves are changing colors too.
From sweet green to flaming orange and burning red
So bright, so bold.
How do I stop admiring your wonders?
How are you so strikingly beautiful?
Look at you stand under the bright blue skies amidst the green meadows,
Wearing your red and orange leaves.
Yes, the temperatures are dropping but you don’t seem to be afraid.
Grounding me to be fierce and hopeful
With you all over again..
Hello Autumn, let’s embrace the cold days ahead.

The shape and color of these leaves are just.. ❤ *.*

A Season of Disruption by Jacqueline P Walker

#BookReview
Cultural|Ethnic|Family|Loss|Courage

This beautifully written memoir is heartwarming and inspirational. Life can present us with unpredictable situations for which we aren’t ready most of the times. One such event occurred in the life of an eight-year-old child and this story is about how the family faces this devastating loss. What makes this book so powerful is the determination and courage of the family during times of distress.

When Murna Moreland loses her husband, the responsibility of her five young children falls upon her. Being a homemaker, she has no idea how to provide for her family. So she entrusts her eldest daughter, Hope, to take on the role of a guardian for her younger siblings. Murna goes to the United States to work so she can provide her children with a better life.

During the time away from their mother, the five siblings continue to live their life diligently while taking care of each other. Murna works hard every single day without losing hope and by curbing her fears so she can reunite with her family soon.

A Season of Disruption is a short yet impactful memoir written by Jacqueline P Walker. It discusses death, family, relationships, courage, and hope. Through her story, we can learn how to face challenges, and even though things might seem like they are falling apart at the moment, they will eventually fall back into place. It’s all about holding onto hope and staying strong.

Synopsis of A Season of Disruption by Jacqueline P Walker,

Obstacles are a part of life. Overcoming them motivates others to persevere and soar! A Season of Disruption is a fictional memoir that tells a story of courage, love, and the willpower to withstand challenges that often break and defeat families.

Widowed due to a twist of fate, Murna Moreland, a Caribbean homemaker, makes a nearly unimaginable choice. She leaves her children—alone— in Jamaica and journeys to the US to find opportunities. Murna anticipates that she will be able to have the children join her soon.

Meanwhile, with their father’s death and mother’s departure, 15-year-old Hope assumes guardianship for her four younger siblings. Together the children strive to survive, believing that the separation from their mother will be brief.

In the US, Murna diligently focuses on reuniting her family but obstacles delay and derail her plan. Unwilling to accept defeat, she crafts a risky scheme that will either quickly bring her family back together or keep them apart indefinitely.

You can also find my review on the website: Reedsy

By Her Side

I am not a dragon,
I do not have a horde.
I am trapped inside this empty dark cave
With no shiny heaps of gold.

I wander aimlessly in the darkness with no real goal.
I wonder what’s in my destiny,
Is there a purpose for this existence?
I curl up in a corner and sleep like every other day.
But, who’s here today?
A little boy has walked into the cave.

He stands in front of me fearlessly and smiles.
I snarl, smoke rises from my nostrils.
He steps forward cautiously, his hand reaching towards me.
I curl deeper into the cave.
He waits patiently, his soul emitting an aura of kindness.
I rise up and breathe fire.
The boy as small as a shrimp near my feet,
Watched me in awe with no fear.
The cave was no ordinary one,
The fire melted the layer of soot away and revealed walls of gold.
The cave shone like the sun in the darkness of the night,
With a mighty dragon queen and a little boy as a guiding star by her side. 

This is for Us. Relatable Words #11

this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not in what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less noble.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
Infinite.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it: make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the woods, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.

– CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON

Beautifully expressed by Charlotte Eriksson in her book, Another Vagabond Lost To Love. Thank you my friend, Abhishek Labhe for sharing this poem with me!

The Champion by Wayne Rajah

#BookReview
Fiction | Fantasy | Relationships |

A painfully sweet story of a mother and a child set in a fantasy world of monsters and magic

The Champion is a fantasy fiction novel written by author Wayne Rajah. The protagonist of this story is a twelve-year-old boy named Calvin with a superpower that allows him to fly. Calvin’s mother, Miss Khumalo is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he finds out that his mother is suffering, Calvin uses his superpower and the help of his mentor, Athwall, and decides to take his mother on a mythical journey in an attempt to save her life.

The story begins with Calvin waking up after seeing a dreadful nightmare. As we proceed further into the story, we realize that Calvin is haunted by a series of these disturbing nightmares and they have become a constant in his life. 

“The room shakes! Oscillates! Now a frenzy of seismic activity and an earthquake! It feels like the tremor is inside my head! My head hurts! My head always hurts! My body hurts! A flash of light in the distance, lightning! And then a thunderous roar! My skull splits open, the hemispheres of my brain part. My body was violently shaken, side to side, side to side! The earthquake continues!”

Wayne Rajah

Usually, after the nightmares, Calvin puts on his cape and flies out of the window of his room into the night sky. He enjoys flying high in the darkness of the night when the rest of the world is asleep. He recalls the vivid nightmares and often wonders if they could possibly be true. But, the cold breeze helps him calm down and he uses this time to observe the world below him by admiring the countryside, the Crown River, and the moon that he addresses as Cynthia. 

Calvin’s ancient protector, Athwall – who has lived a thousand years – is Calvin’s only friend and protector. According to Athwall, Calvin is the Chosen one and someday Athwall will reveal the special task that only Calvin can perform. 

“I start to fly, out of my control! Hurtling into the sinister abyss, not knowing where I am going or in what direction, just hurtling on ahead. There is space out there even if I cannot see it. What speed! Immense speed! My heart flutters, races!”

Calvin has looked at his mother as a hardworking and active woman who is always on her feet. But when he notices that lately, his mother has been looking weak and exhausted, he starts worrying. Until one day, his mother faints on the ground and he finds out that his mother only has a little time to survive. Will Calvin be able to save his mother? Will he complete the task that Athwall has set out for him?

This story is a journey of a young boy trying his best to save his mother from dying by seeking help from his mentor, Athwall. The story discusses all the struggles that Calvin, Athwall, and Miss Khumalo go through and the difficult choices that they need to make on this journey. This involves crossing treacherous paths and fighting tremendous monsters on the way to their destination. When they finally reach their destination, the story takes an unexpected twist.

“Athwall says that he will reveal everything to me in a good time. He tells me that I am special, that I am the Chosen. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy everything. Who else in this world can say they can fly? Athwall says it only happens once every hundred years. My ancient protector has lived long enough to see them all, over a thousand years. He says that there is always a special task for the Chosen.” 

The book started off on a good note and got me hooked into the storyline. The reason I found it interesting was that the story started with a letter that was addressed by a doctor to his patient. Personally, I love reading stories that have letter communications between the characters. However, I was quickly disappointed when the letters never made an appearance after the first chapter. I found the book needlessly long and felt like it could have dropped a few pages, especially the graphic description of the recurring nightmares. I also felt like the long journey was invalidated by the surprise reveal at the end which left me a disappointed. I was a little confused with the turn of events and I had to go through the entire story again in my head to understand what just happened.

The story is well-written by debut author Wayne Rajah, the message that the author is trying to share is noble. As a pediatrician, he has created a fictional story about parents and children that he sees on a daily basis. He is inspired by the struggles and sacrifices that are made by both parents and children and has captured this in an entirely fictional universe of his creation.

“Letting go takes courage. Their story is one of true struggle, courage, strength and overcoming adversity.”

Wayne Rajah

Also, find my review on the website: Reedsy

Soon

Dreaming of low tides,
Long nights under the moonlight
Sitting around logs set on fire
Upon white sand and
Mountains looming under dark skies.

Sea breeze muffles our voices
As we share stories
Holding mugs of warmth
In our mitten covered hands
There’s always so much to say,
To listen,
To laugh,
With friends around
There’s no track of time.
Soon.
Those days will come soon.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com