I used to devour books. I’ve been known to be one of those people walking down the street with my head in a book as I don’t want to put it down. More recently though, I’ve really struggled with finishing books. I’ve got loads of unread books and a fair few that I’ve started but never finished.
Admittedly, in recent years I’ve read more non-fiction than fiction, and whilst I’ve enjoyed them all, I never find myself as invested in a book as I do when it’s a really engaging piece of fiction.
I discovered Matt Haig a couple of years ago, and saw all the rave reviews this book received when it was released last year. I decided I’d borrow it from the library but it was hard to get hold off, so I picked up a copy from WHSmith’s for some holiday reading in September.
I watched the world whiz by as we journeyed north on the train to Glasgow and started reading. I immediately knew that not only was I going to enjoy the book, but that I instantly related to the main character, Nora.
Do you ever think “how did I end up here”?Nora Seed, The Midnight Library
I frequently look back on my life wondering “what if…?” but at the same time not feeling like I had any regrets. I often say that I don’t make decisions, but I’ve realised in hindsight that isn’t true – I just never liked to admit that it’s my choices that led me to where I am today, for good or for bad.
This book really made me think about those “what if…?”s in a different way. You never get to see how your life could go if you take a different path, but I’ve only thought about the immediate things to me that might be different. I’ve never thought about the wider impact had I taken an alternative route. What might’ve been better? What could’ve be worse? Who would and wouldn’t be in my life?
Over the past few years, and this last one in particular, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on what matters to me in my life. What my purpose is and how I want to be spending my time. This felt like the perfect book to read during yet another transitional period of my life. It reminded me that I am responsible for the way my life goes, and I can choose where it goes in the future. It reminded me of what’s really important – and it’s not always the things you’ve been told it should be.
The succinct chapters made it easy to read. I often found myself opting to read just one more chapter, or frequently just two or three more. The last couple of nights I’ve chosen to go to bed early, desperate to get to the end and discover Nora’s fate. Tears may have been shed as I read the last couple of chapters.
I never really remember having clear dreams when I was young about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m still not entirely sure I do. You never know what the world might throw at you, but it’s how you respond and the decisions that you make that make life an adventure – which is exactly what life should be.