Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Canongate

The Blurb

The touching, funny and heartwarming new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Stop Time and Reasons to Stay Alive.

Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.

The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.

Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

The Review

It would be fair to say that I have a complicated relationship with Matt Haig’s writing. I have read a few of his books and whilst I have loved his non-fiction – seriously his perspective on mental health is fascinating and so very helpful – I haven’t really managed to get along too well with his fiction. However, at the insistence of a close friend I gave The Midnight Library a go and I have to admit I really, really liked it.

It is the story of Nora Seed – a young girl whose life doesn’t seem to have lived up to the promises of what life should be and due to that she wants her life to be over. She ends up in a place called The Midnight Library which gives her to opportunity to see how her life would be if she had taken different paths.

Now you could say that this is a trope that has been examined before – most notably in It’s A Wonderful Life – however, Haig has a brilliant way of juxtaposing the weird and wonderful with the ordinary and humdrum and he shows Nora Seed seeing how everyone is impacted by her existence in different forms. What is also great is that The Midnight Library is not twee. It is thoughtful and introspective but inviting and engaging.

Reading The Midnight Library has certainly made me more interested in reading more fiction from Matt Haig.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@matthaig1) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: How to Stop Time

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

‘I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.’

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.


How to Stop Time 
is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.

The Review

How to Stop Time is the story of Tom Hazard, a man with a rare medical condition which means that he ages at a much slower rate than most people. He is over 400 years old and has seen things that people have only read about in books. However, his condition puts I’m in danger – danger from scientists, eugenicists, by people who just couldn’t understand. So whilst Tom tries to hide under the radar – not make friends, not fall in love but this proves impossible when he gets a new job in a secondary school.

How to Stop Time is a time travel novel that meets a historical one. We travel through time with Tom Hazard and we meet a cast of historical figures from Shakespeare to F Scott Fitzgerald. At its heart, it is a story about relationships and how we need to keep people close to use regardless of the cost. 

If I am completely honest I am not a huge fan of fantasy novels and How to Stop Time didn’t float my boat the way I wanted it to. I love Matt Haig’s writing – in particular his non fiction/mental health books so I worry that maybe his fiction is not for me. How to Stop Time is written well but the genre as a whole is one that I tend to avoid.  

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@MattHaig1) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Come Again

Author: Robert Webb

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

You can’t fall in love for the first time twice . . .

Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart.

One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this is the day she first meets Luke.

But Luke is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same . . .

The Review

Kate Marsden is grieving. She is grieving hard. Her husband of 28 years – Luke – has just died of a brain tumour and all she wants to do is to join him on the other side.

However, when life gives her a second chance with Luke form the day she first met him at university Kate does everything in her power to save his life. Yet it comes at a cost.

Okay, so this was a risky little story for me because I am not a fan of Groundhog Day and I get myself well stressed out with time travel movies (except Back to the Future). I get really confused and my brain starts to melt a little bit when presented with this kind of story. However, Webb created a story in which the technicality of time travel or other dimensions is secondary to the heart of the story which is the relationship, the love story.

Come Again is broken down in to three parts and I will admit by the third part I was a little unsure as to where the story was going but there is an overriding element of fun that kept me reading. That is definitely the best way to describe Come Again – fun. If you can suspend your disbelief then you will definitely enjoy it.

Come Again by Robert Webb is available now.

For more information regarding Robert Webb (@arobertwebb) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Notes on a Nervous Planet

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

There are very few people who are as candid as Matt Haig is about mental health – in particular, his own. Matt Haig has spoken openly about how he has been suicidal, how he has panic attacks, how basic things that people take for granted are like mountains he has to climb on a daily basis. For this, I am grateful to Matt Haig.

As someone who suffers with anxiety, I know how easy it is to become introverted and to shut people out of my life due to my condition. I am lucky in the sense that I know the root of my anxiety and I can adapt my life around it (for full disclosures sake my anxiety centres on my Ulcerative Colitis and the locations of bathroom facilities which has led to a mild form of agoraphobia). However, it is rare that someone will speak so honestly about this unknown.

What is great about Notes on a Nervous Planet is that Matt Haig looks at all the bad aspects of mental health but he celebrates all the good stuff in life. He isn’t saying that by looking at all the greatness that life has to offer will change your anxiety or “fix” you but he is showing that there is a light at the end of the darkness.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@matthaig1) please visit www.matthaig.com.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: The Story Cure An A – Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise

Author: Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud

Pages: 369 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

The stories that shape our children’s lives are too important to be left to chance. With The Story Cure, bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin have put together the perfect manual for grown-ups who want to initiate young readers into one of life’s greatest pleasures.

There’s a remedy for every hiccup and heartache, whether it’s between the covers of a picture book, a pop-up book, or a YA novel. You’ll find old favourites like The Borrowers and The Secret Garden alongside modern soon-to-be classics by Michael Morpurgo, Malorie Blackman and Frank Cottrell-Boyce, as well as helpful lists of the right reads to fuel any obsession – from dogs or dinosaurs, space or spies. Wise and witty, The Story Cure will help any small person you know through the trials and tribulations of growing up, and help you fill their bookshelves with adventure, insight and a lifetime of fun.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

A few years ago I was off sick and bed bound for a few months and to cheer myself up I bought the book A Novel Cure – a book that acts as a guide for any ailment. If you have a tummy ache this book will direct you to a book that will make you feel better. And it really did. The novelty of the book was an element that made me feel better but equally it was great reading a book by likeminded book lovers that helped direct me to books I may never have come across.

When I realised that there was a second book that was aimed at a younger generation I couldn’t help but buy it. I love YA fiction and The Story Cure was equally, if not more, charming than its predecessor. The list of books with the accompanying illustrations was interesting and I definitely added a few to my TBR pile.

If you are struggling to choose what book to read next then these two books are a must have on your bookshelf.

The Story Cure: An A – Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise by Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud is available now.

For more information regarding Susan Elderkin (@susanelderkinUK) please visit www.susanelderkin.com.

For more information regarding Ella Berthoud (@Ellaberthoud) please visit www.ellaberthoud.com.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.