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I just finished one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read.  It truly felt like I was in this self- discovery journey.  Every time I tuned in to listen, I felt tired yet excited, almost as if I was the one going from one life to another.  I didn’t want to stop listening, fearing I’d miss something. I’m not sure if it’s because it was an audiobook or the physical book is as incredible printed, I don’t know, you tell me. it was engaging from the first word, It put my mind and imagination to work and it was such a good ride.

In The Midnight Library, we follow the life, death, and back to life of Nora, a British cat mom, who just learned that in her lowest moment, her cat was found dead on the street.  So as you can imagine, her day only got worse after this. Nora ultimately decided to end it all at midnight.

What Nora didn’t know, is that this was only the beginning.  She found herself in an endless library of books filled with the lives created by her every decision.  Without giving you all the twist and turns, Nora, gets to explore these lives and we get to go with her, and what a ride!

But in the end of course, she learns her lesson and so do we.  I probably should read this multiple times to get the full experience, but in this round of lives (through Nora’s eyes), I learned every decision I make creates a new destiny and that life is not just good or bad.  Every life has good AND bad moments.  No one life is full of happiness, even when that’s what it looks like for others, so that shouldn’t be our goal.  The goal should really be to live and be kind to yourself and others.

Like I said, I need to listen to this book more than once, but beyond that, I am committed to have this book in inventory always so I can recommend it to everyone who was looking for a new experience.

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My younger cousin is an avid reader. But lately she’s been calling herself a fake because she has been in a long reading slump . She is an English major with a huge to do list during the school year, which I blame for the reading block.  This summer she has been working with me on managing the bookstore inventory, but no matter how many books she touches, she can’t break her book slump, which baffles me.

So to help, we did some research and came up with some ideas for her to try (You know, for science). We searched online, since this happens to every book lover at least once in a lifetime, and found the following to be the most popular recommendations—maybe it can help you next time you notice your to be read (TBR) book stack has become another dust collector in your house.

# 1- Read an old favorite to get the juices going. She tried this one but she kept fighting the urge to jump to the good parts to get it over with. It took a lot of self control.

#2- Switch genre or author.  This was unsuccessful and it can be scary for many since change can be uncomfortable.  Some let luck guide them by trying a blind date with a book. This one can be a little risky for commitment fobs, which she is.  She tends to gravitate to strong female leads, enemies to lovers trope or when they unexpectedly catch feelings for each other. That’s her bread and butter and she’s sticking to it.

#3 - Change format, like book to audio. She thought at first her ADD wouldn’t allow her to focus long enough to follow the story line of an audiobook. But she actually found this enjoyable.  She listened To All Boys I Loved by Jenny Han for a few days, but again lost interest because it was a busy week.

#4- Another recommendation was to set goals. - but the quick answer to this was “Nope, that feels like work. “ which I agree, however for some setting a reading goal, like setting a walking goal, is motivating.  It gives them the push they need to get started.  A good reading goal would be to finish 100 books by end of year as part of your bedtime routine or to listen to one new audiobook every month while commuting to work or while working out.

#5- Start small. Find a story you can read in a weekend to then progress to the bigger books.

#6- Browse the children’s book section.  i.e. picture books? Which can either be very entertaining or just be one more way to get distracted.

#7- Visit your local library or bookstore and talk to other people about what they’re reading.  A book club could be just what you need to get you talking and reading, but for my cousin this would be a Summer thing because during school it would be hard to maintain with her schedule.

#8- Last but not least, I suggested to start in the middle. Usually the good part starts after we get introduced to the characters and plot, so if you jump to where plot thickens, you may get hooked and will have to go back to the beginning to understand how they got to this part. This one worked but not in getting her to go back to the start, but in grabbing her interest until the end, which we know is huge! She was not only hooked but couldn’t wait to keep reading. She felt like her old self, lost in a good story line.  She finished the book and picked a new one to keep it going, which is the best way to break a reading slump.

Once you start, don’t let the party stop! Could any of these help you?

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Historical novels are one of my favorites. History mixed with fiction it's the best combination.  I’ve learned about Cuban dictators, and Savannah sunken ships through these types of stories, and the Rose Code will go down as one of the best. 

There was so much going on as I read about Beth, Mav, and Sully.  They were hired to interpret communications from the Germans during WWII. Not only did I learn what this secret society did, but also how they kept some type of balance during war time in London.  These women fell in love, got married, and dared to dream of life after the war.  I also got to listen to a fictional affair with the future Prince Philip before he married our beloved Elizabeth.

This novel was jammed packed with events that most of us would not survive, like Beth's 3 years in an asylum. Falsely diagnosed and heavily drugged. She knew some had betrayed her and accused her of treason. No matter what, she never let go the hope her friends would show up and save her.

The girls lived to see days after the war, even after having lost so much (Mav and Francis deserved more time). They made lives for themselves but never forgot what united them, the work they did during the war and their sacrifices for king (or queen) and country.  They made beauty from the ashes left after the war.

There was a moment I felt only tragedy followed these women. They couldn't catch a break! I almost quit listening because the disasters just kept coming. I did take a break but I couldn't leave the story there, and I am glad I didn't. Of course, their lives was never the same, and I imagine that applied to everyone in the 1940s. People from all over the world felt the effects of this war, but to hear it from people so close to the events was incredible. I will keep looking for stories around this time because there were so many perspectives, and with different perspectives you get more captivating stories.

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