Although I often set a GoodReads reading goal and talk about number of books read, I don’t actually care about the number. I am not a person who reads for any other reason than I like it. I like to read new stories, enjoy different perspectives, and gain new knowledge. I like to be lost in a story and escape, even for an hour or so.

I have read two books so far in 2022, each completely different from each other, and one I wouldn’t normally pick up. I recommend them both.

The Midnight Library

Despite the fact author Matt Haig has written a significant number of books, this is the first one I have read that is not a children’s story. I have read both a Boy Called Christmas and the Girl who Saved Christmas, along with a couple Truth Pixie books. Other than the Truth Pixie Goes to School, I have enjoyed them all.

I LOVED The Midnight Library. The entire concept is exceptionally interesting. In this case, Nora, the main character, decides she is done with a life full of missed opportunities and regrets, so she attempts to kill herself. She finds herself in the Midnight Library where she meets Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, who guides her through her book of regrets, a giant tome filled with both big and small regrets and the multitude of lives that could have been Nora’s if she chose differently. Nora gets to choose which life she wants and if she loves it, can stay in it. If not, she is transported back to the Midnight Library to find a new life.

“Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.”

While running through Nora’s lives and the knowledge she gleans from each of them, you can’t help wondering about your own choices. Great advice from Mrs. Elm.

The Girl who Smiled Beads, A Story of War and What Comes After

I don’t read a lot of autobiography (or biographies). I often read a few chapters and then put it down. I started and finished this one by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil in a few days.

Set at the beginning of the Rwanda massacre, when people started disappearing and her parents began talking in whispers, this memoir flips between the six years  Clemantine, who was six at the start of the massacre, and her older sister Claire spent migrating through seven African countries, and Clemantine’s life in the U.S. after she, Claire and her family are taken in as refugees and Clemantine is take in a family who treated her as their own.

The writing was good, the story is obviously terrible, but it’s also compelling. It made me think differently and view the situation differently. It made me understand more than I did before, although not really. Can you really understand when you haven’t lived through it yourself?

The Girl Who Smiled Beads offers a glimpse at one person’s story and her ability to survive and thrive, however, Clemantine also offers experience and thoughts about the overall refugee experience. While reading the book, I was thinking of Clemantine’s story, but also the stories of the thousands of other people displaced by war and hate.

A great read.

While this story is from Clemantine’s point of view, we learn a far bit about her sister, Claire, and her entrepreneurial spirt and her ability to ensure the safety of not only herself and Clemantine, but her growing family. I hope she also finds a beautiful life she deserves.