Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Louisa
Is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig your book of choice for this month’s book club meeting? Then come prepared to your next meeting with these thought-provoking The Midnight Library book club questions.
This beautiful story is about second chances and the choices we make. If you have read it, then you know just how much there is to talk about – which is why we’ve put together this list of book club discussion questions to help guide your conversation.
From the book’s themes of regret and finding happiness, to the fascinating concept of a library where each book is a different version of your life, I hope these questions will inspire insightful discussions and memorable conversations.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links.
Synopsis of The Midnight Library
The Midnight Library is a multi-award-winning novel by Matt Haig about a woman who suffers from low mental health and gets to see what life would be like had she made different choices in the past.
I loved this book so much and highly recommend it to anyone who might underestimate the importance of thinking on the bright side of life, and appreciating what you have.
When the protagonist Nora decides to end her life, she is taken to a place called The Midnight Library where she can choose a book, which has thousands of books about her life but with one thing different.
As she begins to read each book, she sees a different future each time. Each is beautiful and terrible in its own way…
This is a deep and meaningful book on a touchy subject, but Haig has written it with sincerity and deep emotion.
It won the Best Fiction Award at the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2020.
Related post: Books like The Midnight Library
Please note that the questions below contain spoilers of the book.
Is The Midnight Library Right For My Book Club Book?
You might be on the fence about whether to choose The Midnight Library as your book of choice for your book club, and that’s totally reasonable, it’s a story with a very deep and profound meaning and that’s not for everyone.
The Midnight Library explores themes of loneliness, not belonging or feeling like you belong, and of suicide.
The overall themes can be troubling for some people but can be eye-opening for others.
It’s like a modern-day The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, where the main protagonist is shown how their life would be different if they made other choices.
What I liked about The Midnight Library is how Matt Haig approached the topic of mental health in a delicate way.
According to what Wendy Jones, Ph.D., LMSW said in Psychology Today, Matt Haig’s portrayal of depression is “spot on.”
He has cleverly created this narrative where the protagonist has a warped perception of reality, and sees every scenario in her life as “negative and hopeless”.
The story follows their journey to change this perception. It does, eventually, have a happy ending, but the story is more about the journey than the end result.
If you’re thinking your group would enjoy a book that’s thought-provoking and would be comfortable opening up conversations about mental health, then The Midnight Library is a good choice for your book club.
Generic Book Club Questions for The Midnight Library
To kick off your book club discussion of The Midnight Library, here are some general questions that will encourage every member of your group to participate.
If you have a shy newcomer or someone who’s been hesitant to share their thoughts, these questions will help to create an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable speaking up.
- What was your opinion of the book? Did you like it or dislike it, overall?
- What were your expectations before reading The Midnight Library?
- How did The Midnight Library make you feel?
- What would you do if you ended up in The Midnight Library? How would you handle it?
- Which was the most interesting alternate reality in the book, in your opinion?
- Were there any characters that you felt an affinity to? Could you relate in any way?
- What do you think happens to Nora going forward? What’s next?
- What are the key principles you have learned from the book? What have you taken away from the story?
The Midnight Library Discussion Questions
After breaking the ice with some small talk, it’s time to delve into a deeper and more meaningful conversation about The Midnight Library.
To guide your book club discussion, come prepared with this list of thought-provoking questions that will help you and your group explore the book’s complex themes and ideas, and hopefully spark some insightful and engaging conversations.
- How did you feel once you finished?
- Why do you think it was so important for Nara to enter a library?
- Did this story make you feel differently about your own life? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Nora felt she had no other choice but to end her life? What pushed her over the edge, do you think?
- Mrs. Elm gives Nora the chance to undo her regrets. If you could undo your regrets, would you?
- Mrs. Elm was there when Nora’s mom passed away, but after school, she doesn’t have much to do with her life. Do you think Mrs. Elm had a big impact on Nora’s life?
- Why do you think Nora blamed everyone else for her unhappiness? How did this lead to her downfall?
- What do you think makes for a fulfilling life?
Educated Book Club Questions for The Midnight Library
There are so many themes and important concepts in this book, so if you want to dive deeper into the philosophy, then come armed with these educated The Midnight Library book club questions…
- Let’s discuss Nora’s family. What did you think of her relationship with her brother? Do you think she was self-sabotaging the relationship?
- Why do you think Nora saw her former school librarian? What was the significance there?
- What do you think Matt Haig meant when he wrote: “Want,’ she told her, in a measured tone, ‘is an interesting word. It means lack. Sometimes if we fill that lack with something else the original want disappears entirely.”
- When do you think Nora decided she really wanted to live?
- One of the major themes of this novel is regret. Do you think that regret hangs around with you forever, as Matt Haig illudes to in this book, or do you think we can get over our regrets?
- What was the purpose of the other slider, Hugo? What did his character bring to the story and how did he affect Nora’s way of thinking?
- Let’s talk about how Nora’s character progresses throughout the book. What are the biggest lessons she learns?
5 Suggestions for What to Read Next
Now that you have a great list of discussion questions for your book club meeting, it’s time to start thinking about what to read next.
To help you out, here’s a short list of fantastic book recommendations that I think will make for great discussions at your next meeting.
These books cover a variety of genres and themes, so there’s something for every type of reader in your group.
1. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Another book that has a storyline with layers and depth is Shadow of the Wind, the first book in a series (The Cemetery of Lost Books) of four books set in Barcelona, however, the first book has a concluding story so you don’t have to read the remainder of the series.
It follows a young boy named Daniel and his coming-of-age journey. After his mother passes, his father takes him to a place known as the Cemetery of Lost Books where he is told he can pick one book to take home.
He picks up a book by Julian Carax called ‘The Shadow of the Wind.’ It’s the most beautiful book he has ever read, and he treasures it for many years.
When one day he decides to find other books by the author, he learns that someone is trying to destroy all of Julian Carax’s work.
Determined to stop this from happening, and to learn more about the author, Daniel seeks to track down the author. Only doing so unravels more mysteries to solve…
What makes Shadow of the Wind such a great read for a book club is that it has a beautifully developed, coming-of-age story about a boy who is learning to love.
It’s quite a long read, so if your book club is weekly, then you might find it difficult to finish this book in that time frame. But if you have a monthly book club, it would be ideal.
Related post: Books like Shadow of the Wind
2. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Shwab
Another book that explores the concept of life and death is The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, which seeks to unravel complex ideas such as remembrance, death, and unconditional love.
Addie Larue is a woman who battles the inevitability of death and desperately wants to live forever. When presented with the chance to escape mortality, she accepts it, fully aware that it would mean living on without her beloved family and friends.
Three centuries come and go with her solitary life until the day she meets a man from her past in a bookstore. From then on, nothing will be the same again.
The novel is composed of poetic prose that will leave you mesmerized and messages that will stay with you long after you have finished reading this captivating story.
If you’re looking for a book similar to The Midnight Library that’s captivating and songful, and also covers similar themes of belonging and loneliness, then your book club may enjoy this book.
And for more similar books to The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, check out our complete guide here.
Read more: Giver of Stars book club questions…
3. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
If your book club would like to read another book with a well-developed protagonist, then A Man Called Ove is a great option.
This book follows the story of Ove, a grumpy old man whom the neighborhood has deemed “the bitter neighbor from hell”. However, there’s a lot more under the surface of Ove’s mean exterior.
Ove hasn’t had the best experiences with people. He has been conned and taken advantage of by people in the past. The only person he cared for, his wife, lost her life in a tragic accident.
These experiences have led to Ove having a hard shell and coming across as a curmudgeon to everyone in his neighborhood.
It’s not until a new family moves in next door and an unkempt cat enters his life that a different side of the man is revealed.
This popular best-seller was made into a Swedish movie in 2015. A Man Called Ove has also inspired an American movie titled A Man Called Otto, which was released in December 2022.
A Man Called Ove covers themes of friendship in adulthood, as well as friendships and compatibility between two people of different races and backgrounds.
This is a great book to read in a book club as it opens up conversations about class, prejudice, and society’s views on immigrants. You can also read more books like A Man Called Ove by checking out our full guide.
Related post: Book Club Questions for A Man Called Ove
4. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
Another great book to read in a book club that sparks up conversations about life and its meaning is The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Janos Jonasson, which is probably the longest title I’ve ever come across.
It follows the story of Allan Karlsson who is placed in a nursing home, but he doesn’t agree with the decision and makes his own escape through the window in his slippers.
Allan goes on a journey that is both heartwarming and poignant, highlighting the point that just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you can’t do things for yourself.
It has some parts that will have you laughing and other parts that will have you choked up.
If your book club would like something that sparks up a debate about how we treat the elderly, this would be a good option.
5. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
This one is slightly different from the other suggestions, but The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a story that can really spark up some deep conversations.
It follows the story of Alicia Berenson who seemingly had a perfect life. She was a famous painter and married one of the city’s most influential photographers.
But when Alicia’s husband returns home from work one night, she shoots him 5 times.
After that, she doesn’t speak another word.
The story follows the conversation between Alicia and her therapist, who seeks to uncover one of the biggest mysteries in London.
If your book club would enjoy a psychological thriller to mix things up, this is a story that will have you hooked with the suspense, and shocked by the twist at the end.
Read more: Books Like The Silent Patient
Final Word on The Midnight Library Book Club Questions
So there you have it, those were the best book club questions on The Midnight Library. I hope that these helped you start and drive the conversation at your next meeting.
If you had any interesting questions come up about this book, let me know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.