Book Reviews: Anxious People, Midnight Library & The Meaning of Mariah Carey

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Goodreads blurb: This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths. As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

My take: 4.5 out of 5. This is a hard book to judge. If i was rating on how easy it was to get into it, or how easy it was to read it would have to have a very low rating. But after procrastinating on reading it and going little by little, the second half of this book i devoured. But most importantly it is objectively a spectacular book. The writing is on point, character development is stupendous and the wit and humor is so well done. It is a very interesting analysis on the psyche of all of us, and a book that keeps you thinking long after you put it down. The way it evolves is also interesting, unexpected and kind of life affirming. Definitely worth a read and slugging through the first part to get to the end.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Goodreads blurb: Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better. In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. 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.

My Take: 5 out of 5. I really enjoyed this book. It was a perfect blend of substance with total enjoyment. Sometimes I feel the enjoyable books are a bit light, and the deep books take some effort. This was both and it flew by. It had a bit of everything that i like. If i was to utterly simplify this it is like a self help book in novel form. This is because it touches on so many deep psychology and personal realization issues that it is as insightful as many a self help book. However it does this in the umbrella or quite a beautiful novel and some compelling yet deeply hurting and flawed characters. A beautiful realization that our life is what we make of it and how are choices affect our lives. There were so many great passages but here are a few that i really liked:

“If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it. And don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise.”

“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.”

“A person was like a city. You couldn’t let a few less desirable parts put you off the whole. There may be bits you don’t like, a few dodgy side streets and suburbs, but the good stuff makes it worth-while.”

“And that sadness is intrinsically part of the fabric of happiness. You can’t have one without the other. Of course, they come in different degrees and quantities. But there is no life where you can be in a state of sheer happiness for ever. And imagining there is just breeds more unhappiness in the life you’re in.”

“The paradox of volcanoes was that they were symbols of destruction but also life. Once the lava slows and cools, it solidifies and then breaks down over time to become soil – rich, fertile soil.

I “read” this in audiobook and it flew by, and bonus points, the person who reads it is Carey Mulligan and her voice is butter.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

Goodreads blurb: It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me. This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side. Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.


my take: 3 out of 5. I love me some Mariah and this was a great audiobook for fans as it is read by her, and she does rif into signing ever so often which i loved. It also made me go back to my Mariah playlist and revisit my 90s! I had so much fun hearing this and i found her childhood backstory very interesting. However i did feel shortchanged in some things. There was so much childhood exposition yet her romantic life is done in a few minutes. Luis Miguel was like 2 paragraphs and her whole marriage to nick cannon less than a chapter. Oh and if you do not know who tanaka is, you might have blinked and missed her current romance. I think i wanted more gossip less childhood tragedy, but it was a great listen nonetheless.

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