“Have you ever wished you could tell your favorite books just what they mean to you?” reads the first two lines of the blurb and, as a reader, you can’t help but think the book is going to resonate with you in so many ways. It does, just not as much as you had initially thought it would. But that’s not the author’s fault at all. She’s candid and honest and writes well too. The thing is, when you haven’t read all the books she talks about (who has heard of a book called The Calculating Book: Fun and Games With Your Pocket Calculator?) then you don’t know what and how to feel about it. And when reading is all about the different emotions it evokes, that kind of sucks.
In ‘Dear Fahrenheit 451’, the author’s debut work, Spence confesses her love for certain books as well as her satisfaction in breaking up with some works when their time comes. Covering books from a vast range of subjects and genres, Spence writes heartfelt letters to some of her absolute favorite titles like ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, ‘The Goldfinch’, and ‘Matilda’, while expressing her fury at romance novels by Nicholas Sparks, ‘The Twilight’ series, and ‘The Fifty Shades of Grey’ books by E.L. James. She expresses her exasperation and disappointment at seeing them get checked out constantly at the library while good books sat on the shelves.
Spence writes not only to individual titles but also things that are associated with it like the library in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the book collection she hopes to have in the future. It is while reading these letters that you find yourself vehemently agreeing with the author’s views, almost feeling like she has somehow gotten inside your head. You might not have agreed with how she felt about a particular book but her love for books is completely relatable and that makes you forgive Spence even for the useless and repetitive list of references, recommendations, and resources in the second half of the book. Yes, we know you love ‘The Virgin Suicides’, Ms. Spence. There’s really no need to tell us that over and over again. But then again, do we, as avid readers, ever stop talking about a book we love?
About the author
By her own confession, Annie Spence can read while doing almost anything else: walking, cooking breakfast, or pretending to be interested in a conversation. Spence has spent the last decade working as a librarian at various public libraries and currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband and son.
Book: Dear Fahrenheit 451 (A Librarians Love Letters + Break-up Notes to her Books)