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November 10, 2018

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks


Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence
Nonfiction
2017 Dreamscape Media, LLC
Read by Stephanie Spicer
Finished on January 6, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Librarians spend their lives weeding - not weeds, but books - books that have reached the end of their shelf life both literally and figuratively. They remove books that patrons no longer check out, and they put back books they treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbors, at cocktail parties - everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We hear her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda as well as her snarky break-ups with 50 Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveler's Wife feel like classics that are sure to strike a powerful chord.

Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on feminism, culture, health, poverty, childhood aspirations, and more. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover's birthday present, stocking stuffer, holiday gift, and all-purpose humor book.

Before we moved to Oregon last year, we spent quite a bit of time going through all our belongings, choosing the items we couldn't live without and discarding the extraneous clutter that we both had accumulated over the course of not only our married life together (30 years!), but of our entire lives. When I first started reading as an adult, I wanted to keep every single book I had ever read, but as the years progressed (and my insatiable appetite for new books continued to grow), I knew at some point I would have to get rid of some of my beloved books. Moving has always prompted us to purge a lot from our stacks, so we got to work, sorting book by book until we had a manageable amount to take with us. Now that we're all settled in, I can glance at my bookcases and see all of the books I have yet to read, as well as all my favorites, which I swear I'll read again one day. Reading Annie Spence's love letters to the books in her life has nudged me to do just that. 

I listened to the audio version of Dear Fahrenheit and I couldn't stop walking, it  was so entertaining! I'm sure I got strange looks from passersby as I chortled with uncontrollable laughter, walking along with my headphones on my head. I enjoyed the book so much that I bought a copy to read again, this time with my Post-It Notes in hand. (The downside of listening to an audiobook is the inability to mark passages to share in my reviews, so I'll just have to add an update to this post after I've read the book a second time.) I want to share the book with everyone in my book club and send copies to my former co-workers at Barnes & Noble. This is a great choice for book lovers of all types. Laugh out loud and nod-your-head in agreement stories, especially if you've worked in a library or in a bookstore.
A librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of letters to the books in her life.
Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, writes letters to books, not only at her library but also at home, at her neighbors, at cocktail parties—everywhere. In Dear Fahrenheit 451, we read her love letters to Just Kids and Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury, as well as her break-ups with The Giving Tree and Dear John. Her notes to The Goldfinch and The Time Traveler’s Wife feel like classics. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover's book. (From the author's website.)

8 comments:

  1. I've had this book on my list for quite a while to read. I'll get to it eventually and I know I'll like it. I'm making a little list of books about books that I want read next year. There are several out there.

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    1. Kay, I know this is one you'll enjoy! The colorful language may be a little irritating, but maybe it was more noticeable since I was listening rather than reading. I love books about books and will be eager to see your list, if you share it on your blog.

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  2. I love the cleaning out aspect of moving. This book sounds wonderful.

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    1. Kathy, the book is great. I can't wait to read it again. Maybe on our next camping trip since I can read a little at a time and not lose track of a plot.

      We have no plans to move for a long time, but I'm eager to clean out closets and cupboards again after the New Year. We always seem to acquire more stuff than we need.

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  3. Just loved this one on audio, too! I need to read it again in print :)

    Your chortling as you walked reminded me of when I was listening to Ann Patchett's "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage" and sobbing as I walked the beach. It was the essay about her grandmother...I got a lot of looks, both strange and sympathetic. Listening in public can be tough ;-)

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    1. JoAnn, wasn't it fun on audio?! Oh, I know about sobbing while listening to an audio book. I did that at the end of The Elegance of a Hedgehog and The Help. I sat in my driveway in my car after finishing The Help and had to pull myself together before going inside the house or my husband would've thought someone we knew had just died! Another one that made me laugh out loud as I was walking on the bike trail was Julie & Julia. Yes, listening in public can be tough.

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  4. And I am just the opposite. I seem to buy more and more. I love my books. My house isn't cluttered, but it is "furnished" with books. I rarely use the library - mostly for Kindle books, and the occasional book I don't want to buy, but do want to read.

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    1. Nan, I still have several bookcases that are completely full, so don't worry that I'm keeping any books! :)

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