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Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life

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A Gen-X librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life. 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 the ones that patrons no longer check out, and they put back the ones they treasure. A A Gen-X librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life. 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 the ones that patrons no longer check out, and they put back the ones 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 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.


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A Gen-X librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life. 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 the ones that patrons no longer check out, and they put back the ones they treasure. A A Gen-X librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life. 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 the ones that patrons no longer check out, and they put back the ones 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 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.

30 review for Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book was very entertaining. I think it might be the perfect book to help end a reading slump. If you need a variety of book options with a variety of backstories - and reasons to read or avoid - to get your reading juices flowing again, look no further! Spence covers at least a hundred books; each with a few pages or maybe just a paragraph. You can tell she had a hell of a good time putting this book together. I figure this must be similar to how I sound when someone asks me for book recomme This book was very entertaining. I think it might be the perfect book to help end a reading slump. If you need a variety of book options with a variety of backstories - and reasons to read or avoid - to get your reading juices flowing again, look no further! Spence covers at least a hundred books; each with a few pages or maybe just a paragraph. You can tell she had a hell of a good time putting this book together. I figure this must be similar to how I sound when someone asks me for book recommendations. I was happy that she mentions some books that I have read. I was very excited when she talked about Dandelion Wine - twice! Also, since she talks about a lot of books I have not read, I am gonna have to go out and add to my TBR (I'm looking at you The Virgin Suicides). I was a little worried when she mentioned some books I loathe (specifically Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- or, as I like to call it, Extremely Boring and Incredibly Sucky). What does this mean about the other books she recommends that I haven't read??? But, when she touches on books I have read and like as well (the afirementioned Dandelion Wine) or is spot on with her observions (hated Jane Eyre in high school, liked it a lot when I reread it this year), I have to give her the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we can't all have exactly the same taste in books, right!? I recommend this to all book lovers. Trust me, this book is every discussion you wish you were having right now and is just like every booklist you give your friends when they ask for a recommendation. Oh, and don't forget to love your library!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who sometimes gets so into a book that I find myself talking to the characters. "No, don't do that, not a good idea at all, or oh no don't open that door, etc,". Well how could I not love a book, written by a librarian who does in a way just that. Only she writes letters to the authors of favorite books, telling how much they have meant to her, letters of apology to those she has to weed from he shelves. Letters to children's authors of beloved favorites and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who sometimes gets so into a book that I find myself talking to the characters. "No, don't do that, not a good idea at all, or oh no don't open that door, etc,". Well how could I not love a book, written by a librarian who does in a way just that. Only she writes letters to the authors of favorite books, telling how much they have meant to her, letters of apology to those she has to weed from he shelves. Letters to children's authors of beloved favorites and even notes of apology to those authors of books she didn't or couldn't finish reading. Amusing, just plain fun, but done well even though I didn't agree with all her opinions on the books. I did add one from her list which she nicely provided at the end of the book. She almost, and I stress, almost convinced me to read The Virgin Suicides, but I have found that this author and I just don't click, though I know many love his books. Maybe I should write him a note of apology. No, I think not, he has gotten plenty of positive accolades that my lukewarm response to his novels, will probably not matter at all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    You can now find this review and more at Novel Notions. I’m so tempted to frame this review as a letter to the book in question. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I think I should. *Clears throat* Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, You are exactly what a book about books should be. You are witty and charming and irreverent, and I loved every second I spent with you. I borrowed you from the library, but I think I’m going to have to save up and buy a copy of you for myself, because yo You can now find this review and more at Novel Notions. I’m so tempted to frame this review as a letter to the book in question. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I think I should. *Clears throat* Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, You are exactly what a book about books should be. You are witty and charming and irreverent, and I loved every second I spent with you. I borrowed you from the library, but I think I’m going to have to save up and buy a copy of you for myself, because you absolutely rock. There’s this shelf in my study full of like-minded books who I’m sure would love to meet you. It’s crowded right now, but you deserve a place there. Some of your more disappointing compatriots will just have to move to the back so you can take centerstage. Your subtitle, A Librarian’s Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in her Life, was just such a perfect description of you. I’m a sucker for epistolary books as well as books about books, and libraries have always been my happy place, so you checked all kinds of boxes for me before I ever even cracked your cover. I was honestly kind of nervous to open you, because you looked so perfect on the surface that I was scared your beauty would turn out to be only skin deep. How wrong I was. Annie, the hilarious librarian who penned you, has radically different tastes in book than me. Her all-time favorite book is one of my least favorite books I’ve ever read, one of less than half a dozen I hated enough to rate one-star on Goodreads. The book made me so angry that I actually went and threw it in the trunk of my car when I finished reading it, intending to sell it back to the used book store. But I kept forgetting, and then the store closed down, so I threw it in the back of a closet instead of even tucking it in a back bottom corner of one of my shelves; I didn’t think it deserved the space. I’ve only ever loathed one book enough to set it on fire after reading it (gives stink eye to the charred remains of Joyce’s Ulysses), but this book ran a close second. After hearing Annie gush so much about it (The Virgin Suicides, in case anyone was wondering) while I perused your pages, I actually went and dug in the closet until I found my copy. I dusted it off, and gave it a tiny sliver of my shelf space. It might be in the back corner of a bottom shelf, but I decided that I might give it another try one day. All thanks to you, Dear. You really know how to entice a girl into lowering her literary inhibitions. Your pages also lauded Wuthering Heights, but my opinion on that one didn’t change. I do have some standards. Annie is a fan of juicy memoirs and cozy stories set in idyllic little towns. I’m an escapist, and prefer my books fantastical. But you made me consider reading outside my comfort zone. You’re smart and funny and a little judgmental, and I wish I still had you so I could flip through your pages and tell you all the ways your author and I are different readers, but why we would be friends anyway. She loves books just for being books, and so do I. There were a couple of your letters that I related to so hard. “Dear Magnificent Library Featured in Beauty and the Beast Movie” could have come straight from my brain. Belle was my hero when I was a little girl, because she was a brave, brainy brunette bookworm, and I wanted to be her. Plus, that library, y’all. I have a might need for that library. Also, “Dear Fancy Bookshelf at a Party I wasn’t Technically Invited To” was hilarious, and spending all of my time staring at a bookshelf while at someone else’s house is something I’ve totally done. All of that to say, I loved reading you. You made me giggle and rethink books I hated and remember books I loved. You added books to my gigantic reading list, which I’m not positive I should be thanking you for, since it would take me four lifetimes to read the books already on that list. But most of all, thanks for just being you, Dear Fahrenheit 451. You were a pleasure to read, and I’m totally adding you to my Christmas list. Hope to see you again soon, Celeste

  4. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Annie Spence, the public librarian, is weeding out books, writing love- or goodbye letters to each one, and seduces us, the cranky misanthropic bibliophiles into reading more books by adding even more fuel to boost our fires with her recommendations. She talks to books and book shelves - her best friends, even at parties:But you. You’re an inspiration. You’ve really thought yourself out. Your pink shelf, especially. Valley of the Dolls, a Marie Antoinette bio, and Chanel and Her World. Beauty an Annie Spence, the public librarian, is weeding out books, writing love- or goodbye letters to each one, and seduces us, the cranky misanthropic bibliophiles into reading more books by adding even more fuel to boost our fires with her recommendations. She talks to books and book shelves - her best friends, even at parties:But you. You’re an inspiration. You’ve really thought yourself out. Your pink shelf, especially. Valley of the Dolls, a Marie Antoinette bio, and Chanel and Her World. Beauty and controversy—I think that’s what you’re saying there. Is that what you’re saying? Or is it like in college when you went to a creative writing workshop and everybody’s going on about how postmodern a story is, but it turns out the printer just collated the pages out of order?Outspoken she is about the no-no's. Like this one: Better Homes and Gardens Dieting for One, Though you sit among my Martha Stewarts and kitschy old cookbooks now, I found you in the free-book bin. Because the relative of whoever died and left you in their house looked at you and thought, “Here’s another cookbook from the 1980s with disgusting food photography and an excessive addition of fruit to meat dishes.” I’m going to give it to you straight: that person was not wrong. Your title is one strategic ellipsis away from a Katherine Heigl rom-com about a woman who falls in love with her produce man (Paul Rudd) on her quest to reinvent herself (aka lose weight), even though she was originally gunning for her Bikram yoga instructor (Channing Tatum), except we already know from the trailer that she farted in class and blew her chances—pun intended. “Thanks for the dietary fiber, Paul Rudd! Now I’ll never be the hot yoga lady at my class reunion!” The author is a must-have friend! That one friend who writes you lively, quirky, funny emails about books you should read and you knowwwww you're going to do it, because she's that bubble in the blood that lifts you up to new heights of happiness and good living. Yes, we all need a friend, AND LIBRARIAN, like her: the whole bag of fuck, shit, gah, amazeballs, skeezeballs, that is Annie Spence. She's intelligent, well-read in all genres, hilariously funny and very sweet. I suspect that she might be 'hyperempathetic' herself too! It takes one to know one, right? Her beautiful, endearing ode to Anne Frank is one good example. Man, she almost made me cry! Seriously. She advises you to read a book despite the sometimes bad covers - 'the creepy beautiful', but often 'weird as shit' cover art killing any desire to read the content. Blind Date: Good Books with Bad Covers. The following book covers aren’t actually bad (psst—some of them are), they just don’t do their pages justice. So if you chance upon some of these books and you like their summary but they don’t look so hot up front, give ’em a gander anyway. They are more than assaults the eye. If you are one of those people who is entertained by death spirals of unrelenting hopelessness, you will find recommendations in this book, such as: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, p. 80 Have I read you before? No, sir. But I know all about your southwestern militias and your dead-baby trees and your Apache scalps. I know it all, compadre. I know It All. Because my husband won’t stop talking about you. She scores a bull's eye in my book for mentioning the Lysistrata (This reference convinced me that Annie Spence is an excellent, way above average librarian.): Book Hookups: Ménage à Livre (You and Two Books), p. 188 The Uncoupling (not a Gwyneth Paltrow memoir) tells the story about the women in one small town who one by one lose their desire for sex right after the high school drama department starts rehearsing Lysistrata for the school play (in the play, the women withhold sex so that the men will end a war). And if you did not know it, The Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes in 411 BCE, is probably the first comedy ever to be performed on stage (in Athens), about the women of a community who wanted to end the Peloponnesian War by denying men some whoopy whoop whoop in the hay. She suggests a few hundred books I have not read, but one other book we have in common is Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever. Quite a read indeed. I've read several of her suggestions, such as Karen Joy Fowler books (I've read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club), but look forward to the others I did not know about. I haven't listed them all yet. Another one I really enjoyed was Jade Dragon Mountain (Li Du Novels #1) by Elsa Hart. I'm going to find the sequel. Forgot about it. If there's one thing this book taught me, it is wordart. Expressions such as 'moony goony nonsense', 'skeazy', 'shittily', 'hyperempathy', Upper-Crusty-Mucky-Mucks of fiction writers, and 'Recovery Reads'. I would love for all these expressions to stick to memory forever, but alas, the chances are grim! :-)) Oh yes, you've heard about verbal diarrhea, right? But have you heard of pen puke? Oy, this book provides a wealth of new ideas to use in reviews :-)) PEN PUKE! ROTFL !!! You will learn about the difference between Dystopian and Utopian reads, and new genres such as Ergodic literature. But wait, those feel-good reads are now called Recovery Reads, thanks to Annie. A new book-shelf. Yes. Recovery Reads: A Book Lover’s Hair of the Dog, p. 226 Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett: When you get into a cynical reading funk and everything you pick up seems to have the word “dystopian” in the summary, what you need is a book about someone who’s just as much of a cranky misanthrope as you—and learns to love life again. The trouble is, it’s hard to find a book with that premise that’s not been touched by the pen of ole Pappy Sappy. (Pappy Sappy is an old man-fairy that sneaks into writers’ offices in the night to do a little maudlin’n’. He lives at Nicholas Sparks’s house.) You’ll get none of that with Jincy Willett’s darkly upbeat novel (that’s a thing), Amy Falls Down, about an older writing professor who lives as a hermit and has stopped creating stories. I have bookmarked a gazillion books from Annie's recommendations. As a public librarian, she addresses all interests, passions, genres, adding some weird and wonderful books. She scored another triple stars for mentioning Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool. My word, what a kindred spirit you are, Annie! Under the weird and wonderful, she added The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, which I loved too. She dotes on the Goldfinch by Donna Tart, which I did not, but her greatest favorite book in fifteen years is The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, which she referenced everywhere. And I mean E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E! (And nope, I don't want to read it.) As an after thought: We all compile lists of our books with a few notes to each one in our annual summary of reads on GR, right? And we find books in each other's shelves with great reviews to convince us. We sometimes indulge in books such as: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster OR How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren AND EVEN books such as An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, to find new titles for perusal. None of them will give you the thrills and giggles like Annie Spence's lists. She is one of those librarians that might get the DUH-generation (those lost generations who were born with their earphones attached to their brains and connected to social media on the other end) into the wonderworld of libraries and reading again. She addresses all age groups, all interests seamlessly, without pontification or being verbose. She is, in fact, a brilliant narrator and writer. Yep, this book had me in fits of laughter, and it's not only going onto the Recovery Read-shelf, but also the chicken-soup-for-the-soul shelf. From one university researching librarian to another public librarian: HIGH FIVE, ANNIE SPENCE!!! You've got what it takes, girl! Go get 'em! Uhumm, did I mention that you should really read this book? Oh, you got it. Okay then. Just read it, okay? Only 244 pages. A breeze, in more ways than one!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I am a huge fan of books on books. I even have a shelf for them in Goodreads! This was a great one, completely without the pretentiousness that can sometimes be a problem from well-intentioned readers, but that is little surprise - Annie Spence is a librarian! The first two thirds of the book are letters to her favorites (or break-up letters to books she can't see anymore), in different formats and approaches so the reader doesn't get bored. The last third, my favorite, are annotated book recomm I am a huge fan of books on books. I even have a shelf for them in Goodreads! This was a great one, completely without the pretentiousness that can sometimes be a problem from well-intentioned readers, but that is little surprise - Annie Spence is a librarian! The first two thirds of the book are letters to her favorites (or break-up letters to books she can't see anymore), in different formats and approaches so the reader doesn't get bored. The last third, my favorite, are annotated book recommendation lists with fun themes. I added a bunch of books to my to-read list, and you will too. It's Book Lust TNG, with a more casual tone. Thanks to the publisher for providing an early copy through Edelweiss. The expected publication date is 26 September 2017.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I bought this small hardcopy book. I swear it smiles back at me. I found myself smiling on every page ... Taking a few hours to enjoy this book is like ‘readers-crack’. Its a harmless drug-induced -organic- sensation-satisfaction. I wonder though...do other readers finish Annie Spence’s ( adorable dedicated librarian), epistolary volume with a desire to write your own? I fantasized a little. A little gem for readers.....what’s not to like?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    This year the nonfiction book club here on goodreads is having a group reading challenge- see which team can read the most pages by the end of the year. I think that is the only thing that kept me from abandoning this book half way through. Detroit librarian Annie Spence has written letters to books as a way to encourage people to use their library and if not from the library to become better readers. With that point, I applaud her. I love libraries; I go to my local branch at least twice a week This year the nonfiction book club here on goodreads is having a group reading challenge- see which team can read the most pages by the end of the year. I think that is the only thing that kept me from abandoning this book half way through. Detroit librarian Annie Spence has written letters to books as a way to encourage people to use their library and if not from the library to become better readers. With that point, I applaud her. I love libraries; I go to my local branch at least twice a week and I have actual conversations with the librarians. It is a vital part of my life. Yet, Spence’s writing style was juvenile and turned me off. Maybe this was deliberate as she attempted to reach the average American reader, but, whatever the intention, it did not mesh with me as a reader. I am constantly on my kids’ case that using “like” when speaking formally is not appropriate. Spence includes “like” on more than one occasion. That did it for me. She does give readers many new to them books to choose from so I give her kudos for that. Otherwise, I am thankful that this on paper novel idea for a book is over. 2.5 stars (because 2 stars for a book about libraries would not be fair)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    5++++++ I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. The entire time I was reading it those words were running through my head over and over and over. Most of the book is letters written by Annie Spence to various books, many on the shelves of libraries where she has worked, or book-related items she has encountered. The last fifth or so of Dear Fahrenheit 451 contains books recommendations, excuses for staying home so you can read, books about librarians, and her all-time favorite reads. Upon finishing the book, my fi 5++++++ I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. The entire time I was reading it those words were running through my head over and over and over. Most of the book is letters written by Annie Spence to various books, many on the shelves of libraries where she has worked, or book-related items she has encountered. The last fifth or so of Dear Fahrenheit 451 contains books recommendations, excuses for staying home so you can read, books about librarians, and her all-time favorite reads. Upon finishing the book, my first impression was how well-read Spence is. It’s truly impressive the range of books she covers in this gem. My second thought is that I wish she was my local librarian. Her humor, quality of character, thoughts on various books, open-mindedness, and her absolute love of reading shone through on each and every page. In addition, she references things like The Cutting Edge (one of my all-time favorite movies), loves Frog and Toad and does not like Nicholas Sparks or Twilight. There are places we diverge: I love To Kill a Mockingbird (she does not), and I am not sure her all-time favorite book, The Virgin Suicides, would be for me. But those are minor details. Dear Fahrenheit 451 is clever in so many ways. First and foremost, the format is of the book is ingenious. Next, Spence signs each letter to her respective subject with a closing word or more frequently phrase that directly ties in with her letter. Writing to a book on popcorn that was written in 1976 and is headed to the library book sale, she signs off with “Stay A-Maize-ing”. Ending a letter to a book from the 1980’s about finding your color palette, she ends with “Stay Golden (unless you’re supposed to wear silver tones)”. Last, the top of each new letter contains the broad subject matter and author of the book (if the letter is written to a book) and then includes a witty reference or two for the more specific subject matter. In the letter written to the Twilight Series, the second description says “Me, Bite” and in her letter to a Cathy Cartoon Collection, the description is “Chocolate and Feminism, Aack!”. I didn’t pick up on how clever those were originally, and I had to go back and re-read the ones that I missed. Dear Fahrenheit 451 ranks at the top of my list for 2017 reads, and I plan to re-read it again very soon. When I do so, I am sure I will pick up on references that I missed the first time around. The beauty of the format is that it is easy to go back and re-read certain letters when there is not time to read the entire book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough; it is a sheer joy to read. Thanks Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of Dear Fahrenheit 451. All opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    I listened to this audio and found it to be delightful! A book of letters to books, lists of book recommendations and pairings, and charming anecdotes about librarians and library patrons. A lot surprised me here: the tone, which is kind of cool librarian who is kind of sarcastic and swears a lot but can be laugh-out-loud funny and also touching and serious, and says “and” a lot and “kind of” and “see how I did that”...see how I did that? That sentence is kind of the way the whole book sounds on I listened to this audio and found it to be delightful! A book of letters to books, lists of book recommendations and pairings, and charming anecdotes about librarians and library patrons. A lot surprised me here: the tone, which is kind of cool librarian who is kind of sarcastic and swears a lot but can be laugh-out-loud funny and also touching and serious, and says “and” a lot and “kind of” and “see how I did that”...see how I did that? That sentence is kind of the way the whole book sounds on audio. Big long run-on sentences as if she can’t express her love for books in a big enough way. And I kind of loved it. It was light and girlfriendish, mostly. I was surprised at how many books I have either read or at least know of, though of course not the ones on blood spatter patterns or internal cat anatomy. I look forward to getting the actual book from the library , my favorite place to be and visit, just to add her many exciting suggestions to my reading list. I say give this a try. You will know very quickly if you love it or find it annoying...and if you listen to it on audio, you will find out the proper pronunciation of Eugenides, which I’ve been pronouncing incorrectly forever. If nothing else, skip to her letter to the Children’s Section of the library. It will melt your heart. 4.5 stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Warm, funny and filled with a bit more salty language than you’d expect from a librarian, this is utterly delightful reading! Yes, the epistolary format is one of my favorites so I was drawn to it from the title. And my love of libraries and librarians knows no bounds. More than that, though, in this librarian’s hands these letters are often moving, sometimes snarky and always intelligent. It’s an eclectic collection of books and a fun romp through old favorites, new titles to search out and hea Warm, funny and filled with a bit more salty language than you’d expect from a librarian, this is utterly delightful reading! Yes, the epistolary format is one of my favorites so I was drawn to it from the title. And my love of libraries and librarians knows no bounds. More than that, though, in this librarian’s hands these letters are often moving, sometimes snarky and always intelligent. It’s an eclectic collection of books and a fun romp through old favorites, new titles to search out and head nodding agreement on some questionable books. I wanted to quote from this book to everyone I knew and initially I couldn’t stop reading the letters, more, more, more, but then I found myself tiring of the format so I suggest you do what I eventually settled on: pick this up when you need just a little literature with a side dollop of sarcasm and a whole lot of affection. How much did I love this book? I read it twice.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    A very entertaining and frequently amusing book written in the form of a conversation between a librarian and her books. There are books she vows to love forever and ones that she used to love but now finds she has to abandon as she has changed. There are a few (some of which I really agreed with) that she cannot abide and wishes into the rubbish bin. It was fun although I did not always agree with her tastes. She was also much more widely read than me and there were quite a few books and authors A very entertaining and frequently amusing book written in the form of a conversation between a librarian and her books. There are books she vows to love forever and ones that she used to love but now finds she has to abandon as she has changed. There are a few (some of which I really agreed with) that she cannot abide and wishes into the rubbish bin. It was fun although I did not always agree with her tastes. She was also much more widely read than me and there were quite a few books and authors I have never heard of! Towards the end of the book there are pages of suggestions of books to read. I took note of quite a few of them. This was a clever idea written by a clever librarian. Amusing, informative and a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Dear Annie Spence, You’re well on your way to being the next Nancy Pearl, girlie. Your book recommendations are amazeballs!* How have you read so many books that I’ve never even heard of?! (And I read 300 books a year.) Thanks to you I’ve instantly added 13 books to my TBR at a time when I’m desperately trying to cull it. Argh! [*Here’s proof: I finished your book this morning; this afternoon I walked to the library to borrow one of your recommended novels, Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever, to take o Dear Annie Spence, You’re well on your way to being the next Nancy Pearl, girlie. Your book recommendations are amazeballs!* How have you read so many books that I’ve never even heard of?! (And I read 300 books a year.) Thanks to you I’ve instantly added 13 books to my TBR at a time when I’m desperately trying to cull it. Argh! [*Here’s proof: I finished your book this morning; this afternoon I walked to the library to borrow one of your recommended novels, Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever, to take on a short break to Amsterdam later in the month.] Anyway, gotta be honest here: I wasn’t digging the snarky, sweary style of the letter section of your book. True, I thought it was super clever how you used the epistolary format to do so many different things – say sayonara to books you were weeding from your public library’s stock, declare undying love for The Virgin Suicides and other faves, express mixed feelings about books you abandoned or didn’t get the appeal of, and so on – but, I dunno, the chatty, between-girlfriends style was irking me. And that was before you slated a book written by my high school crush’s father. Awkward. Not gonna lie, I was heading towards a 2-star rating. But then I got to Part II, where you really start to channel Ms. Pearl and the authors of The Novel Cure with these terrifically original suggestions for themed and paired reading. Here’s books to read after making various excuses for not joining a social event, recommended otherworldly reads, tailored picks for hooking in a non-reading partner, novellas vs. chunksters, aka “Worth the Weight,” etc. I freakin’ loved it all. (And the article I wrote for Bookmarks magazine last month on books featuring libraries only mentioned two of your picks – Whew!) I’ll be holding on to your book for when I next need to locate a cozy “recovery read,” a sci-fi novel I think I can handle, a couple of books on Jonestown, or whatever, really. When’s your full-length Book Lust-style thematic book recommendations guide coming out?? Happy reading until then! Love, Bookish Beck (3.5 stars, rounded up)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne Bogel

    This book was a delightful surprise. In this debut, Detroit librarian Spence writes love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life and in her library's stacks. (The last 20% of the book is not letters, but the letters were my favorite part.) Imagine a younger Nancy Pearl, with a few f-bombs and a lot more snark. Don't miss the adorable hardcover version; it's a beauty and would make an excellent gift for your favorite book-lover. This book was a delightful surprise. In this debut, Detroit librarian Spence writes love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life and in her library's stacks. (The last 20% of the book is not letters, but the letters were my favorite part.) Imagine a younger Nancy Pearl, with a few f-bombs and a lot more snark. Don't miss the adorable hardcover version; it's a beauty and would make an excellent gift for your favorite book-lover.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    Don't take my 3 star rating the wrong way; I really, really liked this book a lot, and enjoyed every word. But while it was funny, and I found myself nodding and laughing at her ideas and remarks, it didn't seem to reach the emotional level that calls for a 4 or 5. Loved her irreverence and salty language, and, of course, it's a book about books. Favorite quote about people who don't like to read: "We're librarians. We don't judge. We pity. " Don't take my 3 star rating the wrong way; I really, really liked this book a lot, and enjoyed every word. But while it was funny, and I found myself nodding and laughing at her ideas and remarks, it didn't seem to reach the emotional level that calls for a 4 or 5. Loved her irreverence and salty language, and, of course, it's a book about books. Favorite quote about people who don't like to read: "We're librarians. We don't judge. We pity. "

  15. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    I loved this book! Each chapter is either a love letter or a break-up note to specific books and/or genres. It's the perfect book to have on your nightstand (or in my case, on my Hoopla app) to dip into for a chapter or two at a time. I've had no time to sit and read this week, and only short bursts of time to listen to an audiobook, so for me it was the perfect time to read this gem of a book. The audiobook is read by the author and her comedic timing was perfect, making an amusing book even mo I loved this book! Each chapter is either a love letter or a break-up note to specific books and/or genres. It's the perfect book to have on your nightstand (or in my case, on my Hoopla app) to dip into for a chapter or two at a time. I've had no time to sit and read this week, and only short bursts of time to listen to an audiobook, so for me it was the perfect time to read this gem of a book. The audiobook is read by the author and her comedic timing was perfect, making an amusing book even more amusing. She blows the stereotypes of librarians out the window. It's perfect for any book lover and laugh-out-loud funny. It's not only a hoot, you will find yourself adding to your tbr list - and feeling validated for the books you loved and the ones you didn't. My one complaint is the use of profanity. the book didn't need it and it felt like the author was trying too hard. Or maybe she really does talk like that all the time. In any case, I felt it was jarring and out of place.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ammar

    Read this during one sitting. It's written really well. The author a librarian writes letters to different books. Books from her childhood. Books from her workplace. Books from home. Books that are being thrown out of circulation . It's funny, quirky, and any book lover would enjoy it tremendously. Read this during one sitting. It's written really well. The author a librarian writes letters to different books. Books from her childhood. Books from her workplace. Books from home. Books that are being thrown out of circulation . It's funny, quirky, and any book lover would enjoy it tremendously.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    4 STARS! Dear Fahrenheit 451 was a fun and quirky romp of a book! The writing was funny, smart and well done. I got a lot more recommendations on books to read that I really didn’t need. Oy vey, my want-to-read list did not need to get bigger! But I enjoyed Annie Spence's catalog of books she’s loved over the years and ones that didn’t work for her. Even librarians are picky on favorite books! I did audio on this one and I enjoyed Annie relaying lots of great new books to check out. She was informati 4 STARS! Dear Fahrenheit 451 was a fun and quirky romp of a book! The writing was funny, smart and well done. I got a lot more recommendations on books to read that I really didn’t need. Oy vey, my want-to-read list did not need to get bigger! But I enjoyed Annie Spence's catalog of books she’s loved over the years and ones that didn’t work for her. Even librarians are picky on favorite books! I did audio on this one and I enjoyed Annie relaying lots of great new books to check out. She was informative, funny and I enjoyed listening to her read her book. If you’re a book lover, looking for new ideas for a book or a librarian (I’m sure you’ll really love this!), then look no further then checking this book out.

  18. 4 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    This was a clever gimmick, but just wasn’t that funny, though she was clearly trying REALLY hard to be. But, don’t let me deter you, it’s possible I’m just a grouch.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is an entertaining book that can be read in small (or large) bites as public librarian Annie Spence writes love letters to her favourite books or break up letters to those she is weeding out of the library. You may not agree with all her comments or choices, but as we all know every reader if different and she explains her reasons in a light, sassy and sometimes nerdy style that won't offend anyone. I loved the extra bits she slipped in such as her discussion with a fancy bookshelf at a par This is an entertaining book that can be read in small (or large) bites as public librarian Annie Spence writes love letters to her favourite books or break up letters to those she is weeding out of the library. You may not agree with all her comments or choices, but as we all know every reader if different and she explains her reasons in a light, sassy and sometimes nerdy style that won't offend anyone. I loved the extra bits she slipped in such as her discussion with a fancy bookshelf at a party she technically wasn't invited to, her speculation on what sort of books the pot smoking dude in the apartment upstairs likes to read. Part II of the book also contains some fun sections such as excuses to give your friends so you can stay home and read, books that to encourage your non-reading lover to read, books about librarians, and good books hiding behind bad covers. Many of Annie's favourites are mine too but there were also many I hadn't heard of and I came away with quite a few suggested reads on my tbr. Definitely one for lovers of books.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Annie Spence is a librarian who's written a little book filled with letters to other books. There are mooshy love letters, Dear John letters, and just plain I-hate-you-get-lost letters: Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian - They can't get enough of you. They read your first version. They'll read you. And in between they will have no desire to read anything else. It's like, without you, they would just rather be illiterate. It makes me want to shake readers and scream: YOU'RE SURROUNDE Annie Spence is a librarian who's written a little book filled with letters to other books. There are mooshy love letters, Dear John letters, and just plain I-hate-you-get-lost letters: Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian - They can't get enough of you. They read your first version. They'll read you. And in between they will have no desire to read anything else. It's like, without you, they would just rather be illiterate. It makes me want to shake readers and scream: YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY GREAT LITERATURE AND THIS SHIT ISN'T EVEN THAT DIRTY! Spence made me made me laugh, smile, and nod in agreement. After all, at the library where I work, I encounter patrons like this on an almost daily basis: . . . folks who can remember each of the eight hundred Harlequin titles they've read, but forget every Friday that we close at 5:00. EVERY Friday, dammit. And, then I sniffled over her heartbreaking letter to Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, which lists unfulfilled wishes for poor Anne: That she could have seen her name in print. That she could have had a long stretch. That she could have had grandchildren who rolled their eyes at each other when she spoke of the war. That she could have fallen in love with a handsome man who one day plucked a whisker from her chin, to which she could have responded,"It's hell getting old." And I wish they could have had a good laugh about that. The last section of the book is filled with essays about books, and suggestions for trying different genres, and lists of books to read - all those things that make a reader's heart go pittety-pat. This was a true happy fun-time book for me, and I highly recommend it for all book lovers.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    Caveat for some: For a very few books there are spoilers, and in one or two cases I consider them major. I normally hate spoilers but for some reason I didn’t care here and I don’t remember their details now that I’ve finished the book. I think I remained unperturbed because except for one or two books, I’d either already read the books or think I will either never read them or won’t read them for a very, very, very long time. It was actually wonderful to read her takes about the books I have re Caveat for some: For a very few books there are spoilers, and in one or two cases I consider them major. I normally hate spoilers but for some reason I didn’t care here and I don’t remember their details now that I’ve finished the book. I think I remained unperturbed because except for one or two books, I’d either already read the books or think I will either never read them or won’t read them for a very, very, very long time. It was actually wonderful to read her takes about the books I have read. 5 stars! 5 stars! 5 stars! 5 stars! 5 stars! I love this book! What a joy it is. It’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve read for quite a while. It’s so much fun. It’s a clever, hilarious, well written, and a “Why didn’t I write this?!!!” book. It’s a hoot (and a good resource and interesting) from start to finish. Even reading the Contents page had me laughing and eager to read the book’s very short esssays. All the pieces are short, many very short, and that makes this book easy to read for short periods of time and when concurrently reading other books. That said, it was addictive and hard to put down. There are two different distinct sections and enough variety of tone and content that reading it cover to cover would have been pleasurable too, but I did read it at the same time as I was reading other books. I did add some books to my to read list because of books mentioned in this book, though sometimes I chose not to stop and write down future book ideas. It’s not as htough my to-read list needs more books and I’m trying to get more discriminating about which books to add to it. These pieces did remind me though how I rarely find alcoholic beverages/drinking stories amusing, and there are several of those included. Luckily, they’re a small enough portion of the book that I wasn’t bothered; it’s just they weren’t parts I particularly enjoyed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Britany

    I picked this up on audio and it filled my booknerd soul. For lovers of books, this one fits all my requirements. When I first heard about this one, I assumed (wrongly) that it would cover a few coveted books that this author loved or hated. She covers so many books that GoodReads has curated a list of them all. (close to 200) She does quick essays to each of these and leaves us at the end with a huge list of recommendations based on different subtypes of readers. It was just lovely. Some essays I picked this up on audio and it filled my booknerd soul. For lovers of books, this one fits all my requirements. When I first heard about this one, I assumed (wrongly) that it would cover a few coveted books that this author loved or hated. She covers so many books that GoodReads has curated a list of them all. (close to 200) She does quick essays to each of these and leaves us at the end with a huge list of recommendations based on different subtypes of readers. It was just lovely. Some essays were snarky, some were poignant, and some were sad. She incorporates her familial connections, books she grew up with and books that are flat out weird. She did blur the lines between books on her personal shelf vs books on the public library shelf that was confusing at times. She managed to mention so many books and not give away any spoilers on them (a huge bookish pet peeve of mine). I really enjoyed this book and the narration was excellent. This may be one I need to have in my personal collection.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Annie Spence is a fun, hip librarian whose letters about books are sassy and irreverent. She tries awfully hard to be funny. I would rate this higher but found I could only read 1 or 2 pages before it felt gimmicky and irritating. Still...in small doses I liked it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I did not care for this one at all. For all the hype and love it's been given on the internet, I was disappointed. I don't mind a good snarky read, but this one lacked respect and balance. By the end I was skimming and glad it was done. I did not care for this one at all. For all the hype and love it's been given on the internet, I was disappointed. I don't mind a good snarky read, but this one lacked respect and balance. By the end I was skimming and glad it was done.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is a laugh-out-loud book about books by a book lover. If you love books, have fond memories of books you've read in your life, and/or keep lists of what you read, then at a minimum you'll be entertained by Spence's observations (even if you don't completely share her taste in books). I loved hearing Spence talk about her favorites, ridiculous books that are past their prime, and *so many books* I've never heard of (but will now have to look up). For better or worse, there's not a narrative a This is a laugh-out-loud book about books by a book lover. If you love books, have fond memories of books you've read in your life, and/or keep lists of what you read, then at a minimum you'll be entertained by Spence's observations (even if you don't completely share her taste in books). I loved hearing Spence talk about her favorites, ridiculous books that are past their prime, and *so many books* I've never heard of (but will now have to look up). For better or worse, there's not a narrative arc in this story -- it's simply a collection of "letters" Spence pens to various books. On the plus side, a reader could pick this up and randomly choose a chapter to read for a good laugh. Read in its entirety over the couse of a couple of days, the book felt a bit monotonous (especially when hearing about "The Virgin Suicides" for the fifth time). Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I really enjoyed this audiobook -- A book about books!! Annie Spence literally writes love letters to books she loves and breakup letters to books she doesn't. It's funny at times and heartwarming at other times. She's the fun librarian - full of profanity and snark! The letter to "The One Hour Orgasm" was hilarious!! I didn't know a lot of the books she discussed, but that didn't take away any of my love for this book. She also gives you books recommendations and different book lists based on c I really enjoyed this audiobook -- A book about books!! Annie Spence literally writes love letters to books she loves and breakup letters to books she doesn't. It's funny at times and heartwarming at other times. She's the fun librarian - full of profanity and snark! The letter to "The One Hour Orgasm" was hilarious!! I didn't know a lot of the books she discussed, but that didn't take away any of my love for this book. She also gives you books recommendations and different book lists based on certain topics. I particularly loved the list based on books about librarians - I added a lot to my TBR from this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I laughed out loud at times at the funny, profane, snarky and often passionate letters by Annie Spence to books she has read. The books ranged from kids- to adult-interest, and as if I didn’t have enough books to read for at least the next ten years, Annie Spence has convinced me to check out a few more.

  28. 4 out of 5

    BookChampions

    NONFICTION--Spence, Annie --Librarians, Snarky --Letters, Love and Break-up --Trying Too Hard Dear Dear Farhenheit 451, When I first saw you across the cell phone screen, on that lovely Instagram post a few months ago, I admit I was a bit taken with you. I added you immediately to my GoodReads To-Read list! How could I resist a book written TO books (as if they are actual people!) BY an actual librarian? I mean, librarians are some of my favourite people in the entire world! (Are there greater book c NONFICTION--Spence, Annie --Librarians, Snarky --Letters, Love and Break-up --Trying Too Hard Dear Dear Farhenheit 451, When I first saw you across the cell phone screen, on that lovely Instagram post a few months ago, I admit I was a bit taken with you. I added you immediately to my GoodReads To-Read list! How could I resist a book written TO books (as if they are actual people!) BY an actual librarian? I mean, librarians are some of my favourite people in the entire world! (Are there greater book champions than librarians?) But I missed the signs you were sending me. I shouldn't have gotten so caught up in the promise of that word: LOVE; I do that sometimes. When your book jacket called your author "snarky," I should have gotten the message. When the blurb on the audiobook box I listened to referred to you as—and I quote—"a stocking stuffer," I should have re-evaluated my expectations because within the first 50 pages they had already crumbled. By page one hundred, they were not even expectations anymore. I'm sorry I misread the signs and have to send this letter. I was hoping for more letters like the ones your author writes to The Time's Traveler's Wife (I mean, that book sounds swoon-worthy), or to The Virgin Suicides (very intriguing), or to Mathilda (so warm; I adore that book, too). Those were three of only a handful of chapters I honestly connected with. [I later realized your book jacket actually mentions all three of these; come on and admit it—I think even YOU know these are outliers in a whole lot of fluff.] What you gave me instead was a whole lot of "trying-too-hard." I chuckled a few times, sure, but I gritted my teeth a whole lot more. Spence just isn't a comedian and she's much better when she's earnest and vulnerable. Book Lover Annie was a whole lot more fun to read than the Snarky one, and during those rare moments I was glad I was a reader because I could relate. The rest of the time I felt like she cheapened something that most GoodReads enthusiasts see as close to spiritual. Funny isn't necessarily bad but you just didn't pull it off. Compare, for instance, Roxane Gay's hilarious skewering of 50 Shades of Grey to your author's tepid, almost expected "review" to see what I mean. (I was almost embarrassed by the expected list of titles your book covers as I continued to listen from disc to disc. The Marley & Me chapter was embarrassing.) The letter that bothered me the most, though—even more than Spence's admonishing of her husband's hilarious but palpably honest reading of Blood Meridian—was her complaint at having to read The Truck Book to her child. Really? Sure, a parent might think it is maddening, but what does it accomplish for them, a librarian no less, to say out loud for posterity—or until you inevitably get weeded (sorry)—how much you hate reading a book to your own child?! My dear book, Dear Fahrenheit 451, I know I do you an injustice to write this review as a poor imitation of your (albeit clever) premise, but I just don't like you enough to spend anymore time thinking about you or this review. May this letter stand as a warning to book lovers that this book is exactly as advertised—"stocking stuffer." Proceed with caution. But do you know what happens to most stocking stuffer books? We weed them. See ya in the ether, Dominic

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diana Iozzia

    "Dear Fahrenheit 451" Written by Annie Spence Review written by Diana Iozzia “Dear Fahrenheit 451” is a book of love letters written by Annie Spence to the books she loves and the ones she is no longer keeping in her collection. The list of books span to beloved and nostalgic childhood books to ridiculous books like “Grey” and “Yertle the Turtle”. I had wanted to read and review this, because my hobby is to review books! I was interested to read the author’s perspectives and opinions on books I’d "Dear Fahrenheit 451" Written by Annie Spence Review written by Diana Iozzia “Dear Fahrenheit 451” is a book of love letters written by Annie Spence to the books she loves and the ones she is no longer keeping in her collection. The list of books span to beloved and nostalgic childhood books to ridiculous books like “Grey” and “Yertle the Turtle”. I had wanted to read and review this, because my hobby is to review books! I was interested to read the author’s perspectives and opinions on books I’d read in the past. The first and second third of the book are dedicated to the love and goodbye letters. The last third is dedicated to games, book recommendations, and little quips. I enjoyed this last section most, I think. I half enjoyed this book, so I would really grate it as a two and a half out of five, but please take that with a grain of salt. I think that this book could be enjoyed by many people, but I personally do not enjoy it that much. I think it borders on comedy, but I don’t particularly pick up books for their comedic factor. With all of my reviews, I type up the notes I take while reading. I use page markers and post-it-notes for this. Be prepared, I am about to absolutely dissect and annihilate this book. 1. The introduction is very startling with profanity. The whole book is? It’s just jarring and unnecessary. I think this book is a fun book to read on the beach, in the library, or in bed. When I read in these fashions, I don’t see the need to read something laced with tacky and rude language. Maybe I’m just a prude. 2. There are many books in here I haven’t read, which I understand. Some of them I skipped to avoid spoilers (i.e. “The Goldfinch”). A lot of these letters are not insightful, they’re just childish. I don’t think that reading goodbye letters to “Yertle the Turtle” or “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a pastime for me. 3. I really enjoyed her insight and letter about “The Virgin Suicides”. It was probably the letter I enjoyed most and did not feel uncomfortable reading. 4. Why would you write a letter to a book you didn’t read? 5. I understand this is a kitschy, unique book, but this is Buzzfeed-cringe-worthy mixed with manic pixie dream girl vibes. No, I don’t need to read another person who personifies the cringe of “500 Days of Summer”). Please stop trying to be “relatable” and “funny”. 6. “It’s hard not to sound like a dick when you say it like that”. Honey, this whole book makes you sound like one. 7. Mentions Bobby Kennedy. My love. 8. She writes a fake script and it’s horrendously unfunny. Is this just the author’s persona, or is she actually just that annoying? 9. Absolutely no actual intellectual insight into most of these books. 10. Girl, I understand how heartbreaking and sad “The Diary of Anne Frank”, but she makes a list of what she wishes Anne could have accomplished if she lived. She didn’t, it’s haunting, but stop. It’s the Justin Bieber / Anne Frank / Belieber stupidity all over again. 11. Don’t mess with “The Giving Tree”. I don’t want your rude opinions. Nope. Bye. 12. Okay, babe, I can tell you’ve read Twilight and loved it. Everyone secretly loves it. Deniiiiiiiial. 13. Hi, if you haven’t read a book in 20 years, don’t waste your rude opinions, when you say you’d give it a second chance. This book is maddening. 14. It just seems to happen she dislikes every book everyone else on the planet likes. Why do you have to try so hard to be a character Michael Cera would date? 15. The section “Turning Your Lover into a Reader”. Yes, let’s talk for 200 paragraphs and mention feminism and self-independence and autonomy, but try to get people who don’t want to read involved in reading. It’s an entire section dedicated to why men don’t read because they like football and television too much. Men are so uncultured and primitive. Right? Ugh. So relatable. *I received a complementary finished copy from Flatiron Books.*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Swann

    I. Loved. This. It made me laugh out loud quite a bit. I didn’t necessarily agree with every letter, but they still made me laugh and brought me joy. I wrote down 9 books I now want to read and she talks about a lot of books I haven’t heard of. Loved it!!!

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