A copy of Dear Fahrenheit 451 was provided to me by Flatiron Books in exchange for my honest review. But if I’m honest, I should also tell you that I practically begged them to send it because I wanted to read this book so much.
The premise of Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence is fairly simple. The book is a collection of letters that Annie, a librarian, has written to various books. Some of those books are ones she has chosen to remove from the library’s collection, others are books on her bookshelves at home, and a couple of them are books she imagines that others own. The premise itself is enough to hook book-loving readers, but from the very first letter, readers already know that this little book is so much more. In short, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is an absolute treasure.
From reading her letters to books, I can already tell that Annie Spence and I would absolutely be best friends, were we to know one another in real life. Not only does she have fantastic taste in books, but her sense of humor had me rolling with laughter throughout her darling book. Whether making wisecracks or profound statements about the books she selected to include, Spence’s writing is beautiful and drew me in to the point that I found myself halfway through this book when I had meant to only read the first few letters. While many of the letters are written to books she did not love, just as many are written to books she holds in high regard. In a letter to The Fledgling, Spence says, “When people say books are full of wonder, we don’t take it seriously enough. You are over thirty-five years old. You smell like old paper and smudged fingertips. You’ve lain dusty and untouched for decades. And you’re magic.”
Meanwhile, she also uses terms such as “buttclencher” when addressing Misery and tells The Virgin Suicides, “you feel like the first time I heard ‘Against the Wind’ by Bob Seger.” Every single letter throughout the book includes moments worthy of highlighting, if you believe in desecrating the pages of your books in such a way (I do), and even the subject headings at the beginnings of each letter are utilized to increase the wittiness quotient of this book.
One of my favorite features of Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the unexpected book guide in the last 1/4 or so of the book. After the letters, Spence includes a handy guide for excuses for staying in to read and book recommendations, organized in ways such as book pairings, book recommendations for your significant other who doesn’t love reading as much, and books about librarians, to name just a few. I enjoyed reading her recommendations almost as much as the letters themselves, and I have already added several of her suggestions to my list of book to read.
I really and truly cannot say enough about how delightful Dear Fahrenheit 451 was to read. My only wish was that I had read every single book she addressed in order to understand all the letters fully, but even the letters to books I had never read captured my attention and made me love this adorable book. I definitely see Dear Fahrenheit 451 as the perfect gift for every book lover in my life, and in fact, I pre-ordered a copy to gift to my local public librarian before I even finished reading it.
Definitely give this one a read. Not only will you enjoy it immensely, but you might even discover a new favorite book as a result of Annie Spence’s letters and suggestions.
Check out a few of my own, very brief letters to the books in my life below, courtesy of the cute little cards Flatiron Books sent along with my copy of Dear Fahrenheit 451!