• "Dear Fahrenheit 451 — Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks": by Annie Spence. Flatiron Books, New York. Copyright 2017. 244 pages.
This book is 244 pages of spunk.
The subtitle, "A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life," explains it perfectly. Most of the pages are letters to the books she has met throughout life, from hand-me-downs, to library selections, or books she has bumped into at parties or bathrooms.
This book was like rummaging through your parents' basement and finding a box of letters they had written to each other throughout their lives with all the intimate, sometimes dirty details that come along with 50 years of marriage. It is hilarious, sweet, gross at times, but most of it is “amazeballs.”
The word art throughout, from “moony goony nonsense” to “pen puke,” is so expressive. The book addresses all genres within the 60-plus letters, which could be used as a personal reading list with more than 100 books mentioned. The book finishes with Special Subjects like, Excuses to Tell Your Friends So You Can Stay Home with Your Books, How to Turn your Lover into a Reader, and Blind Date: Good Books with Bad Covers, just to name a few.
The letter to "The Time Travelers Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger made me nostalgic for a book I loved in my early twenties and now cannot wait to reread because of the renewed love the author expressed after having a family of her own. The letter to "Misery" by Stephen King sounds too intense, therefore it has been moved to the Maybe Read Someday List. Not to say that everyone will agree with all the break-up letters — I cannot mention mine for fear of judgment by my peers, but I still respect these.
I got so comfortable with this book that I almost dog-eared pages to re-read "The One-Hour Orgasm" to my husband. I made a fool of myself at a Mexican restaurant, laughing hysterically while reading the letter to "Better Homes and Gardens Dieting for One" and other letters.
As a librarian, this book gets me. Librarians love and loathe weeding, questioning how some books lasted this long or getting rid of books that have a special place in our hearts, the loss is palpable. All books should be as fun as this, then book ordering would be at the top of our priority lists. This book can grasp the interest of anyone and get them excited to read. Most of all, “Dear Fahrenheit 451” will make readers love the library more than they already do.
Librarians, patrons, and the books make the library a place that should be revered in our culture and visited by all. I want to keep this book at home, but I know it must be shared with the world.
Alexis Littell is the Branch Manager of the North Park Library. She can be reached at 336-226-7185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.