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Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (Review) @iconbooks @annieaupence #BookLove #Break-Ups #Reading #Books

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Sent to me by Icon Books in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: 08/02/18

Publisher: Icon Books

ISBN: 978-01785783098

Format: Hardback, 256pp

Genre: Non-Fiction/Books

Rating: 4/5

Summed up in a word: Sentimental

First Impressions

I was seriously considering writing this review in the letter format Annie Spence used for Dear Fahrenheit 451. I thought it would be a fun activity but ultimately I reckoned it might be seen as impolite so I refrained. It is a very satisfying writing style and Dear Fahrenheit 451 explores books in a way that refreshed an appreciation of reading I didn’t know I had lost. This is fun bookish book that belongs on any readers shelf (plus it looks gorgeous). Delving into what books mean to us and remembering those books that made us readers and books that don’t fit us anymore. Full review below.

Book Synopsis

Have you ever wished you could tell your favourite books just what they mean to you? Or wanted to give a piece of your mind to the ‘must-read’ book that you wish you hadn’t? Librarian Annie Spence has done just that, writing letters to the books under her care, from love letters to Matilda and The Goldfinch, to snarky break-up notes to Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hobbit.

Annie’s letters will make you laugh, remind you why you love your favourite books, and give you lots of new entries for your reading list. She’s also on-hand to help out with your bookish dilemmas: recommendations for lazy readers; excuses to tell your friends when you’d rather stay home reading; and how to turn your lover into a reader.

Hilarious, compassionate and smart, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover’s book.

My Review

‘Reading has shaped me. guided me, reflected me, and helped me understand, and this is not hyperbole, HUMANITY. If you picked up this book, it’s because, somewhere in the past (and more in the future, if I have anything to do with it) a book has changed your life. Well, mine too, dear reader, mine too.’ Intro p3

Dear Fahrenheit 451 is a collection of love letters to the books, characters, stories and moments that shaped Annie Spence as a reader, a librarian and as a person. I admit that books about books do hit my soft spot but did my best to remain objective during the reading process. This book is an ode to all the books that made us fall in love with reading many times over. Annie takes us through an assortment of her favourite books as well as a number of break-ups with books that she doesn’t agree with anymore, that don’t fit her as a reader or that are outright inappropriate reading experiences. The letters that Annie writes are as varied as the books they are written to. Annie thanks her favourite books, such as The Virgin Suicides for encouraging her to read.

‘Congratulations on fifteen consecutive year as my favourite book. To mark this commemorative anniversary, I’m writing you a love letter. It’ll be moony goony nonsense compared to your perfection, but the thing you’re perfect about is conveying imperfect love. So even though this is going to look a little bit like pen puke, I hope you’ll appreciate its sincerity.’ Talking about The Virgin Suicides p11

Annie also lays into several reads she has come across over the years, sharing reasons why they didn’t agree with her, scared her, made her cringe or caused her outright despair (I talking about you Coming Out Straight and One Hour Orgasm). Some of the letters are outright hilarious, witty and crude/candid with swearing, copious affectionate moments and glib outbursts. Plenty of the writing is moving as well as complimentary. Several of the letters are cautionary tales about books that may give certain readers the creeps (they certainly did for Annie). Here is Annie talking about Misery by Stephen King.

‘S@*t man. You are… disconcerting. Something ain’t right with you. A writer held prisoner in the home of his number-one fan. I thought I could handle it. And, at points, when you were dishing out the wise writerly insights, I could. But, my god, what about Annie? How did you house a character as quietly, explosive crazy as Annie Wilkes without shrivelling up.’ Talking about Misery p33

Annie shows her gratitude towards books like The Goldfinch, Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury, Matilda, Fahrenheit 451 and the graphic novel Ghost World. There are quite a few letters that shown there disdain for reads such as Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, My Truck Book (her son’s obsession) and pretty much all celebrity biographies (autobiographies are fine) to name a few. I loved the diverse, nostalgic and satisfying nature of Dear Fahrenheit 451. If you are ever having trouble with your appreciation for reading then this book is the perfect medicine for you. I did find that the letter format did get slightly repetitive towards the end and began to drag a touch. Fortunately Annie Spence moved on to some book advice sections that have landed me with a ton of new additions my TBR. (Thank you Annie for the shout-out for The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil as it is a phenomenal graphic novel).

Annie Spence manages to encapsulate the essence of what books mean to us. How they transport us to other worlds. How reading old books takes us back to the echos of our younger selves. Reminding us of all the good, the great, the funny and the special moments in our lives. And despite all the jokes, the cursing and the general tomfoolery, Dear Fahrenheit 451 does contain some tear-jerking moments (Annie’s letter to Anne Frank caught me off guard). Annie also focuses on the future of reading and gives us helpful advice on how to make more time for reading in our everyday lives. Annie’s ‘Assistance To Readers’ section was exceptionally helpful with plenty of recommendations, advice and musing on being a reader and librarian herself.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 is a fantastically bookish book that will no doubt satisfy any reader’s itch. Annie’s insights into reading are as priceless as they are beneficial and I regained a respect for my time as a reader I didn’t know I had lost. Books are Annie’s world and it was nice to spend time with a writer who I could fully relate to as a reader, a parent and as a fanatic. Annie has left me with some superb reminders to never judge a book by its cover and to keep expanding my mind was as many great reads as I can find. Also some great tips on how to score some more time in bed reading and not doing silly stuff like housework or socialising :D.

Pick up a copy of Dear Fahrenheit 451 here: Icon Books / Amazon UK / Goodreads

About Annie Spence

Annie Spence has spent the last decade as a librarian at public libraries in the Midwest. She lives in Detroit with her husband and son. Dear Fahrenheit 451 is her first book.

7 thoughts on “Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (Review) @iconbooks @annieaupence #BookLove #Break-Ups #Reading #Books

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