Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks

Bibliophiles should prepare to settle in with librarian Annie Spence and the collection of letters she's written to the books in her life. This compilation of witty, heartwarming, sometimes startling missives is hard to put down. Talking to literature she's loved, hated or hasn't even read--really Annie, To Kill a Mockingbird?--Dear Fahrenheit 451 is a delightful gem for readers who experience stories as friends, not just words on a page.

The fortunate recipients of Spence's messages are wide-ranging: current and classic, fiction and nonfiction, children's lit and adult, even some poetry. As she pulls from library shelves, her own home bookcases and those of her friends and family, Spence communicates with them intimately, honestly and hilariously. The novel that inspired Spence's title receives a philosophical communiqué: "The modern-day 'firefighters' are armed not with kerosene but snarky Internet memes, reality TV, and the ability to simultaneously see more or less of the world around them... there are people who don't believe libraries are necessary anymore." Meanwhile, her undervalued thesaurus is treated to a tongue-in-cheek love note, and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series receives a sharp tongue-lashing.

In the heartfelt words Spence addresses to The Namesake, "once a book is written, it's in the hands and minds and hearts of the reader." Readers aren't likely to agree with all of Spence's feelings, but they're certain to enjoy conjuring up their own reactions, and might even start crafting dispatches themselves. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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