Dear books I have loved… and not

Do you remember the first book that made an impression on you?

Over the holidays, I read Dear Fahrenheit 451. This is a book of letters written by a librarian to some of the books in her life (an epistolary novel, thanks third year English class and Pamela).

The author, Annie Spence, comes to her subject from an advocacy point of view. She wants readers to read more and use their libraries more. Her behind the scenes glimpse into librarian life is self-deprecating, at times sarcastic and usually humourous.

Annie’s passion for books and her work is obvious, and I enjoyed her casual, personal writing style. Literature and librarians sometimes seem inaccessible. Annie is working to break down those barriers.

As someone who loves reading and has encountered meaningful books throughout my life, I could identify with Annie’s perspective.

As much as I love reading, I was familiar with a very small percentage of the books that Annie writes letters to. But Dear Fahrenheit 451 is interesting and engaging, even if you’re not a bibliophile or voracious reader. Annie does not expect her readers to know every detail of every book that she writes about. But when we do, the inside jokes or agreeing/disagreeing with her perspective adds another level of engagement with Annie’s writing. My husband, a Stephen King fan, enjoyed the Misery chapter.

The letters are short, just a couple of pages each, and range from Twilight to Thoreau.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 is an exploration of the role books play in our lives and a call to action to read more. And for me, it worked. I came away with a long list of new books that I’m hoping to meet over the next few months. And yes, I’m borrowing them from the library.

What book would you write a love letter (or break up note) to? What’s your must-read recommendation?


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