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Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  8,281 ratings  ·  2,264 reviews
A Gen-X librarian's snarky, laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life.

Librarians spend their lives weeding--not weeds but books! Books that have reached the end of their shelf life, both literally and figuratively. They remove the books that patrons no longer check out. And they put back the books they treasu
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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Debbie No you do not. Spence even states in her introduction that she hopes her love letters to books will encourage us to go find them and read them. There …moreNo you do not. Spence even states in her introduction that she hopes her love letters to books will encourage us to go find them and read them. There are, of course, letters to books you've probably read in here, though - there's such a wide range of titles she addresses - and those seem to be more fun to me.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,281 ratings  ·  2,264 reviews

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Start your review of Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks
This book was very entertaining. I think it might be the perfect book to help end a reading slump. If you need a variety of book options with a variety of backstories - and reasons to read or avoid - to get your reading juices flowing again, look no further!

Spence covers at least a hundred books; each with a few pages or maybe just a paragraph. You can tell she had a hell of a good time putting this book together. I figure this must be similar to how I sound when someone asks me for book recomme
Diane S ☔
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who sometimes gets so into a book that I find myself talking to the characters. "No, don't do that, not a good idea at all, or oh no don't open that door, etc,". Well how could I not love a book, written by a librarian who does in a way just that. Only she writes letters to the authors of favorite books, telling how much they have meant to her, letters of apology to those she has to weed from he shelves. Letters to children's authors of beloved favorites and ...more
You can now find this review and more at Novel Notions.

I’m so tempted to frame this review as a letter to the book in question. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I think I should.

*Clears throat*

Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks,

You are exactly what a book about books should be. You are witty and charming and irreverent, and I loved every second I spent with you. I borrowed you from the library, but I think I’m going to have to save up and buy a copy of you for myself, because yo
Annie Spence, the public librarian, is weeding out books, writing love- or goodbye letters to each one, and seduces us, the cranky misanthropic bibliophiles into reading more books by adding even more fuel to boost our fires with her recommendations.

She talks to books and book shelves - her best friends, even at parties:
But you. You’re an inspiration. You’ve really thought yourself out. Your pink shelf, especially. Valley of the Dolls, a Marie Antoinette bio, and Chanel and Her World. Beauty an
Elyse  Walters
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this small hardcopy book. I swear it smiles back at me.
I found myself smiling on every page ...
Taking a few hours to enjoy this book is like ‘readers-crack’. Its a harmless drug-induced -organic- sensation-satisfaction.
I wonder other readers finish Annie Spence’s ( adorable dedicated librarian), epistolary volume with a desire to write your own? I fantasized a little.

A little gem for readers.....what’s not to like?
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I am a huge fan of books on books. I even have a shelf for them in Goodreads! This was a great one, completely without the pretentiousness that can sometimes be a problem from well-intentioned readers, but that is little surprise - Annie Spence is a librarian! The first two thirds of the book are letters to her favorites (or break-up letters to books she can't see anymore), in different formats and approaches so the reader doesn't get bored. The last third, my favorite, are annotated book recomm ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This year the nonfiction book club here on goodreads is having a group reading challenge- see which team can read the most pages by the end of the year. I think that is the only thing that kept me from abandoning this book half way through. Detroit librarian Annie Spence has written letters to books as a way to encourage people to use their library and if not from the library to become better readers. With that point, I applaud her. I love libraries; I go to my local branch at least twice a week ...more
Cindy Burnett
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. The entire time I was reading it those words were running through my head over and over and over. Most of the book is letters written by Annie Spence to various books, many on the shelves of libraries where she has worked, or book-related items she has encountered. The last fifth or so of Dear Fahrenheit 451 contains books recommendations, excuses for staying home so you can read, books about librarians, and her all-time favorite reads.

Upon finishing the book, my fi
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I listened to this audio and found it to be delightful! A book of letters to books, lists of book recommendations and pairings, and charming anecdotes about librarians and library patrons. A lot surprised me here: the tone, which is kind of cool librarian who is kind of sarcastic and swears a lot but can be laugh-out-loud funny and also touching and serious, and says “and” a lot and “kind of” and “see how I did that”...see how I did that? That sentence is kind of the way the whole book sounds on ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Warm, funny and filled with a bit more salty language than you’d expect from a librarian, this is utterly delightful reading! Yes, the epistolary format is one of my favorites so I was drawn to it from the title. And my love of libraries and librarians knows no bounds. More than that, though, in this librarian’s hands these letters are often moving, sometimes snarky and always intelligent. It’s an eclectic collection of books and a fun romp through old favorites, new titles to search out and hea ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
A very entertaining and frequently amusing book written in the form of a conversation between a librarian and her books. There are books she vows to love forever and ones that she used to love but now finds she has to abandon as she has changed. There are a few (some of which I really agreed with) that she cannot abide and wishes into the rubbish bin.

It was fun although I did not always agree with her tastes. She was also much more widely read than me and there were quite a few books and authors
Dear Annie Spence,

You’re well on your way to being the next Nancy Pearl, girlie. Your book recommendations are amazeballs!* How have you read so many books that I’ve never even heard of?! (And I read 300 books a year.) Thanks to you I’ve instantly added 13 books to my TBR at a time when I’m desperately trying to cull it. Argh!

[*Here’s proof: I finished your book this morning; this afternoon I walked to the library to borrow one of your recommended novels, Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever, to take o
Anne Bogel
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a delightful surprise. In this debut, Detroit librarian Spence writes love letters and break-up notes to the books in her life and in her library's stacks. (The last 20% of the book is not letters, but the letters were my favorite part.) Imagine a younger Nancy Pearl, with a few f-bombs and a lot more snark.

Don't miss the adorable hardcover version; it's a beauty and would make an excellent gift for your favorite book-lover.
Diane Barnes
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't take my 3 star rating the wrong way; I really, really liked this book a lot, and enjoyed every word. But while it was funny, and I found myself nodding and laughing at her ideas and remarks, it didn't seem to reach the emotional level that calls for a 4 or 5. Loved her irreverence and salty language, and, of course, it's a book about books.
Favorite quote about people who don't like to read: "We're librarians. We don't judge. We pity. "
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I loved this book! Each chapter is either a love letter or a break-up note to specific books and/or genres. It's the perfect book to have on your nightstand (or in my case, on my Hoopla app) to dip into for a chapter or two at a time. I've had no time to sit and read this week, and only short bursts of time to listen to an audiobook, so for me it was the perfect time to read this gem of a book.

The audiobook is read by the author and her comedic timing was perfect, making an amusing book even mo
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ginger by: Matthew
Shelves: 2019, audio
Dear Fahrenheit 451 was a fun and quirky romp of a book!

The writing was funny, smart and well done. I got a lot more recommendations on books to read that I really didn’t need. Oy vey, my want-to-read list did not need to get bigger!

But I enjoyed Annie Spence's catalog of books she’s loved over the years and ones that didn’t work for her.
Even librarians are picky on favorite books!
I did audio on this one and I enjoyed Annie relaying lots of great new books to check out. She was informati
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this during one sitting. It's written really well. The author a librarian writes letters to different books. Books from her childhood. Books from her workplace. Books from home. Books that are being thrown out of circulation . It's funny, quirky, and any book lover would enjoy it tremendously.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a clever gimmick, but just wasn’t that funny, though she was clearly trying REALLY hard to be. But, don’t let me deter you, it’s possible I’m just a grouch.
This is an entertaining book that can be read in small (or large) bites as public librarian Annie Spence writes love letters to her favourite books or break up letters to those she is weeding out of the library.

You may not agree with all her comments or choices, but as we all know every reader if different and she explains her reasons in a light, sassy and sometimes nerdy style that won't offend anyone. I loved the extra bits she slipped in such as her discussion with a fancy bookshelf at a par
Annie Spence is a librarian who's written a little book filled with letters to other books. There are mooshy love letters, Dear John letters, and just plain I-hate-you-get-lost letters:

Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian - They can't get enough of you. They read your first version. They'll read you. And in between they will have no desire to read anything else. It's like, without you, they would just rather be illiterate. It makes me want to shake readers and scream: YOU'RE SURROUNDE
Lisa Vegan
Caveat for some: For a very few books there are spoilers, and in one or two cases I consider them major. I normally hate spoilers but for some reason I didn’t care here and I don’t remember their details now that I’ve finished the book. I think I remained unperturbed because except for one or two books, I’d either already read the books or think I will either never read them or won’t read them for a very, very, very long time. It was actually wonderful to read her takes about the books I have re ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up on audio and it filled my booknerd soul.

For lovers of books, this one fits all my requirements. When I first heard about this one, I assumed (wrongly) that it would cover a few coveted books that this author loved or hated. She covers so many books that GoodReads has curated a list of them all. (close to 200) She does quick essays to each of these and leaves us at the end with a huge list of recommendations based on different subtypes of readers. It was just lovely. Some essays
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Annie Spence is a fun, hip librarian whose letters about books are sassy and irreverent. She tries awfully hard to be funny. I would rate this higher but found I could only read 1 or 2 pages before it felt gimmicky and irritating. small doses I liked it.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did not care for this one at all. For all the hype and love it's been given on the internet, I was disappointed. I don't mind a good snarky read, but this one lacked respect and balance. By the end I was skimming and glad it was done.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a laugh-out-loud book about books by a book lover. If you love books, have fond memories of books you've read in your life, and/or keep lists of what you read, then at a minimum you'll be entertained by Spence's observations (even if you don't completely share her taste in books). I loved hearing Spence talk about her favorites, ridiculous books that are past their prime, and *so many books* I've never heard of (but will now have to look up).

For better or worse, there's not a narrative a
I really enjoyed this audiobook -- A book about books!! Annie Spence literally writes love letters to books she loves and breakup letters to books she doesn't. It's funny at times and heartwarming at other times. She's the fun librarian - full of profanity and snark! The letter to "The One Hour Orgasm" was hilarious!! I didn't know a lot of the books she discussed, but that didn't take away any of my love for this book. She also gives you books recommendations and different book lists based on c ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2018-read, auth-f
I laughed out loud at times at the funny, profane, snarky and often passionate letters by Annie Spence to books she has read. The books ranged from kids- to adult-interest, and as if I didn’t have enough books to read for at least the next ten years, Annie Spence has convinced me to check out a few more.
Diana Iozzia
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
"Dear Fahrenheit 451"
Written by Annie Spence
Review written by Diana Iozzia

“Dear Fahrenheit 451” is a book of love letters written by Annie Spence to the books she loves and the ones she is no longer keeping in her collection. The list of books span to beloved and nostalgic childhood books to ridiculous books like “Grey” and “Yertle the Turtle”. I had wanted to read and review this, because my hobby is to review books! I was interested to read the author’s perspectives and opinions on books I’d
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfic, memoir
NONFICTION--Spence, Annie
--Librarians, Snarky
--Letters, Love and Break-up
--Trying Too Hard

Dear Dear Farhenheit 451,

When I first saw you across the cell phone screen, on that lovely Instagram post a few months ago, I admit I was a bit taken with you. I added you immediately to my GoodReads To-Read list! How could I resist a book written TO books (as if they are actual people!) BY an actual librarian? I mean, librarians are some of my favourite people in the entire world! (Are there greater book c
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book felt a bit like reading a moderately-insightful person's goodreads reviews. Many of my GR friends have far more interesting things to say about books than Spence does, though. Her tastes are pretty dissimilar to mine, so none of her love letters inspired me to add anything to my to-read list. And I was vaguely annoyed at how judgey she was toward her library patrons' tastes. Jeez, let the people read their Twilight novels in peace! So many of her opinions were bland and hackneyed, anyw ...more
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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.

Her favorite literary genre is Mundane World Where Some Surreal Shit Happens.

Her favorite book is The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Her favorite question from a patron is, "Can you recommend something good to read?"


Articles featuring this book

Calling all bibliophiles! What better way to celebrate the joy of reading than with a book about, well, books? To create this list, we took...
218 likes · 61 comments
“I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every damn field there is; in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time. You need all of these cross-references. You never know when your head is going to use this fuel, this food for its purposes. —Ray Bradbury” 15 likes
“Maybe it would be easier if we were allowed to yell? The public librarian has been typecast. We're supposed to whisper and shush, demand silence, when in reality we work our asses off trying to help people speak up. Maybe it seems safer for us to whisper. Because maybe if we could shout, it would shake the walls down.” 11 likes
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