Likely Stories: Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, by Annie Spence

Oct 22, 2020

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

I have a terrific book for all the voracious consumers of literature.  The dust jacket is an opening to a rabbit hole of wonder.  Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence, is her first book. This is one of those books you cannot stop reading and will always have a copy close by your side.


Annie begins, “Dear Reader, Welcome to Dear Fahrenheit 451.  Shall we beg—wait, I know you guys!  Do you remember me?  I’m your public librarian!  I walked you over to the Murakami that time.  I helped you get the DVD about exploring New Zealand and you came back and told me about how wonderful your trip was and we both got tears in our eyes. […] // I know all of you—because librarians love getting to know their communities: […] I know books on a deep level.  So deep that, over the years, I’ve found myself talking to the books.  Only in my head, because I’m not crazy; but inside my head, I talk to them in letter form, because books are fancy and need to be formally addressed. […] // And why shouldn’t I talk to books?  I’ve got a lot to say to them. […] // And if this book you’re holding could talk? It would say that it wants you connect to it, to laugh with it, and to walk away with a whole new list of other books that you can’t wait to get involved with.  Happy reading. // Your Ever Lovin’ Librarian, Annie” (1-3).

Annie continues with a letter to one of my MOST favorite authors, Donna Tart.  She begins, “Dear The Goldfinch, // We’ve grown apart.  Or, I guess, you’ve grown apart.  Like physically.  Your spine is torn to crap.  The hardest part about this?  I’m the one who did it to you.  I love you so much Goldfinch.  Your language, your emotion, your suspense.  Needless to say, the author picture on your back cover is the main reason I started parting my hair down the middle. // So I recommended you to everyone.  […]  It was bound to happen.  You’re nearly eight hundred pages.  And about a gazillion people cracked you open.  Eventually, you cracked too. 

It’s my fault.  I shouldn’t have sent you home with people who are used to reading mass-market paperbacks.  That’s something I have to live with. // I know you are a book that only feels fulfilled when being read and admired.  You’d be ashamed to sit next to your other copies as busted up as you are, and there’s nothing book glue can do for you now.  You don’t smell or anything if that is a consolation.  I’m taking you home with me.  You will sit right next to your old pall The Little Friend, on a browser-friendly shelf above the record player where my friends will look at you with great reverence before declining to bother you because they are too busy to read (I know, they’re fools).  I’m the only one who truly knows you well enough to notice how fragile you are on the inside” (7-8).

I loved this book, and you can love her, too!  This is a book to cherish, read, reread, and read again.  The book is loaded with more than 75 wonderful letters from Anne Spence’s Dear Fahrenheit 451.  5 Stars! I have read Goldfinch twice, and I think I will read again! 

Likely Stories is a production or KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and Happy Reading!