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

Published: 7th February 2019Goodreads badge
Icon Books Ltd
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

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 treasure. Annie Spence, who has a decade of experience as a Midwestern librarian, does this not only at her Michigan library but also at home, for her neighbours, at cocktail parties—everywhere.

In Dear Fahrenheit 451, she addresses those books directly. We read her love letters to The Goldfinch and Matilda, as well as her snarky break-ups with Fifty Shades of Grey and Dear John. Her notes to The Virgin Suicides and The Time Traveller’s Wife feel like classics, sure to strike a powerful chord with readers. Through the lens of the books in her life, Annie comments on everything from women’s psychology to gay culture to health to poverty to childhood aspirations. Hilarious, compassionate, and wise, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the consummate book-lover’s birthday present, stocking stuffer, holiday gift, and all-purpose humour book.  

 I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The collection of letters was entertaining and enlightening, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading about books I hadn’t read or even heard of. One thing I loved was that there’s a letter to the Beauty and Beast library which is the dream library of many book lovers, but Spence raises an interesting point or two and when I finished all I could think about was whether Beast smelt like wet dog at the end of the movie. This is the kind of humour she brings to her passion about books and reading. 

  There are letters to books found on library shelves and books that live on home shelves. It is filled with books I’ve heard of and many I had not heard of. There are a mix of fun letters and deep letters and you get insight not only into the author but about the effects certain books had on her now and as a kid. Not to mention the fun stories of dealing with the public and giving books out in her role as a librarian. There’re no real spoilers to book plots but there is an appreciation of narrative and how moments in books can inspire, move, horrify and delight. Reading the letter to Misery was amazing but cemented my decision to never read or watch it.  

 For the small and quirky style of this book it was a great read because you see the passion and experiences of other people in your field and it is fascinating to see the similarities and differences. One this that got me quite perplexed was Spence’s mention that a book was still on the shelf unborrowed for ten years. This was something my librarian brain with knowledge of her own weeding practices could not fathom. Spence also mentions librarians aren’t good at maths (this is true) but command for the English language is also up for debate. This is reinforced as I noticed an editor let through a cheeky “could care less”. 

This is a relatively quick read but it is funny and engaging and it was interesting to see the range of books Spence covers and her approach to each and every letter. If you’re looking at a little insight into a booklover’s relationship with books, then this book could be just what you’re after.

You can purchase Dear Fahrenheit 451 via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

A Must for Book and Library Lovers

I’m here today to tell you about a fantastic extension for Chrome and Firefox that will not only help utilise your libraries but might help you save money on buying books. Late in 2017 I discovered Library Extension, a brilliant little addition to your browser that allows you to see books held in your local libraries while you browse the internet.

When I first found this extension my library wasn’t supported but they are always looking for new libraries to add so I filled out the feedback form, provided the details for my library then all I had to do was sit back and wait. To be honest I had to wait 17 months but I received an email a few months ago saying it had now been included. Now, I’m not saying it will take a year to include your own library if you are not one of the 4000 included, whether it took longer because I’m in Australia or some other reason I don’t know. According to their FAQ most libraries can be added in a few days.

With the extension it will show me if a book I am looking up is held in my library, it will also tell me how many copies they have and how many of those are available (this also covers music and audiobooks as well). If something is on the catalogue all I have to do is click View and I’m sent straight to my library’s online catalogue. Also, if your library has Overdrive as an ebook service you can also connect it to that and see what ebooks are available through your library.

I love this extension so much. I can browse Goodreads and see if the book I want is actually sitting on my library shelf. One extra advantage is if you are a member of multiple libraries, you can connect all of them and the extension will show you which branches have what. The websites I have seen it work for are Goodreads, Booktopia, Book Depository, and Amazon (both US and Australian). There is a list of full sites I believe it will work on on the website.

The site boasts that this will save you time and money and I cannot agree more. Getting a chance to read a book for free before deciding whether to buy it is wonderful, not to mention it gets you out there supporting your local library (as a librarian I have to add that in). Practicality-wise, there is also the benefit of having the information right on my browser which saves me opening up my library catalogue or remembering to look it up later. Plus, you do not have to register, sign in, join, or pay. You simply add the extension like you would any other and bam! Results.

My own experience is one of having my library added into the system so once I got the email telling me they’d included it, I had to wait about 12 hours for the full catalogue to come across and for my results to work correctly. I don’t know if this is for each installation but even so, it’s incredibly quick. The extension also updates every few hours so you’re being presented with the most up to date information.

The success rate is fairly high in my limited experience. A few times it has said there are no copies of a book despite me knowing for a fact there is but I’m not sure if that is connected to some issue with metadata, or normal glitches that comes from being still relatively new for my library. The extension itself is a few years old, but having only found it a couple years ago and only gotten a chance to use it this year I am keen to reap the benefits from having that happy little box on my screen that tells me all the great books I can borrow with a click of a button.

Everyone should download this if they’re able. It is a great way to utilise your local library (again, job requirement to add that in there) and it still blows my mind that I can so easily see what my library holds.

Library Lovers’ Day 2016 + Giveaway

LLD2016-Web Heading

LLD2016-AvatarLibrary Lovers’ Day. A day for book lovers to share their love of books and reading, whether this is with a book blind date, book recommendations, or some fun activities at your local library. There are many ways to share the library love, and today I’m adding to the celebrations by offering a giveaway.

Because I’m a huge lover of libraries (as a librarian it kind of goes with the territory), as well as second hand books, my giveaway is coming from my own collection, a ‘Loved Loot’ giveaway if you will. I have scoured my bookshelves and found a few books to share the reading spirit as well as the idea that any book can be a wonderful book, loved, library or otherwise. I have four books on offer for four lucky winners, details on how to enter are below.


Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Thyme Out by Kate Fforde

Guilty Pleasures (#1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Storm Glass (#1) Maria V. Snyder

Note: These books are all second-hand, including library discards and those bought at book fairs. All books are in good condition though visibly used. This is a Loved Loot giveaway.

Valentine's Giveaway

To enter: Leave a comment telling me what has been one of your favourite second-hand book finds, or for the library users out there, what has been a favourite library book you’ve discovered by chance and fallen in love with. Let me know along with which book you would like to win and you’ll be in the draw.

Please note: Unfortunately this Loved Loot giveaway is open to Aussie residents only because shipping costs a bag of gold and your first born.

Entries close midnight AEDT 28 Feb 2016. Good luck!


For more information about the Library Lovers’ Day experience there are details on the Australian Library and Information Association website on how you can celebrate, or have a look at the fun links included below where you can see last year’s event, or get some great resources like social media images, stickers, bookmarks, and more! Or perhaps pop into your local library if they are open and see what activities they have running. They may have more than just a one day event happening so check them out. Even if your library isn’t running anything special, perhaps pop in for a visit anyway and take a chance on a new book, or a new author or genre. Have a blind date with a book randomly chosen from a shelf; you never know what you will find! I discovered many of my favourite books that way so anything is possible.

Have a wonderful Library Lovers’ Day and fall in love with a book today!

All Your Fun Bits and Pieces Needs

Australian Library and Information Association Facebook

Highlights from Library Lovers’ Day 2015

Browse the #librarylove tag on Twitter

Learn How to Get Involved


Library Lovers’ Day 2015

lld250Valentines Day is just around the corner, but for all the book lovers out there it is also known as Library Lovers’ Day. A day of affection and appreciation not for the person in your life, but for the love of libraries and books. Libraries are not just about books anymore, there are so many great things to do there and it is wonderful there is an occasion to celebrate them. Officially February is also Library Month, a whole 28 days to celebrate the marvel that is the library, but 14th Feb is singled out as Library Lovers’ Day.

Head down to your local library and see what the great librarians and cupid have cooked up to celebrate the love of libraries. My library is offering Blind (Book) Dates where books are wrapped in plain paper to add an air of mystery to your book choices, they’ve also got a range of activities for everyone including writing your favourite book title on hearts and sticking them on the wall for everyone to see and gain ideas from. Every library is different so see what great things your library has available, you never know what you’ll find. If your library is not participating never fear! Show your love anyway by perusing their shelves and borrowing something on a whim, ask other people for their favourite books and read that, or even returning to an old favourite, maybe even suggest they participate next year!

For information about Library Lovers’ Day you can check out the Australian Library and Information Association information page, or have a look at the fun links included below where you can see last year’s event, or get some great resources like social media images, stickers, bookmarks, and more!

Have a wonderful Library Lovers’ Day and fall in love with a book today!

All Your Fun Bits and Pieces Needs

Australian Library and Information Association Facebook

Highlights from Library Lover’s Day 2014

Browse the #librarylove tag on Twitter

Learn How to Get Involved

Sharing time!

I know I am supposed to power on with the glorious final book review from the Wicked Lovely series but I saw this and had to share this from Flavorwire –  The Best Fictional Libraries in Pop Culture.

I have to say I am not picky about my library but there is something pretty spectacular about the grand room with books to the ceiling. Though as The Shadow of the Wind shows (which is on the list, and yes I have been about half  way through it for about five months, but with a strong promise to return to it I swear!) that they do not always need to be grand and marvellous. I often find brilliant books in small libraries and unexpected places. Though I think a lot of my appeal is the joy I am sure you would experience sliding across the shelves on the ladders ala Bedknobs and Broomsticks style. On a side note: if you have not seen this movie and do not get this reference then you must rush out immediately, it is a glorious and under appreciated film and also a pretty cool book as well.

I can’t offer up the best fictional libraries without offering some real ones with the 20 Beautiful Private and Personal Libraries. This is also from Flavorwire. I went with the personal ones over the public ones because while they too can be spectacular, private ones have more charm and seem more impressive I feel. I think it is probably some superficial reasoning I have that it’s because they aren’t a huge building set to cater for thousands of people made by the city. Having said that though, I do hate all of these people just a little bit for having the creativity and the space for such beautiful collections. As the wise Terry Pratchett said, if you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you. Where is my gallery of images for books piled on top of books, and books in cupboards and under the bed and in makeshift bookcases with shoe boxes? That’s my kind of private library collection.


Two of the more pleasing bookshelves belonging to yours truly