DEAR FAHRENHEIT 451: The Perfect Last-Minute Gift for Readers

Cindy: Do you need a last-minute gift for a reader on your list? Scoop up a copy of Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks (2017) by Annie Spence. I received this little treasure a few months ago from a teacher who said I needed it. He also bought one for his long-retired school librarian mother. The pages are full of one treat after another. Some are love letters to the books that shaped Spence’s life, like this one to Arnold Lobel’s classic children’s book:


Dear Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury,

I’ve been with a lot of books and had other characters who’ve imprinted themselves on my heart. But your main character Toad is my spirit animal.
For starters, we are both pear-shaped. . .


or this more serious letter:


Dear Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,

Your author wrote down a wish to “go on living even after my death,” and, through her tragedy, she got it. So maybe that means your wishes will be heard if you write them down. Here are mine for her:
That she could have seen her name in print.
That she could have had a long stretch.
That she could have hugged her mother tighter, and that she never had a moment’s guilt about whatever their last words were. . .


And then there are the snarky and / or sincere break-up letters. Like the one she writes to Stephenie Meyer’s books:


Dear Twilight series,

You’re on a card table at a yard sale, sitting next to an old Baby Alive doll and a plastic makeup organizer that says MADISON in foam sticky letters. Someone’s not tagging along to college after all, hmm? How the mighty have fallen. . .


Some of the books are ones she’s weeding from her library, while others are highly touted ones she just couldn’t get through. Some are true loves; others get sent packing. Some are children’s and teen titles, but many are classics or popular adult books.

It’s fun to dip in and out of the collection. Don’t miss the cataloging at the top of each letter; the subject headings are delightful. And if that isn’t enough, Spence packs the back with additional lists like “I’d Rather Be Reading: Excuses to Tell Your Friends So You Can Stay Home with Your Books,” a bibliography of books about librarians, and lots more reverent and irreverent resources.

Make sure you buy a second copy for yourself, since you probably won’t have time to read before you wrap. Happy Holidays from Bookends!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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