Since you are a book of letters written to other books, I feel like it’s only fitting that my review of you is also in the form of a letter to a book. (Wow, that was a lot of letters and books.)
To be honest, I never even knew you existed until I randomly stumbled upon you while scrolling through my Libby app. I was hoping to find a fairly quick, fairly light nonfiction book to listen to while packing. And you were exactly that, and so much more.
You are genuinely one of the funniest, wittiest books I have ever read. The narrator seemed to get your sense of humor just right, because every joke landed perfectly. And the best part? All of your jokes were bookish. How often do you get to read an entire book where the humor is that of an excited librarian? Unfortunately, far less frequently than I would like.
You also stirred up a lot more emotion than I was expecting. There were the letters to books associated with ex-boyfriends, the book that sparked Annie Spence’s love of reading, and even a letter to ANNE FRANK. You were trying to make me cry, weren’t you? Well, you kind of succeeded (I only teared up).
And can we talk about how motivating you are? All those book recommendations! So many new book titles to check out, and so many that I have renewed interest in after hearing Annie’s exuberant letters to them. Chief among these is Jeffrey Eugenedes’ The Virgin Suicides, which Annie repeatedly categorized as her favorite book ever (such high praise coming from a librarian!). You make me feel motivated to take a trip to the library, to dig out those unread books that have been collecting dust in my bedroom, to strike up a conversation with a friend about their favorite book.
I loved your variety, your humor, your heartfelt anecdotes and witty charm. You made me think about all the moments in my life that I associate with books. Even when a situation didn’t have anything to do with books—as most situations don’t—I can often still remember what book I was reading at the time, what book would have been sitting on my bedside table when I got home that night. When I first entered college I tried rereading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to make me feel more at home—before running out of free time and then accidentally forgetting my copy in my dorm room when I moved out at the end of the year. On my way back to Oxford for the second half of my year abroad I listened to Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir on the seven hour flight. Throughout my spring break trip around a handful of European cities that year I read Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers’ Grimm. The first book I read after a break up earlier this year was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Many people seem to associate certain memories with songs or scents, but for me it has always been books. And you reminded me of how important that is to me.
Long story short, you are an excellent, excellent book, Dear Fahrenheit 451. And you can be sure that I’ll be letting all the other bookworms I know that you’re a fab read. That’s what fellow book lovers are for, right?