My 12 in 12 Challenge – May – Words, Books and Writing – Book 13

The 12 in 12 Challenge is designed for me to read 12 books for each month in the year to clear out my to-be-read pile of physical books. So far it has worked well and in some months I read more than 12 books around the same theme. This month’s theme was Words, Books and Writing and I have now reached Book 13.

I have to confess that this is a very recently bought book. I accept that continuing to buy books can only add to the pile that I am trying to reduce but it is the habit of a lifetime and it is going to take more will power than I have to stop acquiring new volumes, even when the bookshops are all shut because of the Coronavirus !

This book is Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence who is a librarian. The first part of the book consists of short love letters to books in her library, especially those she has to weed out because they are not read enough or are in bad condition. These are a wide range of books in all genres and her views on them are often very funny.  The letters are short and snappy and it is very obvious that the author has read all the books she refers to (unless she specifically says that she hasn’t and that is the point of the letter). I didn’t know all the books she writes to but even where I didn’t I still enjoyed what she had to say.

The second part of the book is a collection of suggested books for various feelings and situations with her comments about them and why we should consider reading them. There are lists of her favourite books, books which are better than their cover, very long books you might enjoy, books that are like other books you might like, books for recovering from hard books, and books that create a very different world. I knew a lot of those books and while I don’t always agree with her enthusiasms I think that all the books I recognise are well worth a read – they are not all snobby literary fiction at all.

This was an entertaining book. I might have enjoyed it more if the author had not been American so that I didn’t understand all her references to popular culture but, to be fair, not all her book choices are American. I am pleased to say that I now have a list of books to try based on suggestions in this book – that to-be-read pile looks in danger of growing again despite all my best efforts !