I’m an avid listener of the Adam Buxton podcast. I love hearing his rambly chats with people and, I’ve found, that it’s a pretty good thing to listen to at work. A few weeks ago, Adam was talking to author Nina Stibbe. Before that point, I’d never read anything by Stibbe but I knew of her. She seemed like such a lovely person that I picked up a copy of her book Love Nina. I had meant to watch the BBC adaptation a while ago but, because I never watch normal TV, I never got round to it. It’s something I definitely want to watch now that I’ve finished the book. I do have to admit that, thanks to my knowledge of the show, I kept imagining Mary-Kay as Helena Bonham Carter and Nina as Faye Marsay.
Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451,
As if it could end any other way? It’s the final day of this project so, of course, I’m writing to you. You are, after all, the book that started it all off. I mean the idea has been wandering around my head since the start of the year but I didn’t know how to approach it. Then I met you. I found you in my local bookshop one day but didn’t buy you. Well, I didn’t buy you until I went back the next day. I couldn’t get you out of my head. I was excited to read you and you didn’t disappoint.
It was a gimmick that could easily have gone wrong but Annie Spence’s letters were heartwarming, funny, and relatable. Anyone who loves books can see themselves in her words. We all have such strong bonds with certain books that the idea of telling them what they mean to us just makes sense. So I copied you. Instead of writing a review for each book that I felt had touched me in my life I decided to write them a letter. This decision possibly has something to do with time and my laziness but it also comes down to how you made me feel. I loved reading your letters and I wanted to replicate that feeling myself.
Not only did they give a good sense of the book but it allowed Annie to come through too. You can put yourself into a book review in some way but, in the end, it’s all about the book. If I was really going to celebrate the books that shaped my life then I felt like I had to be in it. It had to be about me too. And reading you gave me the confidence to do that. To explore my inner feelings and get a bit sentimental. Maybe a bit too sentimental at times but we’re bookish people. We have loads of emotions constantly fighting to get out. Some of the letters were harder to write and they were definitely not as funny as I’d hoped. It’s difficult when you’re starting point is something so bloody wonderful and charming. The comparison will never be a great one.
So, you may be the book on this list that I’ve known the least time but, in this context at least, you are the most important. I’ll never regret picking you up and I’ll always enjoy coming back to you. Dipping in and out of your letters. Dipping in and out of my own letters. I think I knew the moment I first picked you up in that shop that we would be friends forever. We’re on the same page… if you’ll pardon the super obvious pun. I just hope our relationship can survive my obvious attempt to copy your style. I feel like you’re Regina George and I’m Gretchen Weiners. And nobody wants to be Gretchen Weiners.
Please don’t weed me,