I dedicate this blog post to great book dedications

As eager as I often am to jump straight into the story when starting a new book, there is one thing I always have to do first – check to see if there’s a book dedication.

While many dedications are quite simple and usually just include the mention of loved ones, every now and then I stumble across one that includes a bit more, such as a cheeky sidenote, or  something completely different and silly, or sometimes a more serious and inspiring message. I have gathered here some of my favourites, all of which are taken from my personal book collection (so hopefully there will be a few you haven’t read before). Enjoy!

“To my daughter Leonora, without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.” – The Heart of a Goof by P. G. Wodehouse

“Simply and impossibly: For my family.” – Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

“This book is dedicated to my bank balance.” – Silly Verse For Kids by Spike Milligan

“To my mother, who liked the bit about the horse.” – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

“To Vik Lovell, who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lairs.” – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“To my dear brother Desmond, who made my boyhood happy and with whom I have never had a crossword, mind you he drives his wife mad.” – ‘Rommel?’ ‘Gunner Who?’ by Spike Milligan

“To the love of my life, my soul mate, and the greatest person in the world: Me.” – The Alphabet of Manliness by Maddox

“To ………………………………………….
                (insert full name here)             ” – The Liar by Stephen Fry

“For Stephen and the bills.” – Mrs Fry’s Diary by Mrs Stephen Fry (Stephen’s alter ego)

“This book is dedicated to my family, for their unfailing faith and enthusiasm; to Caroline, for her fund of stories and luminous presence; and to all those who are persecuted for daring to think for themselves.” – The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernières

And finally, perhaps my favourite book dedication of all time, and one I mentioned briefly the other day. I decided this one might be easier to just take a photo, rather than type it all out. Sorry about the glare. Enjoy…

From Calcium Made Interesting by Graham Chapman. Do you think this story is real? I certainly do (I particularly love the mention of Douglas Adams, too).

Are there any great or funny book dedications you have come across? I’d love to hear them if so!

33 thoughts on “I dedicate this blog post to great book dedications

  1. Haha! 😀
    I love book dedications, and acknowledgements. I like the funny ones, the sweet ones, the cryptic ones, all of them. I’ll have to go through my books to be able to quote them, but from the ones that I’ve read recently, I loved the Good Omens dedication.
    ” The authors would like to join the demon
    Crowley in dedicating this book to the
    memory of G. K. Chesterton . A man who
    knew what was going on.”

    • Hahaha, I like that, that is a good one. Actually speaking of Neil Gaiman, apparently his dedication in the front of Anansi Boys is really good, let me see if I can find it online (I don’t have the book myself)…ahhh here we go:
      “You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not you.
      Not this time.
      Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other…
      This one’s for you.
      With you know what, and you probably know why.”

    • Hahahaha, Spike Milligan was a very witty man when it came to things like this. He also has (I think) the funniest epitaph on his gravestone: “I told you I was ill…” Funnily enough, for a few years he lived in a town about a ten minute drive from where I live (which is an hour north of Sydney in Australia, basically), and they’ve named a number of things after him there. 🙂

  2. Great fun post. I must admit I love the peripherals, author information, dedications, photographs etc. etc. and I am very irritated that Kindle insists on starting at the beginning and always make it go back to the pre-beginning !!

    • Oh so Kindle tries to skip past all that stuff? Urgh, yeah, that would probably annoy me a little bit. I keep trying to convince myself I should try the Kindle thing, but I just don’t know if it’s for me! 😛 Same with music – I still buy cds. People think I’m a nutcase but hey, I mustn’t be the only one still buying them, or else they wouldn’t sell them anymore…

      • I love my Kindle but that’s because it lets me take hundreds of books everywhere I go. I still like the real thing but now I can have a walking library and it is getting better because now there are cover pictures on most of them etc. and the formatting is improving all the time. I admit I’m a gadget person anyway so it had me right from the start!!

        • Yeah that is the main upside I think, is being able to take so many books in such a compact manner. More than likely when I travel more later on this year I will probably look into getting a Kindle or something similar then. I am curious, but I am also cautious! 😛

  3. It’s not quite a dedication but it is an Authors Note (so I’m counting it!)

    ‘This is not so much an author’s note as an author’s reminder of what was printed in small type a few pages ago: THis book is a work of fiction. I made it up.

    Neither novels of their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.

    I appreciate you cooperation in this matter.’

    John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)

    An amazing novel right down it its authors note!
    Lindy xx

    • Hahaha, I like it, very clever! I have been wanting to read that novel for a while actually, I’ve noticed it’s been getting a lot of attention the last month or two and I keep hearing it is amazing, so I will need to get my hands on it soon I think to see what all the fuss is about (I have to admit, in a rare occasion, my hopes are really up for this one! 😛 )

        • Haha, okay, I’m taking your word for it. I’ll get my hands on The Fault In Our Stars, you get your hands on The Wise Man’s Fear…and I’ll read like 4 other books in the meantime because TWMF is a bit of an epic book 😛 Anyway I will certainly let you know my thoughts on The Fault In Our Stars once I have read it 🙂

  4. If dedications had a WTF Award, Ayn Rand wins it for Atlas Shrugged, which she originally dedicated to both her husband and her lover (whose activities were no secret whatsoever). She later removed Nathaniel Branden (her lover) from the dedication out of anger– apparently he had started seeing someone else.

  5. I love the book dedication in “I Wrote This For You”. I copied the text out on my blog here: http://isleofbooks.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/i-wrote-this-for-you/ . I love funny or beautiful dedications. So many authors, I think, after writing the darn book, can’t find the words anymore to express whatever they want to express and just write something simple. Which isn’t bad, just a little disappointing. Like they’re not truly using every inch of the book. Also I’m seconding the reading of “A Fault in Our Stars”.

    • I like that dedication, it’s lovely! I think you’re right, about why some authors don’t write amazing dedications. I know Wodehouse only wrote dedications in 20 of his books (out of nearly a hundred that he wrote), but considering how much he wrote, it’s kind of understandable.
      And hahaha okay, I promise I will read The Fault In Our Stars asap! 🙂

    • I know what you mean – I think Chapman’s dedication so neatly sums him up – chaotic, verging on anarchist, yet oddly charming, witty and wildly intelligent. I bought that book because of that dedication – when I first read it I was laughing out loud in the bookstore and drawing attention to myself, so I thought I might as well buy the stupid thing haha! 🙂

  6. This was a great post. Graham Chapman’s dedication is truly awesome.

    I love this one, it’s another one of Neil Gaiman’s funny dedications, or perhaps more of an author’s note, from American Gods:

    “Neil Gaiman is a messy-haired white male author trapped in the body of an identical white male author with perhaps even less-tidy hair. His books and comics have won many awards. He thanks you for your offer of a comb but does not believe it would do any good. Despite being English, he lives more in America than he does anywhere else in the world, and is currently somewhere in his mid-forties. He wrote this book especially for you.”

    • Ahh I think I’ve read that author’s note before, it seems very familiar! Neil Gaiman is a funny one! If we’re going to include author’s notes, I should probably share this one by Stephen Fry, from his book Making History:

      “As an actor and writer Stephen Fry has bestridden the world for a quarter of a century, sowing discord, agitation and dismay. His power grows daily and his disciples are many. However, it is written that at the Time of Leavening, a Chosen One will arise to destroy him. Until that time, Mr Fry will continue to direct, broadcast, act and write in North London and Norfolk, where his best friends are the flowers.”

  7. Love these! i was going to pick my favorite, but I like so many! Adams, of course, and Kesey and Maddox. Just reading those dedications makes me want to read their books! Well, except for Kesey’s because I’ve already read it . . . 🙂

    • I know what you mean – I think in many cases the dedications really do hint at the contents of the book. Milligan, Adams and Chapman all have quite silly books that follow on from these dedications, while de Bernières and Foer have more serious, inspiring books, and then of course the book by Maddox is just insulting and rude (but hilarious if you aren’t easily offended). 🙂

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