Dedications - Books with a story

One of my favourite periods of my working life was the time just after quitting teaching, before I went into the world of grown-up office work. During this gap I volunteered for 6 months at a charity bookshop. It was fantastic for a couple of reasons - firstly I had first dibs on all the books that were donated to the shop; I’ve never spent so much on books in my life despite them being only £1.99 each! But secondly I was able to spend all day round these pre-loved books and learn a little about their story.

While going through the books on the shelves and ‘culling’ those that had been out too long, I noticed several of these books had dedications in. Mostly these were the usual ‘To Dad, Merry Christmas, Love Kate’ but occasionally I came across some really fascinating ones. These ones really told a story of the past life of these books.

As time went on I started to take pictures of the most interesting dedications. I hope you find them as interesting, humorous and heart-warming as myself. (All quotes sic)

Some dedications gave a lovely insight into the everyday life of the giver and receiver

DIY book DIY dedication

“Dear Simon No more problems with curtain rails as p. 28-30 will show… A very happy birthday”

DIY page

Apparently curtain rails can be very problematic…

Car book Car dedication

“Mine is on page 224! My darling brother with all my love your (best) sister”

And on page 224… Car page

Some were by the author of the book - I love the reflections of the microwave cookery author!

Microwave book

“This book’s now 20 yrs old - I read it now with amusement - I was proseliotizing about how a mw can be used to cook real raw food from basic state - but its a tad overambitious - I’m far simpler these days”

Caitlin book Moran dedication

“To Frances, My best Sindy was called Frances. Caitlin”

These dedications were just a beautiful look into these couples’ relationship - who wouldn’t want to be like these couples?! (although they do seem to have very different dynamics!)

Love Poems Love dedication

“Dearest Josephine, I hope you enjoy the book because: It’s for people like you that keep it turned on’ Stephen”

Animal Sex book Animal sex dedication

“Fiona gives Rob Encyclopaedia of poo: 1 Nil Rob gives Fiona Animal Sex 1 All”

This is one of the oldest dedications I found - why did everyone have such beautiful handwriting back then!

Old book Old dedication

“With my love & happiest wishes to you”

This is ever-so-slightly heartbreaking one

Little Prince Little Prince dedication

“To Coco, a little princess, to keep alive the precious, magic and spark kid you are all your life long With love, Laura -April 2013 ’…Goodbye, said the fox And now here is my secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly what is essential is invisible to the eye”

Bear in mind this picture was taken in January 2014, not long after the dedication was written - how did it end up in a second-hand bookshop already?

And finally, my absolute favourite one. Just imagine the story behind this one:

Me book Me dedication

“To dearest me, Hoping that you find everything you need and desire in 1999 Love and best wishes, Me”

Whenever I find a book with an interesting dedication I love thinking about the book’s journey - why was this particular book chosen as a gift? Why this particular message? And the most important one to me; what happened to these people that meant this book, that was obviously meant to be treasured, has ended up being given away?

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. This to me is why physical books beat a kindle every time!

Book quote

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