Not all book dedications are boring. Some are so interesting, amusing, or thoughtful that they are worth repeating and remembering. Here are some of the best book dedications ever written.
10. Mark Twain in ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR
9. P. G. Wodehouse in ‘The Heart of a Goof’
To my daughter Leonora, without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.
8. Franny & Zooey J.D. Salinger in ‘Franny & Zooey’
As nearly as possible in the spirit of Matthew Salinger, age one, urging a luncheon companion to accept a cool lima bean, I urge my editor, mentor and (heaven help him) closest friend, William Shawn, genius domus of The New Yorker, lover of the long shot, protector of the unprolific, defender of the hopelessly flamboyant, most unreasonably modest of born great artist-editors to accept this pretty skimpy-looking book.
7. Douglas Adam in ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’
To my mother, who liked the bit about the horse.
6. Agatha Christie in ‘The Secret Adversary’
To all those who lead monotonous lives, in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure.
5. Carl Sagan in ‘Cosmos’
In the vastness of space and immensity of time, it is my joy to spend a planet and an epoch with Annie.
4. Antoine de Saint-Exupery in ‘The Little Prince’
TO LEON WERTH
I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children–although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:
TO LEON WERTH WHEN HE WAS A LITTLE BOY
3. Neil Gaiman in ‘Anansi Boys’
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 to 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.
2. John Steinbeck in ‘East of Eden’
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”
“To put things in.”
“What kind of things?”
“Whatever you have,” you said.
Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
1. C.S. Lewis in ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’
TO LUCY BARFIELD
My dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
C. S. LEWIS