10 Great Book Dedications

Open book

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’

Dear Pat,

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.”

What for?”

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.

JOHN

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

***

Did you enjoy these book dedications? Which is your favorite?

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22 thoughts on “10 Great Book Dedications

  1. 2. John Steinbeck in ‘East of Eden’ and number one by C.S Lewis. his is my favorite because he has such a way with words, and using words to say the unexplainable.

  2. Twain and C.S. Lewis’s are by far my favorite. What I love about Twain’s is that it fits his satirical writing style and displays the message he was trying to portray in Huck Finn so perfectly. C.S. Lewis’s is just BEAUTIFUL. From all of the books I’ve read, I have to say, Lewis’s are some of the most beautiful, and his dedication really emulates that.

  3. These are wonderful! One of my favourite book dedications is from Terry Pratchett’s ‘Guards! Guards!’ – “They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they want to. This book is dedicated to those fine men.”

  4. Do you like Marl Twain? I tried to read Adventures of Hucklebery Finn but couldn’t get past 1 chapter. It is written in American English and it is so accentuatrd that it makea it difficult to read.

    1. I enjoy Mark Twain’s short stories, which are written in more or less plain English. I have not yet read Huckleberry Finn. The dialect will probably give me some trouble, too. 🙂

      1. If you think Huckleberry Finn will give you trouble, try Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”. That should keep you busy for a while. But it would be worth it 🙂

  5. Strange that I should be just re-reading East of Eden at this moment, and I can see exactly what Steinbeck meant with his words. Nevertheless, Mark Twain’s, in his unique style, must be my favorite.

  6. Hi there! I just wanted to leave a comment to notify you that I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, because I think your blog is absolutely amazing! You can take a look at my last blogpost to see what it is you have to do 🙂

  7. I highly enjoyed all of them! One of Chris Colfer’s books from the trilogy “The Land of Stories” which I told you about has C.S.Lewis’ quote “…Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again” so it was a real joy to find it in the list 🙂 (especially since I didn’t know in what context he had said that). Can you make a part 2 with other 10 great book dedications?

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