Book Dedications

Where did the trend for dedicating books to people come from, I wonder? Other pieces of work do not do this. Architects don't put a plaque on their new Tesco Metro that reads, 'To Mum & Dad'. If you look underneath Hirst's pickled shark it does not say 'To Anita'. In film and TV, a dedication is only acceptable if someone has died recently. But a book seems unfinished without a dedication. I do not know why this is.

As for the dedications themselves, about 90% are to whoever the author is sleeping with. This is probably understandable, as writers mostly have no money and spend years locked away in a little room by themselves. They therefore need some carrot to persuade their partners not to run away, and the promise of being immortalised once the book is finished is a tempting carrot.

As for the other dedications, they are usually to parents, children or colleagues. Occasionally however there are dedications that are interesting - being either mysterious, funny, or just plain arsey. Here are my top five:

5. Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll by Richard Blandford:

"To the Skyman"

4. Post Office by Charles Bukowski:

"This book is presented as a work of fiction and dedicated to no-one"

3. The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson:

"To Richard Milhouse Nixon, who never let me down."

2. Principia Discordia by Malaclypse the Younger:

"To the prettiest one. All Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!"

1. Better Than Sex by Hunter S. Thompson:

"To Nicole, my vampire in the Garden of Agony"


  1. Architects traditionally bury their dedication in the concrete of the foundations of their buildings. Usually it is someone who upset them.

  2. Writers could do that as well though - follow footnote eight in chapter 12 to the back of the book, and find it reads 'Sally is a slag'.

    But do they? No they don't. No imagination, them writers.


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