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"