Dedication are the little things at the front of many books that we skip over to get to the first chapter. Small and overlooked, the dedication is often the author’s way of getting in a “Hi mom!” before the book starts.
Most of the dedications one finds in books are of the sort we find in The Great Gatsby, where the author dedicates the book to a loved one, in this case his wife:
And after reading dedication after dedication that just says: “To [name] with love,” one starts to skip them. In fact, I don’t remember even seeing a dedication for a very long time. It took the dedication in Stories, a collection of hard-to-categorize short stories edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio to make me want to check out more (scroll down for the Stories dedication).
Here are seven fun dedications I found in the books within reach on my shelf. Feel free to add some great ones in the comments.
1. Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things:
For Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, and for the late Robert Sheckley, masters of their craft.
2. Stephen King, IT:
This book is gratefully dedicated to my children. My mother and my wife taught me how to be a man. My children taught me to be free.
NAOMI RACHEL KING, at fourteen;
JOSEPH HILLSTROM KING, at twelve;
OWEN PHILIP KING, at seven.
Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.
3. Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency:
to my mother, who liked the bit about the horse.
4. George R. R. Martin, A Storm of Swords:
for Phyllis, who made me put the dragons in.
Millions of readers and fans of the HBO show are thankful, Phyllis. Maybe we should get together and send her a card. Just a thought.
5. Dark Destiny, edited by Edward E. Kramer:
This book is dedicated to Robert Bloch, grandmaster of darkness. May the blood drawn from your typewriter’s keys sustain us always.
6. Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, Stories:
For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told.
7. Neil Gaiman, 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.
* This post originally appeared on BookRiot, one of my weekly posts there. BookRiot is the top editorially independent book site online, by the way.