The effort of writing a book is different for every author, but one thing is generally agreed upon: It’s a long and arduous journey. There will be many drafts. There will be countless rounds of edits. It will take persistence and dedication and many cups of coffee to finally get to the day when the writer holds the finished manuscript in their hands and has to decide, after all of that effort, to whom they will dedicate the book.
For many authors, the dedication is a simple inscription consisting of just a word or two. The simplicity of a straightforward dedication implies a deep appreciation, as if trying to name all the ways that person supported the writer would be impossible. There’s an air of mystery and intimacy to a short dedication.
However, some writers eschew mystique and choose playfulness instead. Words inscribed on the first pages of a book hold a significance that is perfect for settling arguments, confessing old sins, or even proposing marriage. Often, the dedication at the front of a book also gives a hint at what’s to come in terms of style and voice.
In celebration of unique dedications, we’ve collected 11 of our favorites, ranging from the sweet to the absurd. If you find yourself drawn to one in particular, you might check out the book. If the author can draw you in with a line or two, imagine what they can do with 300 pages.
For Colin FirthYou’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.Shannon Hale, “Austenland”
Thanks, Dad. This book’s for you. Please don’t read chapters 7, 9, 11, 17, 19, 21, or 28.Tessa Dare, “The Duchess Deal”
For the students of Lyons Township High School in Illinois.Because that kid in the back row asked.Kendare Blake, “Mortal Gods”
For everyone who only hears from me when I need something.Sean Danker, “Admiral”
For anyone who has ever dreamed of finding a body in the library.Maureen Johnson, “Truly Devious”
For my son, I promise to tell you all the stories I know and to help you discover the ones I don’t.Amy Meyerson, “The Imperfects”
To my parents, for always supporting me.There wasn’t a parenting book in the world that could have prepared you for my eccentricity.Chris Colfer, “The Land of Stories: Beyond The Kingdoms”
I’m sorry for denting the coffee table with my ninja sword. Yes, it was me.
To my mother, Belzie. I would have made a terrible doctor, mom. People would have died.Ben Philippe, “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager”
Ania, I love you; will you marry me?Peter Leeson, “The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates”
To everyone who read the first (horrible) draft of this story and did not laugh when twelve-year-old me said, “Someday, I’m going to get this published.”Sara Raasch, “Snow Like Ashes”
To my wonderful readers:Sorry about that last cliff-hanger.Rick Riordan, “The House of Hades”
Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA.
But seriously, I love you guys.
Photo credit: Lisa_A/ Shutterstock