Book review: Dedicated to… compiled by W B Gooderham

I love secondhand books, and one of the reasons I love them is for the dedications you sometimes find inside.

Who gifted the book? Who received it? Why has it now found its way into the hands of another owner?

W B Gooderham is also a fan of secondhand books, and in Dedicated to… has brought together some of the best dedications he has found inside books. Each page features a picture of the book, and the inscription page (if possible) and, usually, a typed version of the inscription, since some of the handwriting is difficult to read.

Dedicated to… is a collection of messages between friends, family, lovers, acquaintances and more. All we see is the book and the dedication, the story behind the gift is left to the reader to decide.

There are some strange messages, some quite deep, but the ones that got me most were the ones that were clearly between people in love. For example, in a copy of Embedded Anatomy: States and Industrial Transformation by Peter Evans (yes, this comes under strange too) there is a message to Kim from Stu, whose dedication ends: “I am yours always.” Clearly, Stu was in love with Kim when this book was gifted, but what happened afterward? Did they have a horrid break up? Is that why Kim (presumably) gave the book away? Or did Kim give the book away because it’s such a strange choice?

The stories are myriad, and in one way it would be great if the people whose messages have been printed could get in touch with Gooderham to tell him their stories (not sure how he’d feel about me volunteering him). In another way though, the mystery is what makes this book, and secondhand books, so appealing.

How I got this book: Gift from a friend

Dedicated to… is the 12th, and final, book in my challenge to read 12 non-fiction books in 2013.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Trish Hannon says:

    I love finding little notes in books too. It makes me so curious about the previous owner. Sounds like a good book for dipping in and out of.


  2. It was a really quick read, but one you would definitely go back to in order to look at certain messages more.



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