Saturday, January 03, 2009

Inscriptions, the Destructive Endearments

As a used books seller, I confess to disliking inscriptions. I've been chastised by family and friends for tipping in a card when giving the gift of a book. I can't anymore bring myself to actually write in a book.

There are inscriptions and then there are inscriptions, of course. "Love from Aunt Dot" in pencil and dated "1879" is actually rather sweet -- and erase-able. But there are those who feel that the blank endpapers of a hardcover are just too much like actual stationary to resist letter writing. Of these scribblers, I despair.

I've just come across a fascinating site, dedicated to collecting inscriptions from books. The Book Inscriptions Project woulds seem to me to be one of those undertakings for which the Internet seems to have uniquely purposed. Check it out, when you have the chance.


  1. That's a wonderful website; thanks for the link!

    I confess to getting a kick out of inscriptions. The funniest one I have in my collection reads thusly:

    Colleen -

    Thanks for breaking the legs of the crazed man with the submachine gun; otherwise, the signing might have gone badly.


    Dean Koontz


  2. I would share my favorite inscription -- from one famous Dutch writer to a famous American writer -- but both are still alive, so no names. Basically the Dutch thanked the American "for a marvelous friendship" by inscribing a copy of his latest book to her. I bought it in a used book shop -- about a week after publication!


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