Some people skip the dedication page, but I always read them. Most writers who dedicate books do so fairly anonymously, keeping it personal so that only the person and a few close friends would really know who it's for. Or sometimes it's simply "to my husband" or "to my wife" which is always nice. (The dedication on the right is from The Book of Delightful and Strange Designs by Andrew White Tuer)
Mostly my dedications have been the same kind of thing. I've dedicated books to my parents, to my sisters, to my dog, to writing friends, to work colleagues, and to people I've taught, as well as to readers.
The dedication in my book, Marry in Scandal, in which the heroine suffers what we understand today is dyslexia, reads thus: To all those doing battle with reading disabilities, including the many I've taught over the years in adult literacy classes. Bet you never thought you'd have a book dedicated to you, did you?
Sometimes there's a little story behind the dedication. In the dedication of my first book for Berkley, The Perfect Rake, there is this line: "And for all those who waited patiently for "B.G." to arrive."
"B.G." was "bloody Gideon" which is what I called my hero for a big part of the writing of the book. I'd been trying to write a dark and dangerous kind of hero, and Gideon just refused to cooperate. He just strolled onto the page, being funny and flippant, and of course I fell in love with him, despite my frustration.
I'm a big fan of P.G.Wodehouse and I love this dedication in the front of Heart of a Goof.
To my daughter
without whose never-failing
sympathy and encouragement
would have been finished
half the time.
I remember when I first read The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, I really wondered about the dedication, why poor Leon Werth was hungry and cold and needed cheering up. And why the author didn't help him if he was hungry and cold, instead of just dedicating a book to him. Clearly I was a practically minded child. It wasn't a children's book anyway.
To Leon Werth
I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:
To Leon Werth, When he was a little boy.
I never knew much about AA Milne's life but I adored his books and knew many of his poems off by heart before I was ten. It was much later that I noticed his dedications.
Hand in hand we come
Christopher Robin and I
To lay this book in your lap.
Say you're surprised?
Say you like it?
Say it's just what you wanted?
Because it's yours—
We love you.
Then, in The House at Pooh Corner he wrote this:
You gave me Christopher Robin, and then
You breathed new life in Pooh
Whatever of each has left my pen
Goes homing back to you.
My book is ready, and comes to greet
The mother it longs to see—
It would be my present to you, my sweet,
If it weren't your gift to me.
Isn't that gorgeous? So romantic.
AA Milne dedicated his poetry collection When We Were Very Young so his son, Christopher Robin, and the next book, Now We Are Six, to "Anne Darlington now she is seven because she is so speshal." (Anne Darlington was a little friend of Christopher Robin's.)
I liked this dedication by JK Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
Because which of us did not stick with Harry to the very end?
What about you — do you read dedications? Is there one you particularly remember? If you were to dedicate a book, who might it be to?