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The Top 10 Most Unusual Book Dedications in History

Book dedications have a long history, originally serving to flatter patrons who supported authors. However, modern dedications are often expressions of affection or gratitude towards loved ones.

While sections like Acknowledgements, Foreword, and Bibliography are often skipped over by readers, the Book Dedication page occasionally surprises with unusual or funny messages. Here are 10 book dedications that stand out:

10 Romantic Copper: Its Lure and Lore by Ira B. Joralemon

Many writers create comedic dedications to family members, but geologist/author Ira B. Joralemon took a different approach in his dedication for the nonfiction book Romantic Copper: Its Lure and Lore. He playfully teases his wife, saying, “She ain’t so good lookin’ so that any other fellar besides myself is likely to get stuck on her.”

9 My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

Co-authors Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows added humor to the dedication of their YA fantasy book My Lady Jane. They apologize to England for the liberties taken with history in the book and reference Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic.

8 Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World by Derek Landy

In Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World, author Derek Landy dedicates the book to his cover artist, Tom Percival, teasingly suggesting that he could have designed the covers himself.

7 Liber de Illustribus Henricis by John Capgrave

Scholastic theologian and historian John Capgrave used the dedication of his book Liber de Illustribus Henricis to switch political allegiance during the War of the Roses. He praised Henry VI in a previous dedication, but after Edward IV became king, Capgrave endorsed him instead.

6 Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow

Comedian Judd Apatow’s dedication in Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy thanks his parents for their support and humorously suggests that their mental health issues contributed to his comedy career.

5 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Mark Twain wrote a satirical message in the dedication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, warning readers not to seek motives, morals, or plots in the narrative.

4 Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Author Terry Pratchett’s dedication for the fantasy novel Maskerade: A Novel of Discworld thanks the people who showed him how strange opera can be, while cheekily refraining from mentioning their names.

3 Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille

Nelson DeMille pokes fun at authors who name-drop in dedications in the 2006 edition of Wild Fire. He thanks the Emperor of Japan, the Queen of England, and even Paris Hilton.

2 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Daniel Handler, writing as Lemony Snicket, begins each book in A Series of Unfortunate Events with a dedication to his lost love, Beatrice, using darkly humorous and irreverent messages.

1 Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s dedication for Anansi Boys is cleverly elusive, appealing to everyone and no one at the same time, leaving no room for complaints about being left out.

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Written by Jennifer Lafferty

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