For over four years as an adult books editorial assistant at Booklist, I checked in books. How many books? Although our publishing system would probably allow me to find the number easily, I’d rather not know. Let’s just say they could literally be measured in tons. I generally enjoyed this activity though, because the excitement of meeting new books in their backstage phase never really wore off.
I’d type in the dedication and occasionally add
a note, like “WEIRD!” or “I’m crying :(.”
Checking in a book involves everything you’d think it would: noting all the front and back cover information as well as the title page verso’s necessities. Booklist‘s publishing system wants to know everything there is to know about an ARC; it’s very nosy that way. And I indulged my own particular brand of nosiness while leafing through those title pages. At some point, I started looking for dedication pages (not all galleys have them). And at some point after that, I began saving the ones I liked, copying the book’s title and author into a document on my desktop, where’d I’d then type in the dedication and occasionally add a note, like “WEIRD!” or “I’m crying :(.”
Which dedications became save-worthy is a mystery even to me, I guess. Certainly there were days I didn’t have time or inspiration to even check for them. And there were probably occasions when I guffawed at a sappy dedication that would have made me misty-eyed on some other day. After I left my editorial assistant post to work as a marketing associate, it occurred to me more than once, with some sadness, that I had lost my pipeline to new-and-unseen dedications.
The other day, though, when I opened good old Dedications.docx just for a diversion, I was reminded how very much I love this little collection, and the idea to share it in an occasional series on the Booklist Reader was born. A disclaimer: this is just one woman’s collection of dedications, taken from a somewhat random sample of advanced copies of books published in the last few years, and just that same woman’s opinions about those dedications in books she (mostly) hasn’t read. I’ve tried to retain the original style where possible.
Believe it or not, these things practically group themselves. I thought it best, for this first post, to include dedications to everyone’s favorite person: you. I mean it, you! Maybe. Read on to see if you qualify for any of the dedications below, which are in no particular order. And, if you love dedications, too, please share! We would love to see them, in the comments below.
Last Man in Tower, by Aravind Adiga
To my fellow commuters on the Santa Cruz-Churchgate local line
For my brother and sister
and siblings everywhere
who are the first to teach us about
the great rivalries we cannot do without.
I have a brother and I’ll admit—to you only—that Rothkopf’s got me: the rivalry is pretty fun.
To the People of the Facebook/Twitter/
Google/YouTube/Myspace Nation —
May your data never be used against you.
Quick scan says, yep, I have or had an account in all five, and the Internet knows everything about me.
A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, by Tony Fletcher
To everyone who survived the ’80s
As much as I believe I thrived in the six years of my life that took place in the ’80s, I probably have to let this one go.
Time Flies, by Claire Cook
To my high school classmates, and yours.
Technically speaking, this might be dedicated to just about everyone but you, if you didn’t go to high school with Claire Cook.
Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us, by Jesse Bering
For You, You Pervert, You
Before you shout, “Not me!” according to the Booklist review Bering claims that “we all deviate from the norm because there is no norm.” So, there.
Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis, by Benjamin Kunkel
who can use it
The Sixteenth of June, by Maya Lang
For all the readers
who never made it through Ulysses
(or haven’t wanted to try)
Those who have read Ulysses will have to see themselves out.
Against Fairness, by Stephen T. Asma
For my favorite.
He knows who he is.
Money Sucks: A Memoir on Why Too Much or Too Little Can Ruin You, by Michael Baughman
This book is dedicated to everyone
Only one way to find out! Clever, clever, Mr. Baughman.