The OF Blog: Inscriptions

Monday, December 08, 2008


I love receiving books from dear friends, perhaps in part because I rarely receive such thoughtful gifts. I particularly love it when there are little inscriptions written on the inside cover or frontispiece, as it feels like a communion of sorts - me, them, and the text in-between to bind us closer together.

I found myself moving a few books around this evening to make space for new arrivals. As I tried to decide where to reshelve them, I began reading some of the inscriptions and thinking back fondly to the times when I first received those books, in some cases many years ago. Since I rarely share personal things, I thought I'd use this post to give readers here a glimpse into some of the good friendships I have developed over the years. No names will be shared (after all, there has to be some privacy here!), but the books and their inscriptions perhaps will be clue enough to the types of friends who've shared their thoughts as well as their dedications over the years:

José Hernández, Martín Fierro:

Si bien Martín Fierro es el gaucho "cliché" & no es verdadero gaucho; el poemo es inposible! Espero que lo entiendas...Besos, _________ Julio 2005.

Manuel Mujica Lainez, Misteriosa Buenos Aires:

Cuando me pase a pensar en tu regalo de cumpleaños en seguido pensé "tiene que leer estos cuentos."

Reales o no, reflejan verdaderomente el espiritu de Buenos Aires. Feliz cumpleaños!

Umberto Eco, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (in a foreign edition):

For Larry:

For the rainy afternoons to scare away the boredom

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (in another foreign edition):

É ameró il rumore del vento nel grano...

Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night a traveler... (again, in another language):


Books are like bridges.

They connect.

While there are others I could share, from friends and authors alike, these are the ones that mean the most to me, especially the Italian translation of Saint-Exupéry. Am I alone in cherishing such inscriptions, or have others out there received similar writings within their received books that have made them think just a bit longer about not just the book and its meanings, but on how that book might represent a larger connection between two people?


Dark Wolf said...

Lately I discovered the pleasure of signed books. I have to admit that I really love them and when a book comes my way with a nice dedication from the author it gives me a great joy. For gifts I can say much, because in my country such gifts aren't much appreciated. Only my wife gives me books as gift, but she has difficulties in finding them (I usually buy them before she gets the chance to aquire them as gifts :)).
So, I'm with you here, I really love when my books have dedications for me :D

Larry said...

There's always something personal about writing down thoughts for another to consider, isn't it? :D

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