Category Archives: Book Inscription

Awkward Book Inscriptions #2 – Just in time for Father’s Day…


My copy of American Pastoral by Philip Roth

I have on my to-read bookshelf another gem I picked up at a used book fair: American Pastoral by Philip Roth. This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. While I have yet to read it, I know that it takes place in the midst of the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s. Here’s a quote from the dust jacket:

For the Swede is not allowed to stay forever blissful inside the beloved hundred-and-seventy-year-old stone farmhouse, in rural Old Rimrock, where he lives with his pretty wife –the college sweetheart who was Miss New Jersey of 1949–and the lively, precocious daughter who is the apple of his eye. The apple of his eye, that is, until she grows up to be a revolutionary terrorist bent on destroying her father’s paradise.

That’s some daughter, don’t you think? And as a gift, hmmm. I’m not sure this would be a good choice, particularly to a father. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a MORE inappropriate book for a daughter to give her father. (Except perhaps Lolita.) But Anna, dear Anna, did indeed give this to her Daddy. The inscription reads, “Dear Daddy, Happy Birthday! Love Anna.” I hope Daddy didn’t mind. IMG_1475

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Awkward Book Inscriptions #1

You’ve received one, admit it. An overly sentimental inscription written in a book of fairy tales from your Aunt Myrtle. A gruff inscription from your father. Or a giggly inscription from your sister with way too many exclamation points.

A book inscription sounds like a lovely idea, preserving a moment, creating a memory for the book giver and receiver. The reality turns out to be much different: awkward, stilted phrases found on secondhand books.

Recently, the local chapter of the AAUW held a huge book sale. It’s one of my favorite book related events in my hometown and a great opportunity to pick up some terrific books at even better prices. My parents enjoy this event, too, and picked out a book to give to my husband, who is a big fan of University of Delaware football. IMG_1431

So far so good. It’s a bit dated, but that’s ok. We open it up and discover this:


To David: Hope the operation was a success! Best Wishes – Jaime Young

Poor David! What kind of operation is it where people give you books about football and hope it’s a success? I blush to think…

I am hoping to make this a regular feature of Biblio-filia – please feel free to send me photos of the awkward inscriptions you find!

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