Dedications: Dear Olivia

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DEAR OLIVIA
I LOVE YOU
CATHERINE

Gotta love an inscription that gets right to the point, and this one makes no bones about it.

The thing that really fascinates me about this dedication is the handwriting: it’s shaky, and the V looks like an N, and the N is totally backwards, and the T is oddly lowercase in an all-caps neighbourhood. My first thought was that this was from a kid – and that still might be true – but the book is a fairly hefty tome set on exploring the history of film in detail. Hardly seems like a present from a child. I wonder if it was written by someone with their non-dominant hand? With a broken arm? Who had lost the majority of their dexterity for some other reason? Easily my favourite part of dedications is thinking about all the ways they might have come to be.

I collected dozens of these types of dedications (using the term loosely, with this one) when I worked at a used bookstore, and I still keep an eye out for them when I’m browsing second-hand books. Now you can find a new dedication here every Friday. See the complete list here!

Have any of your previously loved books come with notes from past owners?Send them my way!

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