I came across this Guardian article the other day on Twitter about how a first edition of The Jungle Book has been discovered which had a poignant inscription from Rudyard Kipling dedicating the book to his daughter.
It was discovered in a National Trust property in Cambridgeshire – what an absolutely wonderful thing to discover. Imagine being the one to find such a treasure!
Since being part of the book blogging world and a couple of book groups I’ve become more sensitive about dog-earing and writing in books. My family have always written inscriptions in gifted books which I think is lovely – especially in my children’s books, as it reminds me when they were given to me and what point in my life I was enjoying the stories. These days I sometimes hesitate, if I think that the person might not want to keep it or if it’s a special copy. It doesn’t make sense really, why should I feel any less ‘allowed to’ writing an inscription in a book than an author? Why are student annotations in library books bad, but if we were to find scribbles by someone who later became famous, they would be precious? That said, I do get annoyed about comments in library books or text books because its as if someone’s done the thinking already for you!
I also get mixed feelings about inscriptions in charity shop books. If it’s a newish book, I feel sad that someone has given away a gift, but if it’s an old book I imagine it to have been loved by someone and only in the shop because they’ve passed away. For example I picked up the book below from a charity shop, entitled Half Hours in the Far North, a book written for children about the wonders to be found in the Northern Hemisphere. I was charmed by the lovely plates and the inscription.
I like to think that Herbert Holland or someone in his family treasured this book and kept it for a long time. Singlegate Boys’ School obviously had the right idea giving books as gifts!
I like my books a little bit ‘loved’, what do you think of inscriptions, annotations etc.?
Do you have any books with special scribbles in them?