What would make a book more precious?

I have a collection of books with handwritten inscriptions. Most of them came from a St Vinnies store in Moorooka that I used to visit every week after I did my grocery shopping. There is something incredibly precious and personal about a book with an inscription. Too precious for me to leave them on the shelf of the second-hand shop.

I am developing a character for my current work in progress. She is a librarian with a special gift. While ruminating on how her gift might work and I got to thinking of my collection of inscribed books. I think she will find some magic there.

Meanwhile, I have reacquainted myself with the magic of my inscribed books.

This is special. My poppy, dad, and me. Two of the books come from the Bevan’s Newsagency and Gift Store Pittsworth.


I have two memories of my poppy. Playing Meccano on the lounge room floor and him giving me a jar of jam drops. Because of this book, I also know how his handwriting looked and that he read detective fiction. Do we both share Sherlock Holmes?

The oldest inscription I have is this one dated 1917. That makes it 100 years old this year.


This is sweet.


And bon voyage in 1934. I can imagine Joan reading this book on the deck of the ship sailing her off from antipodean Sydney into the wide world – England? America?


This has to be the same Isobel in the 1940’s needing a speedy return to health.


I have saved the best to last. This has got to be an Amercian soldier who had been in Queensland during WWII sending a book back to a local girl. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

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