Whenever I give books as presents I usually like to write a few choice words on the endpapers to personalise the gift even further. So it always surprises me to find inscribed books in charity shops: it's tantamount to throwing away someone's love.
Which is why The Book Inscriptions Project is so fascinating. The project, which has been up and running since April 9, collects and publishes handwritten inscriptions from books on its website for all to see. In the words of the project's Shaun Raviv "some are funny, some are sad and some are unbelievably personal".
And he is right. I've spent a pleasant evening perusing the collection. I've marvelled at the eloquence of some of the inscriptions, which make my usually trite one-liners seem dull and completely uninspired!
Shaun is currently looking for more inscriptions to add to the site. Unfortunately, my library is very tiny and I don't have any inscribed books in my possession, so I'm unable to contribute. But maybe you might be able to help?
Essentially Shaun is looking for "personal messages written in ink (or pen or marker or crayon or grape jelly) inside a book. Pictures count. So do poems. So do notes on paper found in a book. The more heartfelt the better." You can find out more here. But even if you don't have anything to contribute, the site is well worth a look if only to encourage you to write more creative inscriptions next time you give a book to a friend or loved one.