Saturday Musings: Signatures In Books #1


One of my main hobbies is collecting signatures. Signed books, signed photos, magazines, index cards, letters - you name it, if it's signed, I'll collect it. I've been told it's a hobby, it's hoarding, it's healthy, it's an illness, it's a coping mechanism. Call it what you will, for me it's fun.

If you should see me in a second hand bookstore you'll notice that I'm picking certain books up, looking at title pages and either putting them back or getting excited and grabbing them. That's what I do. Usually I'm lucky and find more than one signed book, sometimes I go months without getting anything and then it's over to the likes of eBay or pestering people I know to send me books they've written, but sign them first (hint: it doesn't work. People don't send me books they've written signed because, I suspect, they like to torture me. Bastards). But the best thing is finding books with messages and inscriptions in them.

Did Dianne say hello to Tom Hardy for Tara Moss? I certainly hope so!

You can always count on Judith Lucy to totally deface her books

David Wilson, advising Albert where the good stuff is located

William S Hart, star of western silent films, signing on behalf of his Pinto Pony

Inscriptions can be brilliant. One of my favourites is one that was done for me. I had a quick chat with Anna Krien at the 2020 Writers Week about her brilliant book Night Games (if you've never read it, get a copy now. You'll never look at the AFL the same, and that's a good thing). We were talking about where I first read it, which was on a car journey to Melbourne. I was reading it out loud to Lyndal, who was driving, and she was getting angrier and angrier over it (the contents, not my reading) to the point where I had to stop as she was doing around 160ks down the road. Anna thought that was brilliant.

Sound advice from Anna Krien

The moral of the story is to engage with the authors, talk to them. As an author myself, I like to know why people have taken the time to buy a book. What got them there, and where do they think the journey is going to lead them? 

Annabel Crab had a booze admin!

Just talk. otherwise you might end up with a signature like this.

I mean, I love Clare, but what the? It's a stylised 'X'.

If it wasn't in a book, you'd never know it John Green's signature

And I can appreciate that some people do the little squiggles because they've perfected the art of signing and just want to do as many as they can in as short a time period as possible. So be it. Hell, I'm happy to have them, and I'm happy they've taken the time to sign. But you can understand the disappointment that can come when someone picks up the book and sees a little scribble that, frankly, anyone could have done. I don't expect the Magna Carta, but I kind of do expect a name that I can make out.

Do I need to you who these two giants are? Oh, ok then - Sir Robert Helpmann and Katharine Hepburn. Clear as day.

Harry Medved loved Mount Lofty. Go figure.

Just who was Cherry's 'wonderful man' and what part did he play in Bert Newton's life?

I could do this all day really. But I won't. What I will do is continue popping up some of my treasures, the famous, the not so famous, the obscure, the forgotten and the icons. Keep coming back. There's going to be a lot more to come.

Cheers big ears!


Ann ODyne said…
I have Bette Davis twice, on her memoirs Mother Goddam & The Lonely Life. will post you if you like

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