Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Woldwide

If you were to get a tattoo of your favorite literary quote, what would it be?

Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor have put together a collection of tattoos from people the world over who want to express their love for specific books, authors, quotations, or illustrations.  Some pages contain only a name, place, and picture. Others have all that plus an explanation as to why it has meaning for the individual. The book is "all put together like a mix tape, one image intuitively following the next, or like a bookshelf ordered by no other system than a reader's varied taste..." (from the introduction).

While you really need to see the pictures in order to fully appreciate the artwork, here are a few of my favorites:

"We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars." ~line from Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde.

"I take a deep breath and listen to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am." ~from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

You'll also get to see an original Sharpie-drawing of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, drawn on a woman's arm by Eric Carle, just so she could get his original artwork tattooed on herself.  And, what I found most interesting, an explanation of the Skin project by Shelley Jackson, which is only published on the skin of volunteers, one word at a time.

This is a quick, original read. 5 out of 5 stars.

Oh, and if I were to get a literary tattoo?  As hard as it would be to decide on just one favorite, I would have to go with a quote by Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: "What we search for in fiction is not so much reality, but the epiphany of truth."

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