Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Book Review: "The Word Made Flesh" by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor

Summary from BN.com: The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos—a collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath. With beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrations—and statements from the bearers on their tattoos' history and the personal significance of the chosen literary work—The Word Made Flesh is part collection of photographs and part literary anthology written on skin.

My husband has 3 tattoos on his body. I have none. I have never had any desire to have a tattoo (I have had my eyebrow pierced but that's a story for another day) on me. I don't know if it's because of the pain or if it's because I'm wary of having something put on my body that will stay on me forever. But then, I've never thought about having a literary tattoo, to show my love of the written word on me. Apparently though, there are TONS of people who already have done that and many of them are showcased in this book which is full of pictures and text on those who have tattooed their body with their favorite selections from literature.

I felt incredibly ignorant during this book because I didn't recognize about 75% of the literary works mentioned in this book. There were a lot of classics and foreign works that I have never heard of and truth be told, I will probably never get a desire to read them either. Of the tattoos that I did recognize, I really liked the Harry Potter and Shel Silverstein ones, mainly because those are stories close to my heart as well. I also really loved the original hand drawn caterpillar from Eric Carle. That would be one of the most awesome tattoos to have ever and if it had been me, after I died I'd want that part of my skin preserved forever.

Reading this is both entertaining and enlightening. It's wonderful to see so many book lovers so devoted to the written word that they will have it posted on their bodies forever. While there are some full body tattoos that really stand out, a lot of these are very subtle. They might just be a few words or even a small symbol that only die hard fans would know about. Therefore it's nice to see the whole range of how comfortable you can be with your tattoo. I would recommend this book for anyone who's into tattoos as well as those like seeing a different side of book love. It's made me rethink my opinions about getting a tattoo after knowing that it would be totally awesome to get a literary tattoo. The only problem now would be deciding what to get...

The Word Made Flesh by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor is published by Harper Perennial (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

It's not a literary tattoo but since I mentioned that my husband has several tattoos I thought I'd share one of them. This is his biggest one, it's on his inside left leg. He's of Irish heritage and has a HUGE Erin Go Bragh heart and clover tattoo.


  1. Unfortunately I was visited by a tattoo in college -- but it's kind of funny because it's a little bird, which means something to me now :)

  2. I'm an old fogey when it comes to tattoos - well, really when it comes to lots of stuff - so this probably isn't the book for me.

  3. I have two non-literary tattoos and I doubt I will ever get one, but I love looking at literary tattoos so I'll have to get a hold of this book.

  4. This is so cool! I just ordered this book yesterday. I think it'll be a huge hit in my classroom--All of my students love to talk about tattoos they're going to get.

    I (kinda) have two tattoos. I actually have had four, but I had my first two covered with other artwork. I was young when I got the first two and didn't love them all that much. Luckily, I had the sense to get small-ish ones first!

    I love my two cover-ups. I may get another tattoo later in life...Maybe this book will inspire a bookish tat!

    Thanks for the review and for showing off your husband's leg.


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