karen's Reviews > The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

The Word Made Flesh by Eva Talmadge
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's review
Jul 23, 2014

it was amazing
Read on June 13, 2011

very cool kickstarter going on right now!!


i really love litographs (http://www.litographs.com/) and hooray for supporting cool booknerds!

so yesterday on our AIFAF, brooklyn-style, i remembered just one more thing i hate about summer: hipster tattoos. in the winter, so many of them are safely tucked away under ascots and ironic adidas warm-up jackets and suit jackets with elbow pads worn over seventies t-shirts with skinny ties... but in the summer....halter tops and wifebeaters reveal airbrush-style unicorns and clever rebus tattoos or the artwork of friends or those awful stars...

although i am kind of in love with this one:

but so i sort of have a love/hate relationship with this book. on the one hand, i kind of love that someone wanted to get an infinite jest tattoo... on the other hand, i feel like it could have been a lot more awesome than it turned out...

you can see it for yourself, it makes my head kinda hurt:

but, yeah, at one point in my life, i really wanted to get a portrait of byron on my upper arm. i had actually designed an entire sleeve, which would have kicked ass, if i had ever won the lottery or married a rock star or met a pro bono (and very skilled) tattoo artist or something. but it was not to be, and i am just boring skin-colored. unless you're buying. and in that case, yeah i totally still want it...

but i love flipping through this book, and their website:


some are awesome:

some are "oh, dear":

but all of them are nerrrrrds.

and i can get behind that, even if they are hipster nerds. wear sunscreen, though, kids...

i just gave myself a literary tattoo! it is wuthering heights!! see the sad face?? that's how you know!!

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)

message 1: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal I bet you could afford the tattoo if you stopped buying so many damn books and stopped eating out all the time. Budget!

karen i only eat out one time a week!! tattoos are hundreds of dollars!! it's okay... if i still had hot muscly arms, it would be one thing... but soon i will be elderly with flabby arms... it's too late...

message 3: by Greg (new)

Greg My favorite in this book is the person who has an entire page of Adorno writing about Proust from Minimia Moralia on his back.

message 4: by Noran (new) - added it

Noran Miss Pumkin Great review--I adore the second tattoo pic--makes think about getting it.

karen in german, no less:

message 6: by Nascha (new)

Nascha Wow. That is intense.

message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie oh dear... As much as I love books, I would NEVER do that

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh! I just saw an article about literary tattoos, and some of them were astonishingly cool. That A is very oh dear, and that poor girl has some very black circles around her eyes. Yikes.

message 9: by Vinaya (new)

Vinaya Hah! Tattoos in India are waay cheap. Of course, you'd have to spend a thousand-odd dollars to get here... oh, well. :-/

karen i like the fonts on a lot of the text-based ones

message 11: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal I have simply "Ecclesiastes 7:14" tattooed on my chest! In Olde Englysh-type text! I got it after I decided to spurn grad school and become a working stiff because I was dog-tired of the poverty.

message 12: by Lauren (new)

Lauren I have a mockingjay tattoo on my chest :) it is kinda hipster.... but hey, I fucking LOVE the hunger games. I like to show off my devotion. XD I also have a star wars tattoo, and kingdom hearts tattoo and I'm working on aa sleeve that is Belle from Beauty and the beast. #supernerd #addicted

karen now i have to get that tattoo... why are my tattoos so unliterary??

message 14: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I met a poet once who had gotten Words tattooed on her arm and had some reaction to the ink that made the letters heavily raised. So they were tangible! I thought it was cool...

message 15: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Guess you're never gonna appreciate the ink job of H. Rider Haggard that I have covering my entire left butt cheek, then, Karen....

karen truer words were never spoken

message 17: by Kerry (new)

Kerry I'm a total Janeite (that's a Jane Austen nerd for those of you not in the know) and my next tattoo will absolutely be Jane Austen related. I just don't know WHERE I want it, so I'm waiting.

message 18: by Kerry (new)

Kerry Oh my goodness...scrolling through their website and am now DYING to get another tattoo!!!! So many beautiful ones among the horrible ones!


message 19: by Kerry (new)

Kerry Also the website is making me realize I haven't read any Vonnegut. Ever.

*please don't throw tomatoes at me*

karen i will only throw a tomato if you get a vonnegut tattoo before reading him.

message 21: by Maureen (new)

Maureen i don't think i'll ever end up getting tattoo. i still have the design for the one i wanted when i was 17, but i've always wanted other stuff more than i've wanted a tattoo. i do think that gunslinger one is beautiful though. perfectly designed in context of the series, and definitely the best and most memorable line. when i first read that, i was sure king was quoting somebody else. it just seemed like i'd always known those two sentences.

message 22: by karen (last edited Feb 18, 2012 04:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

karen i just gave myself a literary tattoo! it is wuthering heights!! see the sad face?? that's how you know!!

message 23: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Is the sad face God?

karen that is a personification of the tone of the book.

message 25: by Maureen (new)

Maureen does this mean that your boobs are the moors? :P

karen yes! the untamed moors!

message 27: by Maureen (new)

Maureen heh. the untamed moors. two days later, and i'm still enjoying this ribaldry. :P

message 28: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Karen's boobs are a source of unending joy to many.

karen boobs!

message 30: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve The "A" is awesome.

Andrew I just decided this week to get my first literary tattoo (5th tat overall). It's going to be "Tut, tut, it looks like rain." with a folded umbrella under it. It's from Winnie-the-Pooh and has always been a favorite of mine. I'll probably put it on the inside of my forearm.

karen aww, nice!

Mrs.George My back is pictured in that book. : )

karen really?? which one are you??

Mrs.George Mine is the tree of life rooted in an open book with the Shakespeare quotation: "to thine own self be true." I don't know the page number offhand.

When submitting a photo, I naively assumed they'd request better quality images for the chosen pieces. I also didn't realize that my name and location were going to be printed alongside the photograph. That precious detail fueled professional anxieties.

I did get a free copy of the book, though!

karen i will have to dig up my copy!

message 37: by Steven (new)

Steven i have a dfw one on my wrist.

Jubilation Lee Kickstarter... BACKED!

Thank God. After the Reading Rainbow one ended, I was desperate for another literary-related thing for me to squander my money on.....

message 39: by Y. (new)

Y. C. I find tattoos fascinating, and I always have this "ah ha" moment when I recognize literary ones. Where did you get this book from?

message 40: by Breon (new) - added it

Breon Randon pledged!!! love this huge, thx for sharing

karen pictures of dfw tattoo please!

and yay for supporting booknerds everywhere!! nerdy endeavors ftw!! are we getting our reading rainbows?

oh, and i just got this book at the olde barnes and noble.

message 42: by Steven (new)

Steven karen wrote: "pictures of dfw tattoo please!

message 43: by Steven (new)

Steven also wanting to get quote/design from either oblivion or pale king on shoulder/forearm at some point, we'll see.

message 44: by Steven (new)

Steven what are karen's "unliterary" tattoos?

message 45: by Stacie (new) - added it

Stacie Love literary tattoos! Thanks Karen for the Kickstarter link, way cool, just had to back it!! Can't wait to see which Alice phrase I get.

Madeline Céspedes Hello

karen i will show my tats later, but they're nothing spectacular.

Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster* This is my literary tattoo

that I got before I knew it was thing O.O ....

And a beer that made me think of you, Karen:

karen greg will not understand that tattoo.

and that beer!!! how wonderful!!! eeeeee!!!

Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster* *shakes head in Greg's direction*

It was pretty tasty! You can't really see it but the unicorn's eyes are an evil red!! With lasers!!

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