I knew I wanted to read The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide the second I heard about it. A collection of 150 color photos of bookish tattoos? I was sold. Maybe it’s because I’m nosy (I actually prefer the term “curious”) or because I’ve never been brave enough to get inked myself, but I love looking at other people’s tattoos. Not only can they be a beautiful form of art, it’s also fascinating to learn the significance behind them.

Now that I’ve had a chance read The Word Made Flesh, I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it. There are over 150 beautiful photographs, and some (not all) have little anecdotes explaining the meaning behind the tattoo. It’s the type of book you can flip through quickly or sit down and spend some time reading. And it’s pretty much guaranteed to get you thinking about what kind of literary tattoo you would put on your body.

One thing I had been a little worried about was that I wouldn’t get many of the literary references (the back of the book says, “a collection of 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath.”). I certainly love books and reading, but I wasn’t an English major and you’re much more likely to find me reading the latest vampire book than Dickinson or Pynchon. So I was excited to see that the book covered a wide range of literature, including some contemporary works. Here are a few unexpected (but awesome!) examples:
A Very Hungry Caterpillar tattoo
Harry Potter’s patronus
Several tattoos of illustrations from Shel Silverstein’s books
A few pages of librarian tattoos, including one inspired by famous librarian Nancy Pearl
A Twilight tattoo written in Edward Cullen’s handwriting

I think The Word Made Flesh is a nice addition to my coffee table, and I recommended it to anyone who likes books and tattoos. It would also make a nice gift for any bibliophiles in your life.

Check out the book trailer for The Word Made Flesh.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Harper Perennial | Pages: 192 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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