07 June, 2013

Book Tattoos

Recently, I've come across several online galleries of tattoos inspired by books. There's this one on Buzzfeed, or this one on Huffington Post, for example. All the images in this post are from the Buzzfeed gallery.

Slaughterhouse-Five chic.

I'm not a tattoo kind of person. The thought of having ink injected permanently into my skin doesn't fill me with feelings of excitement and possibility. If I was going to get a tattoo it'd have to be something I was certain I'd still like decades down the line. That limits my options to a very small selection of names and dates, or, just maybe, a line from a book.

There are some interesting literary tattoos out there - pictures of the Gruffalo, Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Ramona Quimby from the Ramona books, for example. I've even seen Agatha Christie's face on a girl's thigh (there's not a sentence I ever thought I'd be writing). The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery seems to be very popular tattoo inspiration, as does Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Harry Potter produced a good few for the galleries too - including a wrist tattoo of "9 3/4".

A rather sweet Harry Potter/Snape tribute.
Some word tattoos are whimisical. I was particularly taken with the gentleman who has "Don't" on one foot and "Panic" on the other (The Hitchhikers' Guide ot the Galaxy), and a beautifully-designed "We're all mad here" (Alice in Wonderland). I think I'd want to go for something a bit more beautiful or profound though. I've seen a few tattoos paying homage to Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, including the line "everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" (see first image). And there was a rather lovely tattoo of "not all who wander are lost" from The Lord of the Rings.

Heading to Neverland.
In the end though I am both too much of a wuss and too indecisive to actually get a tattoo. I'd never be able to make up my mind. But if I was forced to decide this minute on a tattoo celebrating a work of fiction or a particular writer, I would probably go for something by C.S Lewis  - having no time to trawl through Dickens! Perhaps something like "there is no other stream" or "do not dare not to dare" or "not safe, but good". What would you choose?

14 comments:

  1. I had a manager who had a penguin books logo tattoo. :)

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    1. Amazing! Maybe I'd get a Ladybird Books tattoo for nostalgia's sake.

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  2. Well I like children's books and I like cooking, so I think "Cooking with Pooh" in a flowery script on the back of my neck would look pretty classy. As long as people didn't misinterpret the last word, of course... On second thoughts, being more into history anyway, I think I'll go for: "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire", one word on each finger. With quotation marks on both little fingers it works perfectly!

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    1. I am humbled by how much creative thought you've put into this questions billyblogger. I think that would look very pretty indeed.

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  3. The publicist in me would have a sneaky respect for 'Buy my books'. However, hypothetically, and allowing for my spindly arms, if I had to pick a favourite quote for ink, it would be this from Rudyard Kipling's Kim: “Many wear the robes, but few walk the Way." I liked it so much, I considered stealing it (ever so briefly!) for one of my works.

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    1. That's a very Convenant line, Derek!

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    2. It certainly would have been!

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  4. I have a song lyrics tattoo, but haven't ever managed to decide on my literary one yet. Definitely want a CS Lewis tattoo, but have never quite decided on what yet. Maybe one day...

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    1. I can see it being the sort of thing where I'd get one then think of a better one! I quite like C.S. Lewis's quotation: "One day you will be old enough for fairytales again".

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  5. I love tattoos - they can be really pretty, and even sexy if they are thought out properly. One of my dearest friends has plenty of gorgeous tattoos, including a few book-inspired ones. Most memorably, she has a Discworld character Sir Samuel Vimes on her arm.
    I've always maintained that tattoos are fine, provided they are carefully planned out (being permanent and all) and done by legitimate, established professionals who have a proven track record for their art.

    As for what I would have tattooed, I already have plans. I have planned for some time to get a tattoo inspired by Terry Pratchett's Discworld, as the books have formed the backbone of my reading habits for fifteen years. As I don't have enough skin for all the quotes I love from the books, I was planning to have an image: either the discworld itself, or one of my favourite characters, like Vetinari or Greebo.
    As for a phrase: I have two from Watership Down. Both are excerpts from extended quotes which I think are too big. The first is from the beginning, which actually ends the rabbit creation story "Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." (Full Quote: "All the world will be your enemy, prince with a thousand enemies. If they catch you, they will kill you, but first they must catch you. Digger, Listener, Runner, Prince with a Swift Warning. [Quote]). The second is a sentence said to El-ahrairah by The Black Rabbit of Inle/Death (or by Frith to Hazel in the film): "There can be no bargain. What is, is what must be." That book, and especially the film it inspired has influenced my life since I was about four or five years old.

    I've also got a simple tattoo planned:The phrase Words are my World, surrounded by dancing books. That's probably going to be first.

    Nobody should ever get a tattoo unless they are certain though. They are painful and expensive mistakes to make!

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    1. I like the one you've got planned - that sounds beautiful!

      Husband and I were just listening to Nightwatch on the radio the other day! I think you should get Luggage as a tattoo. (I see this as my primary tattoo role - egging other people on!)

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    2. Haha, the Luggage has popped up in my mind a number of times. There isn't another character quite as distinctive.

      Night Watch is a brilliant novel - for me it has started a new golden age for Pratchett's writing. I was given a signed copy as an engagement gift. Sir Samuel Vimes has been at the heart of the Discworld's best storylines, probably why my friend has his likeness on her arm now.

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  6. Hi Chloe,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. That one is my personal blog but my writing blog is of-ravens-and-writingdesks.blogspot.co.uk if you fancy taking a look. There's not much on there but there are a few of my poems. I really need to write more. Hope you are well.
    Kirsten

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  7. I'm like you. I wouldn't do it either. I know my tastes will change over the years. Maybe a temporary tattoo though. Still don't know what I'd choose. At least with the temporary one, it'll wash off in a few days. :)

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