Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lit Tats

Deconstructing lit tattoos. The Boston Phoenix examined the growing popularity of literary tattoos among writers, booksellers, librarians and other practitioners of the book trade in anticipation of next week's release of The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor.

"There's a lot of people in the book that are affiliated with publishing or books in some way," said Taylor. "A handful of librarians, a lot of people who work for publishing houses, magazine journalists."

Indie booksellers are prominently featured, and Taylor said she tried to photograph them in their natural habitat: "I wanted to make it a thing about bookstores and about the places where literature is consumed."

During an author event at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida, bookseller Becky Quiroga asked Eric Carle "to sketch a Very Hungry Caterpillar on her arm, then dashed off to the tattoo parlor to make it permanent. She says her ink has been recognized by children and baristas from Florida to Spain," the Phoenix wrote.

Kurt Vonnegut is the most popular literary tattoo author, followed by Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, and Shel Silverstein. "There are as many reasons for getting tattoos as there are people willing to be marked," Talmadge said.

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