When I decided to get a tattoo, my only question was which words it would be. I even considered getting Hamlet's line, "Words, words, words," inked somewhere on my skin, as did Stephanie Anderson of Brooklyn, p. 147 of The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide, the new book from Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor. I went with a different Shakespearean line: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" on my right shoulder blade.
Words are one of the most important things in my life. Even before I was a writer, I defined myself by the act of reading, and words last. So I found The Word Made Flesh an incredibly interesting book. I understand the impetus to pay tribute to a text by offering skin as parchment, but more than that, I loved seeing what texts were meaningful to other people. The lines they chose, the places on their bodies where the words were written, the pictures they were sometimes adorned with - a literary tattoo is a constant act of interpretation.
In these pages, I learned about what is perhaps the coolest short story ever, Shelley Jackson's "Skin." There were pictures of five words from the story, one "here," on author Rick Moody. That was the other really interesting part of this book for me: seeing the pictures of writers with literary tattoos (Jonathan Lethem has "Ubik", for example.) The Word Made Flesh is a beautiful, interesting book, and I definitely recommend reading it.
For purposes of FCC disclosure, I was sent this book by the publisher.