A collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of tattoos that draw on literature for their inspiration, often in the form of direct quotes from books, as well as (at least sometimes) the stories behind them.
I really hated the white text on black pages. It was quite hard on my eyes and nearly kept me from completing the book, even though the book’s short and has few words and thus the time commitment called for was very small. I’m sure the choice was intentional, but I don’t think this particular artistic choice to ignore legibility in favor of ambiance was a smart one.
I expected to feel more resonance, kinship, with the content than I did. As it stood, I felt like I could relate to very, very few of the chosen passages or quotes. Most weren’t even familiar to me, which is the way of books, I guess — so many books, so little time — but it still surprised me. There were a few that the reasons for choosing them drew me in, and a couple that I appreciated the content, but far fewer than I thought there would be.
The title is a bit unnerving to me. I know, the irreverence is probably intentional and perhaps even attractive to the target audience, but that just goes to show, even more, that this book was not for me.
Overall, I’m sad that reading this book created a sense of greater dissonance between me and the larger bookish community as a whole (or at least one aspect of it) rather than proving once again (it’s been done so many times it probably doesn’t to be proven again) that books are part of our collective consciousness, shared experience, and help draw us together.
The book’s website: TattooLit.com.
About the editors
Eva Talmadge has written some short fiction; her short story “The Cranes” was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009. Justin Taylor is the author of the short story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever.
I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.