Words are great for self-expression. But so are tattoos. So imagine the wonders that can come up from putting the two together! So we bring your literary tattoos.

The book your mom read to you at night; the first book you read yourself; the poems that got you through that painful break up. There are events in our lives that bind us to the stories we read. But the two of them colliding at the exactly right time is an occurrence so serendipitous, it’s easy to miss. So it only makes sense that once you find those words, that moment in a book that moves and changes you forever, you’d want to hold on to it. And never forget.

Lord Of the Rings Elvish script tattoo
“Not all who wander are lost”

Different People, Different Times

Have you ever re-read a book? Of course, you have. Everyone has that one book that speaks to them and always leaves something behind. We used to discuss, with some more literary friends, how The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is something to be read at least once during each stage of your life – read to you as a child by your parents, as a teenager, and as an adult (and possibly a parent yourself). No wonder this particular book is among the five most influential books out there, tattoo-wise but not only.

Some people re-read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, others go back to Where the Wild Things Are. It’s all a matter of personality, but all the differences boil down to a common motivation. The need for a reason, an explanation, a bond with yourself. Some people re-read Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and each time they discover something new that grounds them or alleviates their anxiety. They go back to The Great Gatsby and identify themselves with Nick Carraway as much as they do with Gatsby.

Gatsby quote tattoo
The Great Gatsby

It’s not about re-reading, it’s about reaffirmation

The reason we go back to a certain piece of writing – be it a poem, a short story or the whole bloody War and Peace – is that it gives us something that can often be impossible to attain in your real life. It could be escapism or it could be rubbing salt in that wound until you don’t feel the pain anymore. Sometimes you just need it said straight to your face, no strings attached. And others, you just need a dose of just as unbiased love and understanding.

This Shows Dedication

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be as cathartic as that. It could just be a beautiful reminder of that one time when… Or it could just be that you’re a huge Potter-head and proud of it. In fact, tattoos hitting the mainstream has changed things not only for superhero geeks, but for bookworms as well. Want to show you’ve got a thing for literature – you can literally wear it on your sleeve (I know I do!).

Bibliophile tattoo

The only thing more important than the words or image you choose to ink on yourself forever are the words that first spoke to your heart. And those, and what they said at the time, are yours to know and yours alone. However, we do love it when people share their art and inspiration. So, after you check the selection of beautiful literary tattoos we’ve got for you, feel free to share and comment to your heart’s content.

"So It goes" with a coffee ring tattoo
Vonnegut is quite popular for tattoos. @ReginaLopez
Sylvia Plath tattoo
Sylvia Plath @JulianneHolby
John Green quote tattoo
Harry Potter neon tattoo
“I solemnly swear…” @KatRay
Slaughterhouse-Five quote in white tattoo
Slaughterhouse-Five quote in white from Contrariwise

Chronicles of Narnia tattoo

To Kill a Mockingbird tattoo

Phenomenal Woman shoulder tattoo
Maya Angelou quote
Were all mad here tattoo
Photos: The World Made Flesh

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