12 Tattoos Inspired by Famous Books

1. Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut

There are a lot of “So It Goes” tattoos out there, but Lacy’s is particularly nice in that she didn’t limit it to just text, but also incorporated the dandelion, that seems to flow so well with the themes of Slaughterhouse 5. In Lacy’s own words, “We are all free, it is just a matter of figuring out if we want to stick to a path (like the blowflower seeds when they are anchored) or go where the wind takes us.”

2. Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut may have inspired more literary tattoos than any other author out there. In fact, it would be very easy to write an entire article on tattoos inspired by his novels, but since this post is about all types of literary tattoos, here is another popular Vonnegut tattoo, the “Goodbye Blue Monday” bomb. While there are many, the coloring and chubby line work on Liam’s makes his design particularly attractive. Liam notes that, “while breakfast of champions is not my favorite Vonnegut book, it is the first book that made me love reading. I was 15 and after every page I kept thinking, ‘I never knew books could be like this.’ I read every single Vonnegut book after that.”

3. Alice In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

There are also plenty of Alice In Wonderland tattoos, but many of them are based on the Disney movie version and not the book. Eva’s Alice tattoo is delightful in that it is based on the original book illustrations by Sir John Tenniel.

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Similarly, there are ample Hitchhiker’s Guide tattoos—particularly those featuring the number 42, the words “Don’t Panic” or the book’s green mascot—but perhaps the least used (but most fun) idea is the falling whale and pot of petunias, a very memorable scene from the book. Emily Holodnick got the idea for her tattoo while attending Hitchcon ’09, which should tell you she’s certainly a big fan of the series. The work was done by Steve at Old School Tattoo in Bellingham, WA.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series has also inspired its fair share of tattoos, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as cool as Chloe’s version of the Marauder’s Map. It looks like a blank scroll until you hold it under a black light, at which point the words "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” appear. Unfortunately, you can’t read the message that well the in photo, but that’s understandable when you consider the difficulty of capturing something only visible under a black light.

6. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

While Good Omens might not be as famous as many of the other books listed here, it was written by two authors who are fairly big names in the geek stratosphere—Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The particular passage Jodi chose to get tattooed describes the demon Crowley in a manner that gives you a quick glimpse of the style and humor of the entire novel – and the image seems more than fitting for the quote.

7. Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

While the satellite might not be part of the original Goodnight Moon artwork, there’s no denying that this image was certainly inspired by the classic children’s book. As for why Jennifer chose the design, she explains, “I am in the Navy, just like many of the men who visited the moon. My husband and son are space fanatics, the Goodnight Moon window is for my daughter. She loves the book.”

8. Watership Down, Richard Adams

Livejournal user smallpio1990 might just have the most stunning Watership Down tattoo ever inked. The colors are gorgeous and the bunny is adorable. The quote is the last line in the book. Fittingly, the work was done by Rabbit Abby from Des Moines, Iowa

9. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Anyone familiar with The Great Gatsby will undoubtedly recognize the art deco artwork featured on the cover of many of the printings, as well as the famous quote, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Craig R. found the quote to be particularly memorable and when his English teacher passed away unexpectedly, he found the quote truly reflected how we, as humans, live. As he explains, “We really are just boats against the current always going back to the past.”

10. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

At one point or another, just about everyone has been able to relate with Hester Prynne. Brent felt that way for so much of his life that he really identified with the character—enough to permanently brand himself with his own mark of shame. Let’s hope he isn’t quite as miserable as poor Hester.

11. The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

The more time progresses and our natural resources dwindle, the more people can identify with The Lorax. Flickr user jaundicedferret is one of these people, which is why she got this great tattoo from the most famous scene of the story, where The Lorax exclaims, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better, it's not."

12. Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Louis Sachar

As a kid, Sideways Stories was my favorite book series, even above Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which is why I’m head over heels in love with Alex’s potato tattoo. What does a potato have to do with a kids' book you might ask? Well, it all relates to Calvin’s tale in the book, as Alex explains, “His dad decides to let him get a tattoo and everyone in class gives him all these suggestions. He considers getting a leopard fighting a snake, but in the end he gets a potato just above his left ankle. Everyone thinks it’s stupid, but he knows he made the right choice, or at least he’s pretty sure.” Alex, I think you made the right choice too.

Special thanks to Contrariwise, a site specializing in literary-inspired tattoos. This post originally appeared in 2012.

Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

How Bats Protect Rare Books at This Portuguese Library

Visit the Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal at night and you might think the building has a bat problem. It's true that common pipistrelle bats live there, occupying the space behind the bookshelves by day and swooping beneath the arched ceilings and in and out of windows once the sun goes down, but they're not a problem. As Smithsonian reports, the bats play a vital role in preserving the institution's manuscripts, so librarians are in no hurry to get rid of them.

The bats that live in the library don't damage the books and, because they're nocturnal, they usually don't bother the human guests. The much bigger danger to the collection is the insect population. Many bug species are known to gnaw on paper, which could be disastrous for the library's rare items that date from before the 19th century. The bats act as a natural form of pest control: At night, they feast on the insects that would otherwise feast on library books.

The Joanina Library is famous for being one of the most architecturally stunning libraries on earth. It was constructed before 1725, but when exactly the bats arrived is unknown. Librarians can say for sure they've been flapping around the halls since at least the 1800s.

Though bats have no reason to go after the materials, there is one threat they pose to the interior: falling feces. Librarians protect against this by covering their 18th-century tables with fabric made from animal skin at night and cleaning the floors of guano every morning.

[h/t Smithsonian]


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