Dishing Junk: You can’t be a real book lover unless you get a literary tattoo

Dishing Junk: You can’t be a real book lover unless you get a literary tattoo

Nothing says you love books, I mean LOVE books like a literary tattoo. I mean you can’t even call yourself a BOOK LOVER unless you have some sort of tattoo that is inspired by, or based off of a great work of literature. Not to mention, once you get said literary tattoo you declare to the world that you are smart, hip, and so not a slave to pop-culture. Because it’s a book, not a television show or movie. And just because they made it into a movie – well, that’s because people know what’s awesome. And the book was better. 

Show off your genius with esoteric quotes from literary works that everyone says they’ve read, but no one has really read. And if you’ve read them, points for you, but we all know you’re probably lying. Cliff’s Notes does not count. But, good try.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

“Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then.”

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

“‘My dear fellow, who will let you?’

‘That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?’”

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“Call me Ishmael.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

“C’est moi”

If the quote is too small – make sure you reference the book. If not you’ve only got “It is me” tattooed on you…which we kind of already know it’s you. You’re standing right there.

Ulysses by James Joyce

“I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Show off your trendiness by putting an inked tribute to everyone’s favorite literature. This shows you are smart and cool. And when people see it they’ll know what it is and you can share a moment with another trendy book lover.

And finally, how better to show off your wit and childish sense of being by quoting your favorite children’s books? Not YA – that shows your reading is advanced, this is straight-up children’s books.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“We’re all mad here.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

“a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.”

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

Nothing says childhood innocence than a pokey little puppy…

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

All these tattoos, well most of these tattoos, are awesome and showing your love of the literary world is fantastic. But, I like to have fun and I’ve been contemplating my next tattoo for the last couple of months. Was supposed to get one in Vegas, but well – Vegas got in the way.


I was thinking of getting all or part of a favorite quote of mine…guess the book (that I actually read) for extra points:


“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

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  1. Fiona McGier

    My mother was suffering from dementia when I finally got my first romance book published. She used to read romances by the bagful, trading them with all of her sisters, and I was so excited to hand her my first book! She was the kind of mom who would stand on the tallest building, and yell in all 4 directions, that her daughter was better than everyone else’s, because I was now a published author! But by the time I handed her the book with a personalized inscription in it, she had lost the ability to read…or even remember what a book was. I cried. She passed away a few years later, and I cried for a year because I missed her. Then I told my tattoist (he’s been doing all of my ink for many years) how I felt and how sad I was. He designed a book, with the cover being a setting sun with a palm tree, and a manuscript tied with a ribbon. The words on the manuscript say, “My mother Emily will be with me forever.” I asked him how he could put my emotions into a picture like that, and he reminded me, “That’s what I do.” It’s on my right calf, and allowed for me to heal. It’s not really literary, in the sense of being about a particular book, but it’s one of my favorites.

  2. Wren

    I’ve always wanted a literary tattoo….but I have so many favourite books that I can’t decide what I would get! I love the lion and the lamb Twilight quote tat in this post, though.

  3. Moriah

    Oh no. “Laters, baby.”


    I have two at the moment. Just simple ones–a symbol and a quote. Eventually I’d like to get a piece of art that’s more influenced by a book I love than directly copied. For now, I have VFD on my ankle in the shape of an eye–like Count Olaf’s in A Series of Unfortunate Events–and a Whitman quote, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.”

  4. Joyce

    I love the idea of the Cheshire Cat fits me lol. I got my first tattoo at 50 because I finally found something meaningful to put on my skin. An autism tattoo heart with puzzle pieces but I’ve been think of a Cheshire Cat in the act of disappearing says I’m not all all here either

  5. Davida Chazan

    Well, I’m not a tattoo person, but… If I was, I might choose this “but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”
    ― Jane Austen

  6. Ali

    I love this post! I’m getting ready to get a Harry Potter inspired Tattoo here soon. (as soon as I get the money that is lol) Love all the great ideas above! Especially the one with Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. Yet again another fantastic post.


    Some are so funny. But I kind of love some of these literary tats. Cheshire cat one especially. And the Pokey Puppy one brought back memories as it was my little sister’s favorite book. I think I once considered getting one of my favorite King quotes on me, then thought about how I didn’t want anyone staring at me long enough to read it.

    Am so on the fence about this – whether it’s “junk” or cool. If tattoos are a way of saying “this is me” (not to quote from the first tat on the page intentionally), then maybe literature IS who the person is. But I have to wonder how many of those quoting from Twi or 50 shades will think that this is them 10, 15, 20 years from now. Will they be as embarrassed by them as women were about the “tramp stamp” tattoos?

    As a sailor, there’s a lure to get some kind of sailing tattoo to say “this is me.” But I keep fighting the urge, as I know that I am a sailor and that should be proof enough. But the idea of having a Compass Rose showing me where true north is (especially as I tend to lose my way) kind of sounds awesome…

    And LOL love your long tattoo quote. You’d have a lot of people following you trying to read it, whichever piece of clothing it disappears under. 🙂

    • Parajunkee

      Yep – this post was more a jab at myself. I’m a bitch sometimes and the worst critic. Judgemental even to my own self. The Pokey Little Puppy was my favorite childhood book and I made a point of purchasing that one and One Fish as the first books I bought for my own daughter. Did you know it was one of the first Little Golden books published. Craziness.

      The problem with tattoos is that they tend to be stylistic and then that style goes out of fashion so you are stuck with something “out of fashion” on your body forever. Even with books. A quote that you choose today might speak to your soul – but tomorrow might remind you of what an asshole you were. I read something where they compared it to tattooing your high school quote on yourself…you have to look at it every day for the rest of your life, does it still hold it’s meaning?

      About the sailing thing, I’m a dumbass – but how would you tattoo “true north” on your body if you move around?

      • Rachel

        I did not know that about Golden Books. I didn’t even know that story when I was a kid – I figured it was something that came along later.

        And yeah, there are so many things that would make me think “a**h*le!” if I got them tatted on me. (Like that one quote from Risky Business, or any from Better Off Dead, or something sappy from Titanic or some sh*t, or some really bad song lyrics OMG.) And I’d probably pick some douchey literary quote that sounds clever but that I’d always know was so far beyond my level of cleverness that I’d feel like a fraud.

        And styles totally change, so mine are “dated” though they’re more generic and I still love them. But I keep wondering about those people who get covered in tats that are very time-specific how they’ll feel in 10, 20, 30 years. I mean I get sick of my home decor styles every 2-5 years and chuck everything. Dr. Tatoff would make a killing if I got “of the moment” tattoos.

        LOL yeah I thought of that too, because technically if you move your arm or whatever, North will switch, if you lie down, North will switch, etc. But if I point it to where the Dude would be where he lies down next to me in bed, the tat will make sense , as he’s my true North…

  8. Midnyte Reader

    I do like literary tattoos. I will be getting one eventually…after my Halloween tattoo. I had to google the quote you want…and while I have heard of that author, I have never read anything by him. Another one for my reading pile.

    • Parajunkee

      The aforementioned author is who basically defined my early adulthood, so if you choose to read him, let me know what you think. I read him when I was shaping my political, religious and moral beliefs, outside of the home I grew up in. So, he came at me at either the perfect time – or if you know what I truly believe about certain things – the worst time. So, the quote is more a political and moral statement than a literary one, or fangirl one… which is the reason I’m waffling. Do I go fangirl and get the damn Harry Potter tattoo – or do I make a social, political and highbrow statement and quote Heinlein lol? Oh the joys of ink…

  9. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I have two tattoos. Both are literary inspired. One is the cover of Twilight, on my back shoulder. The Twilight tramp stamp above hurts me a little bit, but hey, to each his own! I also just got my second tattoo back in March for the latest book series that has sucked me in and made me obsessive to the point where I will drop anything to read it or listen to the audiobook. The symbol I got for it isn’t exclusive to it, like a Harry Potter symbol would be, but it is one that is on every cover and makes me think of the stories. It is for the After series by Anna Todd, it’s an infinity symbol with each side as a heart. I’m thinking for my next one to get a rune from the Shadowhunters series by Cassandra Clare.

    • Parajunkee

      The Twilight tramp stamp is too much for me…but it’s more artistic than concept lol. Those swirls are too much. I Googled the After series by Anna Todd – I’m so out of touch lol.

About The Author


Rachel, whom you might know as Parajunkee, is the blog owner of and the design blog To make matters even more confusing she is now a published author under the pen name of Gillian Zane. Rachel has been blogging for over eight years, designing / web programming for over fifteen, but her real love, reading, has been her favorite hobby since childhood. Rachel has won numerous awards for her writing, the blogs she has created and her design work. If you want to check out more about her books click "The Books" on the navigation bar at the top of the page.