10 Great Tattoos Inspired By Books

I love a good tattoo, and I love books. So, I thought, why not combine my two loves and compile a list of my favorite tattoos inspired by books. Here they are (in no particular order).

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


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Written by J.D. Salinger, this beloved and controversial book follows the story of Holden Caulfield on his quest to master adolescence and come to terms with the whole growing up thing. I read this book back in my angst ridden teenage years, and Holden helped me out time and time again. This tattoo shows Holden with his classic IDGAF attitude, as the smoke from his cigarette, and his cares, fly away. The quote really sums up everything that is Holden Caulfield.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy tattoo

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Douglas Adams is one of my favorite authors. And this tattoo does him much justice. For those of you unfamiliar with the series it follows the tale of Arthur Dent, an ordinary Englishman, who is whisked away from Earth by his not so ordinary friend Ford Prefect moments before the planet is demolished for a new intergalactic space highway. This particular scene is taken right out of the first of the five books in the series. I like to think that most people’s first thoughts are as friendly as this whale’s. And you can’t go wrong with the classic DON’T PANIC slogan we’ve all come to know and love.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

hary potter tattoo

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It’s 2014 and everyone and their mother knows the story of Harry Potter. A young kid, living in a less than comfortable situation, finds out he’s a wizard, goes off to wizard school, fights a giant snake, helps a felon, wins the wizard Super Bowl, drops out of wizard school, and ends up saving the world. You know, same old, same old. A lot people probably thought I was going to pick something like this. I decided to go with this epic Dark Mark, I feel like the Death Eaters are just a little misunderstood, and with a little love they could RULE THE WORLD.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

1984 tattoo

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Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949, and it was author George Orwell’s prediction for what mankind would become in the future. This novel introduced a world ran by a powerful government, where the power has been stripped of the people. Big Brother is constantly watching, and be careful, because if you screw up you’ll be sent to Room 101. In a world like this anything could be true. Blue is red, up is down, 2+2 = 5. What Big Brother says goes. That’s one of the reason why I like this tattoo and book so much. It warns us to question our environment, and the people in charge.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis


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This book, and its subsequent sequels are some of the most familiar fantasy novels. This particular book is the first in the series, at least according to most people. It tells the tale of four siblings living during the Blitzkrieg of England during WWII. They are taken in by a nice stranger, whose wardrobe can teleport them to the mystical land of Narnia, full of talking animals, mythical creatures, and an evil queen. The image in this tattoo is the first thing the children see when they enter Narnia, and serves as a special landmark to help them find home. It is kind of like the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien


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Speaking of fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the definition of the genre. This popular book series has been recreated into movies, video games, and has made its place in pop culture history. J.R.R Tolkien is considered a genius by most people, and has written an entire history for his mythical land of Middle Earth. He even invented an actual language just for his books. Like I said, total genius. This ink is wonderful. The poem that is referenced was written by Tolkien for his book The Fellowship of The Ring, and it gives a real sense of determination and hope for the better, which I feel is the real theme of his books.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll


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Believe it or not this is my favorite book. I’ve read it a billion times and have at least 3 different copies on my book shelf. Most people are familiar with the story of Alice, (thank you Disney). It’s the story of a little girl who gets bored hanging out with her sister and ends up chasing a white rabbit down a hole. She ends up in nutty drug trip-esque world and meet some wacky characters along the way. It was originally written as a children’s book, but anybody could pick it up and love the heck out of it. I love this book just for how simply bizarre it is. How is a raven like a writing desk? This tattoo is great because it features original artwork from the novel, my favorite scene from the book and a quote that pretty much sums up Wonderland.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

the giving tree tattoo

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This book is many people’s first read. It’s the story of a selfish boy and his tree friend. The boy takes and takes from this kind tree. The boy eventually stops taking and he learns not to take anything for granted. It’s a story about growing up. Find your giving tree and give back some time. There are a few ways people have interpreted the story of the Boy and the Giving Tree, but I like mine the best. This tattoo features the little boy and the tree at the start and end of their relationship. Simply beautiful.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess


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I’m sure many of you have seen the movie, but did you know it is also a book? I know, crazy right? Originally published in 1962, this novel takes place in a dystopian England overrun by teenage vandals. The main character, Alex, gets caught doing some not so nice things and is forced to go to a type of aversion therapy, that borders on pure torture. Depending on which edition you’ve read you might have different thoughts on this book. It can be viewed as an endless cycle, that we are doomed to repeat our mistakes, or that we can grow and learn and better ourselves. This tattoo depicts Alex as he appears on the cover of the book. The wording below is Alex’s personal motto. He lives for destruction and devastation, and just can’t seem to stop.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the great gatsby tatto

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The Great Gatsby has been considered to be the magnum opus of author F. Scott Fitzgerald and one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century. This book follows the mysterious Jay Gatsby and his obsession for his ex-girlfriend. This book examines the American dream during the roaring 1920s. It explored the themes of decadence, idealism, nostalgia and resistance to change, social upheaval, and extreme excess. Don’t go in over your heads folks. This tattoo shows the mysterious Mr. Gatsby sitting, and contemplating. The chair is composed of a quote by the same Gatsby, which goes on to tell us that no matter how hard you try you can’t escape the inevitable.