- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Sterling (November 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402783604
- ISBN-13: 978-1402783609
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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In the past I have been severely disappointed by "books of websites". E.g. the Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics website was great fun back when the webmaster was updating it regularly, but the book was badly thrown together and a waste of time for people who've read the website content. Even my favourite webcomics don't have the same sparkle in print. I assumed Science Ink was going to be, like a webcomic compilation, a large thin paperback with not much added value from the editor's online photo album of other people's tattoos which you can find via his blog.
So I was greatly and pleasantly surprised (I think I pre-ordered before the photo of the book was up) to find, on unwrapping this, that it is a beautifully bound hardback with clever cut-outs in the cover that allow colourful photos on the endpapers to tantalise the viewer. The Gothic blackletter used for the word "Ink" on the cover and in the photo headings is a nod to stereotypical tattoo art. The size of this book is a bit larger in the horizontal dimensions but thinner than an average hardback novel, nowhere near as big as a "coffee table" book.
In addition to a normal index, there is also an ingenious "Visual Index" of thumbnail photos so if you can't remember who or what a cool design came from, you can still look for it easily.
Content-wise, I believe there are quite a lot of photos not featured on the website (at least a lot that don't look familiar to me), in addition to all the ones that are online. A lot of the text in this book consists of the tattoo submitters' personal accounts of why they chose their particular designs. However, Zimmer has written mini-essays on the subject of a tattoo where the wearer has not given a long annotation, and his clear and elegant writing also forms chapter introductions. The hilarious Mary Roach (I've read her "Stiff" but have yet to get a hold of the others) provides a short foreword.
In summary, I would recommend this book without reservation to anyone interested in science or tattoos even if I wasn't in it!
I purchased two copies for in-laws who love tattoos and are covered in them. These two people are dear to me and I support them in their interests even if I find them odd. What I discovered after reading the book on Christmas eve and Christmas day was that there are some incredibly creative people out there permanently marking themselves with their passions. I loved the intricacies of many pieces. Would I get a tattoo? No. Would I recommend the book to those who love tattoos? Yes. In fact, I would recommend the book to anyone who loves science and art. The book is a work of art.
Well, here is the rub. I might consider getting my social security number tattooed on my foot in barcode just for easy posthumous identification. There you have it! I changed.
The hard sciences are a little more my cup of tea, and I found this book to be pretty thought-provoking. The images are accompanied by little stories. Like a compressed version of asking a hundred people about their tattoos and why they decided on that one in particular. I didn't suddenly get hit by inspiration and a need to run out and get one, but I enjoyed reading through this.
The book was actually a very inspiring book about science, too. Every one of these people felt deeply enough about at least one aspect of science that they wanted to wear it on their body forever. The text often used their own words to explain the scientific or personal significance of whatever symbol or equation or formula they'd chosen to use. Those words were often eloquent and powerful, written by people who knew their subject and who were passionate about it.
I also enjoyed the text written by Zimmer. He was informed and clear, and covered the subject without either oversimplifying or using confusing jargon. It was a nice balance, giving the reader a glimpse into the vast world behind each piece of art.
The book is more than just a collection of pictures, though the pictures themselves are worth the price. I felt that the book truly showed how passionate these people were about science and about their tattoos.
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Bought it for a friend, however, who was less than grateful and less than inspired.
Loved it myself as well.