Have you read a book recently that had an impact on you, your life or the way you think? Let us know and check out some great responses from the community below.

Preston Yarger | Photographer & Filmmaker

Over the past few years I have intensely yearned for more of a connection to my cultural heritage and ancestral background, as I feel it helps ground my worldview and feel more of a connection to the world around me. Recently I read an incredible book called “Children of Ash and Elm” by Neil Price. It’s an authentic and down-to-earth look at the history of Nordic and Scandinavian people, and their lifestyles and traditions. It’s presented through an honest and progressive worldview that doesn’t favor one side or the actions they partook in, but helps to understand the WHY. Neil Price is also an incredible word-smith and has real boots-on-the-ground experience as an archeologist in the region. Read more>>

Melissa O’Gara | Photographer, Mom, Teacher

As an English Literature major in college, I have read many of the “Greats” throughout my years of study. So it might be odd that a novel that had such an impact on me would not be one of those. But Jan Karon’s novel series starting with “At Home in Mitford” is always the first book that comes to mind when I am asked about my all-time favorite reads. I think that what I like most about it is how the story itself makes the reader slow down, reflect, and appreciate the everyday moments of life. In each of the novels, I get swept away into a world in which I wish I could live. Mitford is a small, southern town where people of all different beliefs and ways of life manage to get along and learn from each other. Life isn’t perfect in Mitford, and the challenges we all face in life are not absent in the stories. What I like most is that we, the readers, live these imperfect lives with the characters, and we grow to love the characters because of their imperfections. When I’ve read other stories that involve difficult life issues, there is a lot of angst and darkness. Read more>>

Alexo Wandael | Director, Photographer, Architect

Most of my reading is poetry and I have always loved that art form. Narrative-wise instead one of my fav books of all time is a book that I had the pleasure of reading a couple of times when I was very young: Dersu Uzala, the little man of the big prairies. It is a story about friendship and exploration of the wilderness of Eastern Siberia. Dersu Uzala is a Nanai hunter and trapper hired as guide by Vladimir Arsenyev, a Russian military surveyor. The book is an autobiographical memoir of the Russian explorer covering his trips of 1902, 1906 and 1907 in remote portions of Siberia. It is described as a romantic hymn to nature and human spirit and I could not find better words. For sure the impact on me was deep (one of the few books I have read a couple of times) and planted the seed for my future motorcycle wanderings and my love for nature. And Akira Kurosawa won the Academy Award for best International film in 1976. Book and movie are both magnificent. Read more>>

GM Macleods | Game Master, Artist, Producer, Podcast and Youtube Personality

I’m the owner of a new true life organized crime book, “The Tailor,” based on an incredible true life story authored by Sal Manna coming out this March, I’ve read it probably 50 times. Definitely my favorite book. Read more>>

Sapphire Sandalo | Animator, Host, Paranormal Historian

I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” There were many things that stuck with me, like how she believes that we don’t own ideas but rather they come to us, and if we don’t use it, it will move onto someone else. But the one that I think about often is her advice to follow your curiosity, not your passion. If you follow your passion, you will find yourself tired and burned out very easily and often. But if you follow your curiosity, it will continuously lead you down new paths. I think this is really important for working creatives to keep in mind because we’ve been raised with the cliche of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but that has always led me to end up hating what I loved! I still have my set of core things that I am passionate about – animation, ghost stories – but when it comes to the details, I allow myself to venture into new territories to keep things interesting for me. Read more>>