We caught up with some of the community’s rising stars and asked them to reflect on the books that had an impact on their lives. We’ve shared their responses below.

Jordan Jakomin | Speech-Language Pathologist & Yoga Instructor

I enjoy reading self-help books on spirituality and personal development, but the book that had the most impact on my personal and professional life is called “Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Gender Diverse Client: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide” which is now in its third edition. As an undergraduate student in speech-language pathology, I had no idea where my career would take me. I thought my options were either a school or hospital, but that is not where I ended up. When I was 20-years-old, I had an opportunity to volunteer at a convention for speech-language pathologists in Chicago, IL. Read more>>

Samantha Riding | Photographer

I have a book that was recommended to me by one of my professors that I read in one sitting, Feck Perfuction by James Victore. The author is also a professional artist and he includes a lot of images of his art in the book, which I love to see. Like most artists, I have truly felt the hand of “Imposter Syndrome” keeping me from doing the things that I love. It is very easy for me to get hung up on small details and spend way too much time comparing my work and my life to other artists, wondering what I need to change to be more like them. This book is a great reminder to just say “Fuck it” and embrace the things that make you unique and take risks with your art. I love the inspiration and reassurance the book gives me to continue doing what I love and to not sweat the small stuff. Read more>>

Nathan Dies | Composer and Producer

One of my favorite books is Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke. I read some of the letters almost every year and it’s the best book to help me be confident about my choice of being an artist and deal with writer’s block. The book is a very humble conversation between an aspiring young poet and Rilke, who is trying to help the young creator to decide if he wants / needs to be a poet or not. Read more>>

Larry Schemel | Musician

On The Road by Jack Kerouac is a book that had a profound impact on me as a teenager, the romantic notion of travelling from one place to the other across America back in those days, the experience of seeing the country, the desert, different cities, meeting new people, the music, the feeling of total freedom. That bohemian lifestyle was very attractive , not following the traditional, expected lifestyle of your parents and their generation, outside of society as Patti Smith sang. Being in a touring rock n’ roll band is the perfect job for folks like us who like this sort of lifestyle. The advent of social media has been a great tool for the band to connect with our fans while we’re traveling & playing shows in the US & Europe. Read more>>

April Clemmer | Hollywood Historian

“The Story of Hollywood” by Gregory Paul Williams was the first real Hollywood History book I had read. Before that I had read lots of film star biographies/autobiographies. The Larry Edmunds Bookshop recommended it to me, and I absolutely fell in love with Hollywood THE PLACE after reading it. It has a full history of the story of how Hollywood came to be and has developed over the years. It made me realize we need to value and share the story of our city’s rich history. Read more>>

Andrew Headrick | CEO & Founder, Kavira Health

I recently read Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear. Being a work-from-home entrepreneur, I realized that there is this constant tension between what I want now (relax, hang out with friends, etc), and my long-term goals (build a successful company). And there is no external framework (eg a boss) to keep me on-track. So I needed to find ways to build structure in my day-to-day life and to help me stay on top of those longer-term goals. As the title suggests, the book provides high-level principles coupled with incredibly practical steps to build good habits and break bad ones. Read more>>

Brannon Rockwell-Charland Cook | Artist, Musician, & Art Teacher

While in quarantine I read Shay Youngblood’s “Black Girl in Paris,” originally published in 2000. A nuanced, complex, inspiring book. I’m an avid armchair traveler and Rick Steves nerd but I rarely see myself or my experiences reflected in travel books/shows, and Rick Steves is problematic as hell. Youngblood’s text follows a young queer writer who decides to scrape some money together to go to Paris and follow in the footsteps of so many Black creatives before her. Read more>>

Colby Kennedy | Comedian, Writer & Actor

When I lived in Japan I walked into an English language bookstore (I can speak a lot of Japanese. I can’t read a damn word.) As I surveyed books I spotted one that some people were assigned to read at my high school, but I had not been assigned. It was Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by UCLA Professor of Geography Jared Diamond. It was bonkersville. To this day it is my favorite book. In short, it’s an attempt to explain inequality and why human history has played out like it has since the Neolithic Revolution 13,000 years ago. Read more>>

BENEVA | Artist/Musician

We use “Cooking for Cher” by Andy Ennis on the daily. There is no artist we strive to be more like than Cher, so why not EAT like Cher? Our favorite meal from this book is Chef Andy’s tapenade chicken, topped with the delicious rustic grilled tomato sauce. When we eat from this book, BENEVA is a creative force to be reckoned with. Read more>>