Is there a book you still think about? Perhaps a book that made you challenge your beliefs, attitudes about life, work, politics or culture? Has there been a book that deepened your convictions or broadened your worldview? These are among the questions we asked some thoughtful members of our community recently and we’ve shared their responses below.

Larry Goode | Artist

Recently I re-read Roberto Bolaño’s 2004 novel, 2666. The Chilean author was dying of liver disease, writing with a sense of urgency that permeated the 900 plus pages. The main character, Archimboldi, is a reclusive novelist struggling to make sense of what it means to be, and how to live as a writer. He is completely dedicated to his work—to the detriment of his personal relationships and the life trappings most of us are used to. Feeling he has no other options, and nothing else that gives his life meaning, he dutifully writes novel after novel. In my reading, as the story unfolds, it is apparent that he can be only what he is, and only create what’s in him to create regardless of the many pressures and obstacles he meets. By the end of the story he is a well-known, if mysterious author who unburdens himself by finding peace working as a solitary gardener. Read more>>

Hang Gao | I go by Gao, or Gao Hang, Instead of Hang Gao

Interviews with American Artists, by David Sylvester. I have read this book 2 times and each time it gives me something, a lot of thing, new, in terms of understanding the artists I look up to, deconstructing art making process, and some links that could potentially chain my works into art history. I think reading art critics is important however interviews with artists give me more inspirations with artists’ “inside-talk”, more intimate you know? This is why I like reading it, as an interesting book per se. Read more>>

Janna Sammon | Artist

A few years ago I found “Cats, Dogs, Men, Ninnies & Clowns. The Lost Art of William Steig” in my local used bookstore. The book is filled with little snapshots of the multiple personalities of being human. The subjects often seem caught off guard or completely unaware and absorbed in their own lives. Although I love the humor in his irreverent depictions of everyday people, it is Steig’s drawing style that I keep going back to this book for. It is a reminder that the goal of an artist isn’t to draw picture-perfect, but to tap into what is unique in each of us- plus, the idea of creating a world, character by character, calls to me. Read more>>