Are you a big reader? I find that one of the best ways to gain a little wisdom about my purpose as an actor and creative AND relax at the same time is to curl up with a good book before bed. Or on a towel on the beach, because heck, it’s summer!
And if you can tap into the minds of some inspiring experts and/or fellow actors at the same time to enjoy a little break, why not?
It may be hard to find the time to read when you’re busy, but even 15-20 minutes a day is enough to help your brain and bod. While literature stimulates your brain, taking the time out to read calms your body’s nervous system, lowers blood pressure and relieves muscle tension.
So, I’ve got five summer book recommendations for you below that are sure to bring a little inspiration and a ton of fun into your life.
by Shonda Rhymes
If you’ve ever been afraid to go after a big dream, switch directions, or just make a necessary change in your life, this book is for you.
Even with all her personal and professional success, the acclaimed creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder knew she was holding herself back. So she challenged herself to say YES to everything that scared her for one year.
This memoir is a great reminder that no matter how much we accomplish in life, we’re still always evolving and growing.
by Amy Cuddy
We’ve previously discussed how you can generate greater confidence in your acting abilities by consistently thinking more positive thoughts. Well, this book explores how you can do the same with your physicality.
Cuddy, a Harvard professor, explains how ‘power poses’ and other physical gestures can help us remain relaxed and in control during high-pressure moments. The stories shared in this book are sure to inspire you to rise above your resistance and fear and go after your dreams without regret.
by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey
It’s essential for actors to have a life outside of work, but sometimes, those lines can blur, am I right?. That’s the case for real-life BFFs Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who met on the set of the U.S. version of The Office.
These talented ladies share behind the scenes tales of working on a hit TV show, growing into your own as a creative person and the importance of having a solid support system at every level of your career (and life). This feel-good read also offers hope that you can find kindred spirits at any stage, as these two didn’t connect until their 30s
You can also check out Fischer’s earlier work, The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, about the beginning of her acting career, for more advice on navigating through the ups and downs of this industry.
by Don Miguel Ruiz
I can’t say enough about this book. I think it’s essential reading for everyone, but especially for creative souls. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom (a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture), this quick read outlines the key principles that we can commit to in order to experience more joy and fulfillment in our lives.
Not only is this book a great reminder of how to stay true to your values amidst this turbulent and stressful world we’re living in, but also of how we’re all connected.
by Twyla Tharp
Are you struggling to stay consistent in your creative pursuits? If you need a little kickstart to get your imagination going, check out these thirty-two practical exercises designed by the seasoned creator of the Broadway show, Movin’ Out.
This book is also helpful if you have trouble taking your ideas from the intangible to a solid plan on paper. While it may seem counterintuitive to have a structure or habit around being creative, it’s actually very important – think of how studios and production teams help mold a project from concept to construction to conclusion!
This book is about the hard work of success, broken down into bite-size stories and tips that any creative can enjoy.
What are your favorite books for actors this year? Let me know in the comments and we’ll add to the list!
LOVE + happy reading!