Is there any greater pleasure than pulling out a good book on a sunny day? The answer for actors is yes, if that radiant read you pluck off the shelf also happens to be filled with craft-enhancing pages. Combine your summer relaxation with a little actor fascination by devouring the latest books about some of today’s most legendary talents.
From humble beginnings to onset stories, actor biographies and memoirs pull back the curtain on highly-regarded talent. Not only do they plunge you into a pool of knowledge, but they remind you that you’re not the only one chasing a wild dream. So sit out in the sunshine and soak up the intimate story of Viola Davis or lay down on the beach and prepare to worship Queen Meryl.
Here are five recently-released books about actors to enjoy this summer:
Molly Shannon (2022)
“A candid, compulsively readable, hilarious, and heartbreaking memoir of resilience and redemption by comedic genius Molly Shannon.” — Ecco Press
Saturday Night Live icon Molly Shannon candidly chronicles her life in this colorful New York Times bestselling memoir. Actors will have their heart broken and then put back together as Molly divulges a childhood tragedy that has informed almost every character she’s created. Unshockingly, the book of course brims with quirky Hollywood stories that could only be from Molly herself. For instance, did you know she and a good friend once pretended to be high-profile assistants to get each other meetings… and it worked?
Viola Davis (2022)
“In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.” — Viola Davis
Get to know the Oscar-winning powerhouse at her most intimate core in this stunningly scribed memoir. Viola Davis pours her soul into every page of this book, which was picked for Oprah’s Book Club. Above all else, she hopes it will ignite a creative fire in readers and remind them of who they really are.
Simu Liu (2022)
“The star of Marvel’s first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, tells his own origin story of being a Chinese immigrant, his battles with cultural stereotypes and his own identity, becoming a TV star, and landing the role of a lifetime.” — William Morrow and Company
Leading a Marvel movie is a stamp of success in today’s industry. Newly-minted superhero Simu Liu breaks down how he reached the pinnacle of projects after journeying to Hollywood from China alongside his family. The comical mishaps and candid stories of rejection in the entertainment industry aid in making this an extra powerful read for actors.
Matthew McConaughey (2020)
“Discover the life-changing memoir that has inspired millions of readers through the Academy Award-winning actor’s unflinching honesty, unconventional wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.” — Crown Publishing Group
Though 2020 was seemingly filled with red lights, Matthew McConaughey lit a green one. In what he calls a “love letter to life,” the Oscar-winner rattles off all sorts of useful stories and notes. As actors, it may seem like we’re only hitting red lights from this rejection-filled industry, but Matthew urges that we can turn them all green eventually.
Erin Carlson (2019)
“A captivating and inspiring portrait of legendary actress Meryl Streep and her work, Queen Meryl explores the fearless icon’s trailblazing roles in film, her feminist activism, and the indelible mark she’s left on pop culture.” — Hachette Book Group
Last, but certainly not least, we have a tome on one of today’s greatest living legends. If you’re like most actors and revere Meryl Streep, this book is a must-read. Featuring illustrations by Justin Teodoro and filled with marveling tidbits, this joyful biography will brighten the sunniest of days.
Robert Peterpaul is a writer, podcaster and performer, who can be seen in films like IFC's “King Cobra,” T-Mobile ad campaigns, and TV shows like CBS' “BULL.” He currently hosts the hit podcast The Art of Kindness with the Broadway Podcast Network. Other writing and hosting highlights include: NBC’s “Access Hollywood” and “America’s Got Talent,” “BUILD Series,” the Huffington Post and serving as the Weekend Editor for HOLA!/ HELLO! USA for six years. He also co-founded his family’s nonprofit the Thomas Peterpaul Foundation, which aims to end pediatric cancer. Robert has studied at the Barrow Group, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, UCB and earned a B.A. from Marist College. Thank you for reading and keep following your bliss! www.robertpeterpaul.com