The most recommended books about actors

Who picked these books? Meet our 71 experts.

71 authors created a book list connected to actors, and here are their favorite actor books.
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What type of actor book?


The Appeal

By Janice Hallett,

Book cover of The Appeal

Lia Matera Author Of The Good Fight

From the list on details of legal and definitely illegal professions.

Who am I?

Before I wrote crime novels, I was a lawyer. Legal mysteries back then were mostly set in traditional firms, with just enough lawyering to set up final courtroom scenes. I preferred novels that showed more of the nitty-gritty, the conflicts, and temperaments peculiar to different workplaces. I’d been binging Dick Francis, with his deep dives into jobs connected to racing, and I wished there were books with his level of detail in settings I knew—students scrabbling to make law review, firebrand litigators in labor firms, double-crosses in corporate practice, the horrors of bank law retreats. When I finished Francis’s excellent Whip Hand, I decided to try writing one myself. 

Lia's book list on details of legal and definitely illegal professions

Why did Lia love this book?

What is it like to be a lawyer in the information age? Janice Hallett’s characters show us, in this update of the epistolary novel. Two lawyers are handed a sheaf of emails, text messages, police reports, press releases, and medical records by their firm’s top partner. He tells them that he wants fresh eyes on documents pertaining to a case he tried and may appeal. He won’t prejudice their reading of the material by explaining what the crime was or who committed it, much less what the court decided or why he might challenge the ruling. Along with the reader, the lawyers sift through documents that offer an intriguing look at the players, eventually revealing who did what. It’s an excellent puzzle with a modern twist on a time-honored structure.

By Janice Hallett,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Appeal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the CWA New Blood Dagger Award

“[W]itty, original…a delight.” —The New York Times

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this international bestseller and “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and…

10,000 Nos

By Matthew Del Negro,

Book cover of 10,000 Nos: How to Overcome Rejection on the Way to Your Yes

Alison Levine Author Of On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments

From the list on how to tackle life’s mountains.

Who am I?

I have firsthand experience in some of the harshest environments on the planet. I’ve survived sub-zero temperatures, hurricane force winds, sudden avalanches…and a career on Wall Street. I served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, climbed the highest peak on every continent (the “7 Summits”), and skied to both the North and South Poles. I spent four years as an adjunct professor at the US Military Academy at West Point. Awarded the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. I have a beer named after me. I love dogs. Three heart surgeries could not slow me down. NY Times bestselling author of On the Edge. I’ve had some high profile failures and have been the butt of late night talk show opening monologue jokes. Come at me!

Alison's book list on how to tackle life’s mountains

Why did Alison love this book?

Matt is an actor, which means he is constantly jockeying for jobs in what might be the most competitive industry on the planet. He explains that dealing with rejection and coming back after failure is part of the process of getting to the “YES” that you want in life. He shares advice from his interviews with bestselling authors, world-class athletes, successful entrepreneurs, and other actors—all of whom share their stories of rejection and defeat and make us realize that hearing “NO” does not mean you will not achieve your dreams – it just means that you need to try again, from a different angle. 

By Matthew Del Negro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 10,000 Nos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn how to persevere and pivot to achieve your goals from a celebrated Hollywood actor

10,000 NOs: How to Overcome Rejection on the Way to Your YES chronicles actor Matthew Del Negro's tough journey from humble beginnings, through a sea of rejections, on the way to his eventual rise to become a recognizable face on some of history's most acclaimed television shows. Along the way, he learned hard lessons about perseverance, persistence, and resilience. Teaching readers how to make it through the tough times and deal with massive uncertainty by retaining the flexibility to change course and pivot to follow…

Year of the King

By Antony Sher,

Book cover of Year of the King: An Actor's Diary and Sketchbook

Maxine Rose Schur Author Of Places in Time: Reflections on a Journey

From Maxine's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Creative Reader World Traveler Writing Instructor

Maxine's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Maxine love this book?

I majored in dramatic arts in college and later became a professional actress. Though I haven’t acted in years, I wanted to read this book because I’m a huge fan of the book’s author, the late Antony Sher.

Antony Sher was one of the great English actors. As a teenager, Antony left his home in South Africa to try his luck as an actor in England. Though he failed to be accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he gradually learned the art of being an actor, became a leading player with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was given a knighthood.

Success didn’t come easily or quickly. Sher struggled with being an outsider: a South African, a Jew, and a gay man in England. Most of all, he struggled with self-doubt that plagued him his entire life. The book recounts in great part his detailed crafting of his first…

By Antony Sher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Year of the King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anthony Sher's mesmerizing performance as Richard III, for which he won the Standard Award for Best Actor of 1985, was warmly received by both critics and audiences. This book records the making of this historic theatrical event. It follows the events of a year in the life of Anthony Sher, both as the character and himself. The text is interspersed with the author's own personal sketches.

Shakespeare the Player

By John Southworth,

Book cover of Shakespeare the Player: A Life in the Theatre

Arlene Naylor Okerlund Author Of Elizabeth: England's Slandered Queen

From the list on biographies that tell the truth.

Who am I?

Fake news is not new. Biographies, in particular, are fraught with fallacies and fake stories. When fake news slanders individuals, reputations are ruined and lives destroyed. That’s what happened to Elizabeth Wydeville, Queen Consort to Edward IV, and mother of the two princes who disappeared during Richard III’s reign. When I discovered the slander that destroyed Queen Elizabeth’s reputation, I began a 5-year research project to set the record straight. Some fallacies are deliberate, originating in envy or power putsches. Others derive from historical laziness or incompetence. What I learned from my research has determined my choices of biographies, stories that tell previously unrevealed truths about individuals.

Arlene's book list on biographies that tell the truth

Why did Arlene love this book?

Written from an actor’s perspective, Shakespeare The Player researches acting companies in Stratford-on-Avon and England during Shakespeare’s youth and adolescence. Southwark explores the possibilities of Shakespeare spending those “Lost Years” from 1585-1592 as an apprentice with acting companies. Shakespeare The Player provides otherwise obscure information about the world of the theater during Shakespeare’s formative years as an actor and writer. 

How else did Shakespeare learn the crafts of writing, playing, and directing for which Robert Greene lambasted that “upstart crow…the only Shakes-scene in a country” in 1592?

By John Southworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare the Player as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shakespeare the Player overturns traditional images of the Bard, arguing that Shakespeare cannot be separated from his profession as actor any more than he can be separated from his works.

The Dance of Reality

By Alexandro Jodorowsky,

Book cover of The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography

Mike Russell Author Of Nothing Is Strange

From the list on surreal, magical, and mind-expanding stories.

Who am I?

Hello. My name is Mike Russell. I write books (novels, short story collections and novellas) and make visual art (mostly paintings, occasionally sculptures). I love art and books that are surreal and magical because that is the way life seems to me, and I love art and books that are mind-expanding because we need to expand our minds to perceive just how surreal and magical life is. My books have been described as strange fiction, weird fiction, surrealism, magic realism, fantasy fiction… but I just like to call them Strange Books.

Mike's book list on surreal, magical, and mind-expanding stories

Why did Mike love this book?

Discovering the art of Alejandro Jodorowsky helped me to remove limitations from my own art. It was a joy to discover his work and it was a further joy to discover that his life has been just as uncompromising, surreal, and magical as his art. He has hung out with circus people, shamans, great artists (Marcel Marceau, Leonora Carrington, Jean Giraud… the list goes on). His novels, autobiographies, comic books, movies, and pictures are all fantastic. 

By Alexandro Jodorowsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dance of Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Not a traditional autobiography composed of a chronological recounting of memories, Dance of Realityrepaints events from Jodorowsky's life from the perspective of an unleashed imagination. Like the psychomagic and metagenealogy therapies he created, this autobiography exposes the mythic models and family templates upon which the events of everyday life are founded. It reveals the development of Jodorowsky's realization that all problems are rooted in the family tree and explains, through vivid examples from his own life, particularly interactions with his father and mother, how the individual's road to true fulfilment means casting off the phantoms projected by parents on their…

Interior Chinatown

By Charles Yu,

Book cover of Interior Chinatown

Jill Watts Author Of The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt

From Jill's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Rescue dog guardian

Jill's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Jill love this book?

Interior Chinatown is one of my all-time favorite novels. It has a personal meaning for me—through marriage I have ties to Los Angeles’s Chinatown, and Yu captures that community’s past and present so compellingly. 

The book’s main character, Willis Wu, pursues his dream of becoming a Hollywood leading man, navigating the complexities of Chinese American life and the pressures of American racism. Through Willis’s struggles, Yu provides a sharp expose of Hollywood and its stereotypes. By using the format of a script and, at points fusing reality with fantasy, Yu’s narrative becomes intensively gripping and visual.

This book drops you into Willis Wu’s world and you feel his frustrations, share his dreams, and experience his hope.  

By Charles Yu,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Interior Chinatown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • “A shattering and darkly comic send-up of racial stereotyping in Hollywood” (Vanity Fair) and adeeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.

Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but always he is relegated to a prop. Yet every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant,…

The Mask of Apollo

By Mary Renault,

Book cover of The Mask of Apollo

Edoardo Albert Author Of Edwin

From the list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction.

Who am I?

I am a writer and historian, specialising in the early-Medieval period and the fractious but fruitful encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. My fiction is informed by my non-fiction work: it’s a great help to have written actual histories of Northumbria in collaboration with some of the foremost archaeologists working on the period. I regard my work as the imaginative application of what we can learn through history to stories and the books I have selected all do this through the extraordinarily varied talents of their authors. I hope you will enjoy them!

Edoardo's book list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction

Why did Edoardo love this book?

The final sentence of The Mask of Apollo has haunted me for decades since I first read the book in my teens. When I read it again, many years later, I discovered that the story is as moving as I remembered. Renault weaves a fascinating re-creation of classical Greek theatre with Plato’s attempt to tutor a true philosopher king in the kingdom of Syracuse. But it’s the final chapter, after Plato’s death, that raises the book to the level of tragedy. For then we meet the young Alexander, already almost god-like in his charisma, a fire seeking fuel for its burning. Alexander burns through the world seeking it, but what he is looking for in the world has already left it: a broken Plato has already died.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mask of Apollo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold mask of Apollo, a relic of the theatre's golden age, which is now past. At first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the centre of a political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to…


By Malorie Blackman,

Book cover of Whizziwig

Nadine Wild-Palmer Author Of The Tunnels Below

From the list on to escape reality.

Who am I?

I have always been a very imaginative individual and even now I think of my imagination as a place I can escape to. I build worlds and dimensions in my head and visit them often especially when I'm writing my own books, poems, or drafting characters. I'm a very visual individual and pay attention to detail so these imagined worlds can become quite complex and intricate. That's why I have always loved adventure, it's such a privilege to be given access to other worlds and minds through the medium of books. You get a chance to wander around someone else's imagination – what a way to escape, what an adventure in and of itself!

Nadine's book list on to escape reality

Why did Nadine love this book?

I loved this book for many reasons growing up but I think first and foremost because it was one of the first books I had ever seen with an illustration of a black child on the front cover aimed at children around my age. It was also turned into a TV series and I remember realising at this point in my early teens that there are so many ways that a book can be interpreted. Not just in the minds of their readers but through different creative mediums and this really excited my imagination as I have been acting since I was small and very involved in many different forms of music. This made Whizziwig, a story about possibility at every turn as the subject matter is also about chancing upon an alien life form in your backyard with whom the protagonist becomes friends. Plus, it was the first…

By Malorie Blackman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whizziwig as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whizziwig is an alien - a very special alien who makes wishes come true, but only wishes made for someone else! Every wish granted gets his space ship one step nearer to becoming repaired. But every wish granted also causes chaos for Ben and his family.

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Book cover of Station Eleven

Phil Gilvin Author Of Truth Sister

From the list on post-civilisation futures.

Who am I?

As a teenager I loved the post-apocalyptic genre, especially John Wyndham and H G Wells, and as a scientist I’ve become increasingly aware of the threats to society, especially from climate change and pandemics. But it seems to me that any collapse will be gradual: yes, the weather will worsen, and the seas will rise; but those won’t happen overnight. We’re unlikely to see a pandemic that kills everyone, but we could well see a train of smaller ones. This is the world of Truth Sister: it’s changed, but we’ve had time to adapt. The books in my list have different takes on how a post-civilisation world might look. Enjoy!

Phil's book list on post-civilisation futures

Why did Phil love this book?

Station Eleven is another book that I’ve enjoyed re-reading, I think because of the depth of character and, again, the believability of their actions.

This time it’s a pandemic that does the damage, and the bulk of the action takes place twenty years later, when society has reached a kind of degraded normality. As in a couple of my other recommendations, there’s an encounter with a cult, showing how humanity might turn to the supernatural for answers. I also like that the story ends on a hopeful note!

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Station Eleven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Best novel. The big one . . . stands above all the others' - George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Now an HBO Max original TV series

The New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
National Book Awards Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in…

True and False

By David Mamet,

Book cover of True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

Stephanie Storey Author Of Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo

From the list on helping you get in touch with your inner artist.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with studying the artistic process for over 25 years since I got my degree in Studio Art and Art History at Vanderbilt University. After getting my MFA in Creative Writing, I headed out to Hollywood to produce national television for over twenty years. I’ve worked with many of the greatest actors, filmmakers, and writers of our time and written my own bestselling novels about artists. I read as many books on the artistic process as possible. My mission has always been to ensure that every person knows that they, too, can be artists – creating art isn’t just for the “great”, it’s for everyone. 

Stephanie's book list on helping you get in touch with your inner artist

Why did Stephanie love this book?

This is probably the most challenging read here, but so worth the effort if you want to dive deep into one of the most unique artistic minds of our time. If you’re not a trained actor, you might not understand all of the nuances here – Mamet is a definite theater guy and doesn’t stop down to explain every detail here -- but any artist can learn Mamet’s biting, witty, shocking creative tips. I recommend just letting this one wash over you the first time, but if you give yourself to this text and to Mamet, it is sure to give you a new perspective on the way we all create art and hopefully inspire you to delve into some creative expression that you were always too scared to try. 

By David Mamet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked True and False as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director and teacher has written a blunt, unsparingly honest guide to acting. In True and False David Mamet overturns conventional opinion and tells aspiring actors what they really need to know. He leaves no aspect of acting untouched: how to judge the role, approach the part, work with the playwright; the right way to undertake auditions and the proper approach to agents and the business in general. True and False slaughters a wide range of sacred cows and yet offers an invaluable guide to the acting profession.


By Riley Redgate,

Book cover of Noteworthy

Anna Hecker Author Of When the Beat Drops

From the list on YA about girls who literally rock.

Who am I?

I was a painfully awkward teenager, two years younger than the rest of my class and a little too “extra” to fit in anywhere. I spent all of high school desperately seeking my weirdos—people who would accept me the way I was, rabid-puppy enthusiasm and all. One night I met a colorfully-dressed trio on the street who invited me to a loft party that changed my life. That night I fell in love with NYC’s underground party scene: the high-energy music, grimy locations, and most of all the people. I had found my weirdos. When the Beat Drops is my love letter to discovering your people and finding your scene. 

Anna's book list on YA about girls who literally rock

Why did Anna love this book?

Noteworthy is a pitch-perfect novel set in the elite a capella group of a selective performing arts boarding school. Undistinguished Alto 2 Jordan Sun disguises herself as a guy to land a spot in the all-male Sharpshooters a capella group, only to realize she has to keep up the act for the remainder of her Junior and Senior years. Hijinks ensue as Jordan finds herself questioning her identity, her sexuality, and her place in the world. The writing in this book is crisp and funny, and I enjoyed learning a bit about how a capella works. Most of all, I enjoyed watching Jordan become more sure of herself even as her ruse starts to wear thin. This is a light-hearted read with some heavier discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality deftly woven throughout. If you like voice-driven music books as much as I do, add Noteworthy to your list. 

By Riley Redgate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Noteworthy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the start of Jordan Sun's junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she's an Alto 2, which-in the musical theatre world-is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody's falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it's no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington's elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all…

Walking with Sam

By Andrew McCarthy,

Book cover of Walking with Sam: A Father, a Son, and Five Hundred Miles Across Spain

Mary Kendall Author Of Campbell's Boy

From Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Historian Walking enthusiast Yogi

Mary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Mary love this book?

I’m a big reader of memoirs… but I tend to steer clear of celebrity ones. I fell into this memoir written by a “Brat Packer” because the Camino is a dream of mine ---I read anything related. McCarthy does an excellent job at conveying this setting, towns and countryside alike.

Also, like the author, I grab opportunities to spend time with my sons, who are a similar age to Sam, his son. As the years go by, opportunities diminish…. stolen moments become more treasured. This aspect of the memoir was so poignant that I didn’t want it to end and dragged it out for the vicarious experience.

This compelling tale has inspired me to read this author’s earlier memoirs and also makes me still want to walk the Camino.

By Andrew McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking with Sam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



An intimate, funny, and poignant travel memoir following New York Times bestselling author and actor Andrew McCarthy as he walks the Camino de Santiago with his son Sam.
When Andrew McCarthy's eldest son began to take his first steps into adulthood, McCarthy found himself wishing time would slow down. Looking to create a more meaningful connection with Sam before he fled the nest, as well as recreate his own life-altering journey decades before, McCarthy decided the two of them should set out on a trek like…

The Midnight Show

By Sarah Pennington,

Book cover of The Midnight Show

Yakira Goldsberry Author Of Curse of the Midnight King

From the list on YA retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Who am I?

I’ve been in love with fairytales since childhood when I picked up a collection of fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson. These stories shaped my imagination, so much so that I longed for distant mysterious lands full of magic, wonder, and mystical creatures. Though in a way, I guess I did live a bit of a fairytale, having grown up surrounded by thick woods and open fields, as one of twelve siblings. Now as an adult, I still wish I could escape to distant fantastical lands, but I’ll just have to stick with the ones I find between the pages of books and the ones in my own head! 

Yakira's book list on YA retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Why did Yakira love this book?

Set in a fantastical world based on the roaring 20s, Pennington’s take on the tale is very unique! Bastion and Dayo quickly became some of my favorite characters, and I loved all of the intrigue and mystery that surrounded them both. Not to mention the subtle African influences on the world!

By Sarah Pennington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midnight Show as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off…

Bid Time Return

By Richard Matheson,

Book cover of Bid Time Return

Brian Paone Author Of Yours Truly, 2095

From the list on time travel that do not rely on a time machine.

Who am I?

Before I even started writing my outline, I spent four months researching everything I could on quantum entanglement. I read textbooks, watched seminars and lectures, and even went to Tokyo, Japan to visit the quantum physics exhibition at a museum! I have immersed myself in time travel novel, films, and even music (i.e., Electric Light Orchestra’s Time album, where my novel gets its title from—track #2 on the album is “Yours Truly, 2095”) since I was very young. I even gave a presentation to the Library of Congress on the differences between time travel with engineering and time travel with physics.

Brian's book list on time travel that do not rely on a time machine

Why did Brian love this book?

Most people will know Bid Time Return from its Christopher Reeve film adaptation, Somewhere in Time. In the novel and movie, the main character is transported back and forth without a physical device, just through self-hypnosis. Some believe there is a touch of science to self-hypnosis. This story has spoken to me since I first saw the film as a young child. The story focuses more on the dynamics of the two characters, who are separated by an era, and less on the adventures of time travel. While this is more of a romance story at heart, I borrowed some atmosphere and tone from the love interest plotline for my own novel. To me, this story is timeless, and I knew my novel would suffer if I did not put a nod to it.

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bid Time Return as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Staying at an old hotel, Richard Collier sees a photograph of Elise McKenna, an actress who performed there in 1896, and as he researches her life he becomes more deeply in love with her, until he finds himself transported back in time

Have You Ever Seen?

By Sarah Mazor,

Book cover of Have You Ever Seen?

Barbara Ann Mojica Author Of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon

From the list on for all ages to enjoy.

Who am I?

As a parent, grandparent, retired educator, historian, and children’s book author, I am an avid reader and advocate for children’s literacy. My forty years of experience working with children and their families gives me the background and expertise to identify high-quality books and the types of subjects that children will want to read and adults in the family will enjoy sharing with them.

Barbara's book list on for all ages to enjoy

Why did Barbara love this book?

I adore the Auntie Lily character who has a penchant for telling silly stories. Each of these stories composed in clever rhymes feature a silly animal doing something outrageous. Children become interactive partners visualizing and acting out the hijinks like a stork riding on a subway train or a fly that works for the FBI. The fun continues because readers get ten riddles to solve at the end of the tale. This book is fun for the whole family from preschooler to grandma!

By Sarah Mazor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Have You Ever Seen? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have You Ever Seen? is a perfect read right before sleep, as you lighten the mood with Auntie Lily's silly rhymes and thus guarantee bedtime with a smile :)Silly Auntie LilyWho’s tall and also smallImagines silly thingsThat make no sense at allShe tells us silly storiesAnd does so all in rhyme'Cause silly Auntie Lily Is silly all the timeHave fun and help your child develop with Have You Ever Seen? - the hilarious first in the READY TO READ children's books series about funny, silly, and nonsensical situations that will have you and your kids rolling with laughter.

Donut Fall in Love

By Jackie Lau,

Book cover of Donut Fall in Love

Ruby Lang Author Of Open House

From the list on romance that deals with grief.

Who am I?

I’m a romance novelist who writes about otherwise smart people who deal badly with their feelings. Love, sorrow, jealousy, anger, hopelessness, and grief make appearances in my books because I write in a genre that centers the emotional lives of its characters. When I’m not wreaking havoc on fictional people, I take long walks and eavesdrop on conversations. I’m a recent transplant to Toronto, Canada, after having lived in New York City for more than 20 years.

Ruby's book list on romance that deals with grief

Why did Ruby love this book?

In this Toronto-set contemporary, baker Lindsay coaches actor Ryan to appear on a celebrity cooking show. Ryan’s mother has recently passed away, and while Lindsay’s father died years ago, she lives with the residual effects of that loss. The two connect over food, laughter, and grief. What I loved about this book was how Lau sensitively explores how grief isn’t an isolated feeling with a set end, but rather is a set of feelings and actions that can have ripples over the course of a person’s life.

By Jackie Lau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Donut Fall in Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[Lau's] trope-forward contemporaries are as sugary and irresistible as the desserts her characters create."—New York Times Book Review

A baker provides the sweetest escape for an actor in this charming romantic comedy.

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After years of constant work and the sudden death of his mother, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn't know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him…

King of Shadows

By Susan Cooper,

Book cover of King of Shadows

Fred Van Lente Author Of Never Sleep

From the list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II.

Who am I?

I love historical fiction because it’s the next best thing to the invention of time travel. Books can immerse you in a time and a place in a way that comics and movies can only gesture at. For books like Never Sleep I even make sure to cook the foods my characters are eating, to make sure the era is evoked for the readers in all five sense. I love fantasy and science fiction as the next person, but the idea of transporting people to times and places that actually happened, to the best of my skill as a dramatist and researcher, is a challenge I find irresistible as an author. 

Fred's book list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II

Why did Fred love this book?

This is cheating a little bit because it’s about a modern-day American boy who gets whisked back to Shakespeare’s time and befriends the playwright as a young man.

Our young actor has to figure out why he’s been sent back to this time and escape before a terrible plague wipes out much of London. I bought this book at the Globe Theatre gift shop (!) on an overseas trip on the basis of Susan Cooper’s name alone.

She wrote The Dark Is Rising Series and this is a thrilling modern classic by her. 

By Susan Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King of Shadows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I lay very still, with all my senses telling me that I had gone mad. The plague? Nobody's had the plague for centuries . . .

Nathan Field, a talented young actor, arrives at the newly rebuilt Globe Theatre in London to play Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. As rehearsals begin, eerie echoes of the past begin to haunt Nat, and he falls sick with a mysterious sickness.

When he wakes, Nat finds himself in 1599, an actor at the original Globe - and his co-star is none other than the King of Shadows himself: William Shakespeare.

Nat's new…

Breaking Character

By Lee Winter,

Book cover of Breaking Character

Jae Author Of Just a Touch Away

From the list on women who love women and romance novels.

Who am I?

I’m a full-time writer, part-time editor, and avid reader of romances between queer women. I’ve just published my twenty-third novel, and I’m still amazed and humbled at getting to live my dream: writing sapphic romances for a living. Discovering sapphic books was a life-saver for me since I grew up in a tiny little village, with no openly LGBT+ people around, and I love knowing that my books are now doing the same for my readers. 

Jae's book list on women who love women and romance novels

Why did Jae love this book?

Breaking Character is a lesbian celebrity romance, but it’s also so much more than that. The main character, icy British actress Elizabeth, is in the closet for fear of risking her career. When she meets her younger colleague Summer, she starts letting someone close for the first time—and the result is a romance that is sizzling and sweet at the same time. 

If you like age-gap romances with a fake relationship and well-written characters, this is a great introduction to Lee Winter’s books.

By Lee Winter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breaking Character as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life has become a farcical mess for icy British A-lister Elizabeth Thornton. America’s most-hated villain stars in a top-rated TV medical drama that she hates. Now, she’s been romantically linked to her perky, new co-star, Summer, due to the young woman’s clumsiness. As a closeted actress, that’s the last thing Elizabeth needs. If she could just get her dream movie role, life would be so much better. The only problem is that the eccentric French film-maker offering it insists on meeting her “girlfriend”, Summer, first.Summer Hayes is devastated when her co-star shuns her for accidentally sparking rumors they’re lovers. Now…

The Perfect Guests

By Emma Rous,

Book cover of The Perfect Guests

Mae Clair Author Of Cusp of Night

From the list on supernatural mysteries with dual storylines.

Who am I?

I’ve loved mysteries since childhood. That passion started with silly attractions like Scooby-Doo, Dark Shadows, and Nancy Drew. As I grew older, my love of mystery expanded to include the “what if” elements of folklore and urban legends. I’ve written two, 3-book series employing dual timelines, each wrapped in multiple layers of folklore. Crafting separate plotlines then weaving them into a tidy ending takes patience. I enjoy reading books that are well-executed and if they include a touch of the supernatural, all the better. My passion for urban legends has led me to give presentations to local community groups and also to engage in travel when needed for on-site research.

Mae's book list on supernatural mysteries with dual storylines

Why did Mae love this book?

I’m a huge fan of the board game Clue. The “present” timeline in this story provides an excellent tip of the hat when lead character Sadie, a bit actress, agrees to assume the role of “Miss Lamb” at an old mansion known as Raven Hall. She attends with a collection of others (who take on roles like Miss Mouse, Professor Owl, Colonel Otter, etc.) as part of a trial run for a business that hosts murder mystery parties. Great set-up, right?

Three time periods twine in the plot, one which includes a bizarre game of a different sort that has far-reaching consequences, stretching from past to present. The author does a brilliant job of foreshadowing, planting subtle clues that deliver staggering surprises by the end of the story.

By Emma Rous,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Perfect Guests as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel—about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help…

So Much Blood

By Simon Brett,

Book cover of So Much Blood

Steve Orme Author Of Storm Deaths

From the list on crime fiction with characters you won't forget.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by crime ever since I was a junior reporter working on a daily newspaper and covered a huge number of court cases. I’ve written all my working life and turned to crime writing after reaching the final of a UK TV channel’s Search for a New Crime Writer competition. I’ve built up contacts within the police force during my career which has enabled me to write Storm Deaths, the first in a series of police procedural crime novels. I’ve seen so many films and TV shows that don’t follow the proper procedure, so I ensure that all my writing is as authentic as possible. 

Steve's book list on crime fiction with characters you won't forget

Why did Steve love this book?

Few characters in crime fiction are as charismatic as Charles Paris, a struggling actor whose career has more ups and downs than a seesaw. Simon Brett presents us with a fascinating character, a middle-aged man who is endearing even though he is a drunk and a womaniser. 

There is always a murder whether Paris is acting in weekly rep or has a cameo role in a film. So Much Blood involves Paris appearing at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Brett skilfully weaves in the drama of putting on a show and the dynamism of the Scottish city with Paris’ occasionally amateurish sleuthing as he tries to uncover who committed the crime. Excellent entertainment.

By Simon Brett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked So Much Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Appearing in his own one-man show on Thomas Hood at the Edinburgh Festival, middle-aged actor Charles Paris finds himself falling for a gorgeous young girl with navy-blue eyes. He also finds himself being dragged into a complex murder investigation involving the death of a fading pop star, a bomb scare in Holyrood Palace and a suicide leap from the top of the Rock.