The most recommended books about actresses

Who picked these books? Meet our 29 experts.

29 authors created a book list connected to actresses, and here are their favorite actress books.
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Book cover of Flirting With Fire

Angela Lam Author Of Last Chance

From Angela's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Author Artist Community Reader Runner

Angela's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Angela Lam Why did Angela love this book?

This small-town romance centers around a middle-aged actress, Margot Hughes, and a big-shot actor, Max Russo, who come together to save Cambria’s historic theater through a summer season of Barefoot in the Park.

The story is set in another California coastal community, much like my book, and features seasoned characters questioning their life choices and the opportunities presented to them. A warm hug of a book, this romance is perfect for theater lovers who believe everyone deserves a shot at love no matter the age or stage of life.

By Jane Porter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love isn’t just an act in this captivating and flirty romance by New York Times bestselling author Jane Porter.

Forty-nine-year-old Margot Hughes has lived and breathed theater for the past twenty-five years. After a devastating breakup with her playwright fiancé, she wants nothing to do with the industry. She has sworn off New York, theater, actors—all of it. She returns to her hometown on California’s central coast and takes a job in real estate, where she manages significant investment properties. But Margot’s suddenly thrown back into the theater world when Sally, her friend and boss, who had been restoring and…


Book cover of Sister Stardust

John Glynn Author Of Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer

From my list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi! I'm John Glynn, and I'm excited to share some book recommendations inspired by one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, "Cruel Summer."  To me, this song perfectly encapsulates the heightened emotions of summer love—a theme at the heart of my memoir Out East. I chose books that capture the "fever dream highs" of the season. But at the same time, as Taylor sings, "Summer's a knife," filled with longing and heartache, primed for nostalgia. All of these books carry the kind of moonlit shimmer I crave in a smart beach read. As a Swiftie, a beach lover, an avid reader, and a hopeless romantic, I hope you enjoy.

John's book list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”

John Glynn Why did John love this book?

Jane Green is an icon in every sense, and this is my absolute favorite of her many bestselling books. I love stories with a strong sense of place, stories that transport me. This book does just that, whisking the reader to a forgotten scene from the Swinging 60s, an ex-pat community in Marrakesh once frequented in real life by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Yves Saint Laurent, and other luminaries of the era.

The narrator is an outsider who falls under the spell of Talitha Getty, a magnetic actress and model who presides over the whole swirling scene. This novel feels like the literary equivalent of a starry summer night. 

By Jane Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*NATIONAL BESTSELLER*

A PARADE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK POST BEST BOOK OF THE WEEK

In her first novel inspired by a true story, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging '60s

From afar Talitha's life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a…


Book cover of From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Italy in Mind: An Anthology

From my list on falling in love in (and with) Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on falling in love in (and with) Italy

Alice Leccese Powers Why did Alice love this book?

If you’ve watched the recent Netflix series about Tembi Locke and her Sicilian chef husband, you only know half the story. Locke’s memoir, beautifully told, concentrates on (spoiler alert) her healing after her husband’s death. Recently widowed, she traveled to her husband’s tiny Sicilian village to inter his ashes. Although in many ways she dreaded going to Sicily (and her mother-in-law’s house) she is drawn to a simpler way of life from the one she has in Los Angeles. For several succeeding summers she and her daughter return to her husband’s hometown in which little has changed for centuries. Except for the local priest from Africa, they are the only people of color. Locke’s journey is one from despair and exasperation to healing and appreciation.

By Tembi Locke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a limited Netflix series starring Zoe Saldana!

This Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller is "a captivating story of love lost and found" (Kirkus Reviews) set in the lush Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hours.

It was love at first sight when actress Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro's traditional Sicilian family did not approve of his marrying a black American woman. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forged on.…


Book cover of The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II

Caroline Lamond Author Of Well Behaved Women

From my list on inspired by the lives of real women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historical fiction writer, every time I learn about an amazing woman, I instinctively want to write about her, to understand her life and bring her – often forgotten – story to a wider audience. It’s a wonderful way to live vicariously, and it’s a privilege to spend time in these women’s worlds for a brief period. There’s a Sylvia Plath quote that strongly resonates with me, beginning: ‘I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want…’. Reading and writing historical fiction allows me a glimpse into the worlds of different people living different lives in different eras, and for that I’m extremely grateful.

Caroline's book list on inspired by the lives of real women

Caroline Lamond Why did Caroline love this book?

Nell Gwynn is another fascinating (female) historical figure who captures the imagination and has been the subject of much speculation and invention.

Bagwell has clearly researched her subject meticulously, and the novel is a perfect mix of historical detail and bawdy romp, which makes for a very readable, very entertaining novel. I first read it around a decade ago, and it was my favourite read of that year.

By Gillian Bagwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history's most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London's slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century's most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King's Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened…


Book cover of The War Against Miss Winter

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

This book was one of the first historical mysteries I read that was set during World War II.

I love the protagonist, Rosie. She is feisty and a bit of a smart aleck. I connected with her immediately. Rosie is an actress, and because parts are hard to come by during wartime, she finds work as a secretary for a private investigator. When he ends up dead, she takes the case to find out why.

By Kathryn Miller Haines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War Against Miss Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1943, and the war escalating in Europe and the Pacific seems far away. But for aspiring actress Rosie Winter, the war feels as if it were right in New York City—what with food rationing and frequent blackouts . . . and a boyfriend she hasn't heard word one from since he enlisted in the navy. Now her rent is coming due and she hasn't been cast in anything for six months. The factories are desperate for women workers, but Rosie the Thespian isn't about to become Rosie the Riveter, so she grabs a part-time job at a seamy, lowbrow…


Book cover of Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery

Tom Mead Author Of The Murder Wheel: A Locked-Room Mystery

From my list on mystery with a hint of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a devourer of Golden Age Detective Fiction, and a writer of locked-room mysteries inspired by the classics. When it comes to old-school mystery writers, my favourites are John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and of course Agatha Christie. What I love about that era is the brilliance of the puzzles, and the way those writers really engaged with the reader and (in some cases) addressed them directly, challenging them to solve the crime along with the detective. Additionally, I’m fascinated by stage illusions (though I’m terrible at performing them myself), and this has also had a major influence on my writing.

Tom's book list on mystery with a hint of magic

Tom Mead Why did Tom love this book?

If you’re interested in locked-room mysteries, cozy crime, or magic, then you need to read this book.

Gigi Pandian is one of the best in the business, and with Under Lock & Skeleton Key she launches a brand new and exciting series. Gigi is excellent at creating charming characters that the reader cannot help but care about – this makes the mysteries themselves all the more compelling – and this book captures everything that’s great about her writing. 

By Gigi Pandian,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under Lock & Skeleton Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Wildly entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review

Known for her wonderfully addictive characters, multiple award-winning author Gigi Pandian introduces her newest heroine in this heartfelt series debut. Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers stunning architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries that will leave readers enchanted.

An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.

After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her…


Book cover of Make It Sweet

Rachel Bowen Author Of Thin Lines

From my list on romance with a chaotic family and friend groups.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t grow up with a close family, but I yearned for one. Which is why I gravitate towards books with a cast of characters who are family, or a found family. I also prefer romantic plots or subplots. Combining romance and amazing side characters that are close automatically hooks me. That’s why I always include these dynamics in the books I write. I write my books for my own entertainment and hope others who love romance with swoony leads and a fun cast of characters will find my book and enjoy it as much as I do. 

Rachel's book list on romance with a chaotic family and friend groups

Rachel Bowen Why did Rachel love this book?

I love stories where neither of the main characters are looking for love, and sometimes are actively avoiding it, and then bam they meet someone they click with and can’t help but fall.

This is one of those books. Both leads are using a sprawling estate as an escape from their pasts and from people in general. They fall in love with the help of a meddling grandmother, forced proximity, baking, and off-the-chart chemistry.

The fact they fight it, and try to deny it, makes it all the more satisfying when they finally give in. 

By Kristen Callihan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Callihan comes a charming, emotional romance about redefining dreams and discovering unlikely love along the way.

Life for Emma isn't good. The world knows her as Princess Anya on Dark Castle, but then her character gets the axe-literally. The cherry on top is finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She needs a break, and sanctuary comes in the form of Rosemont, a gorgeous estate in California promising rest and relaxation.

Then she meets the owner's equally gorgeous grandson, ex-hockey player and current recluse Lucian Osmond, and she sees her own pain…


Book cover of Leslie F*cking Jones

Stephanie Lincoln Author Of Born to be Brave: My 56 hour battle for my life in the Olympic National Forest

From my list on badass people who overcame crazy odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with people’s stories. I think this came from my grandfather, who, whether we liked it or not, would gather his grandkids in his study and wax poetically about his life. He was a writer and a teacher, so he knew how to spin a tale and keep even the most inattentive grandchildren captivated. I have for many years referred to myself as a “memoir junkie,” consuming life after life like a starving drifter. Memoirs are a great way to continue to remind ourselves that life is guaranteed to provide us with struggle, but we are equipped to overcome it. We must endure, explore, and prevail. 

Stephanie's book list on badass people who overcame crazy odds

Stephanie Lincoln Why did Stephanie love this book?

I love this book because I can’t recall the last time I laughed so much while reading. As Leslie would say, “This b*tch is crazy!” Leslie’s wild stories about how she navigated her way into standup comedy made me throw my head back and howl with laughter.

I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed her narration style. She didn’t seem to be reading at all, rather than just following the general topics of the chapters. I don’t think that reading a paper book of Leslie’s story would have been as entertaining. Her magnetic personality shined, and I felt like I was just hanging out with her while she riffed about her life, telling hilarious story after story while I moved about my day.  

By Leslie Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leslie F*cking Jones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2024 AUDIE AWARD FOR HUMOR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A BARNES AND NOBLE'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 
A TOWN & COUNTRY BEST CELEBRITY MEMOIR OF 2023
A VULTURE BEST COMEDY BOOK OF 2023

Hey you guys, it’s Leslie. I’m excited to share my story with you.

Now, I’m gonna be honest: Some of the details might be vague because a b*tch is fifty-five and she’s smoked a ton of weed. But while bits might be a touch hazy, I can promise you the underlying truth is REAL. Whether I’m talking about my childhood growing up…


Book cover of Just as I Am: A Memoir

Irene Smalls Author Of An Affirmation: NiteBabyNite

From my list on being a Black mother.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this topic because I grew up in Harlem, New York under segregation. Black is beautiful is in my DNA. As a former Black student activist, former Black Beauty queen, Miss Black New York State, and one of the first natural hair models in the 1960s this topic is who I am and who I am becoming. When I grew up in the 1950s, Harlem was a community of open hearts and open doors that loved its children. There was also a strong narrative "Black is Beautiful", "Black is Powerful" countering general societal views of Black inferiority. I developed the Positive Affirmation NiteBabyNite picture book series in remembrance of those times. 

Irene's book list on being a Black mother

Irene Smalls Why did Irene love this book?

Was an honor to read. To realize that this great woman had struggles, failures, missteps, and triumphs large and small as the rest of us spoke to her true greatness. She made it look easy. Her lifelong love of Miles Davis despite his many transgressions shows a real woman’s love. She modeled sacrifice and being true to yourself as a mother.

By Cicely Tyson, Michelle Burford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history." -President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony

"Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn…


Book cover of Trouble in Mind

Marc Acito Author Of How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater

From my list on what life in the theatre is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a brainy, bullied Queer theater kid, I was 14 before I ever saw anyone like myself onstage or onscreen. Then—Wham—in June of 1980 I saw A Chorus Line on Broadway and Fame at the movies. But there weren’t any books that showed the theater life as it was actually lived. When I published my love letter to my high school theater friends in 2004, no one had written a novel about our kind. Today, as someone who’s managed to make a living as a writer-director of musicals, I strive to share the whole truth with the young artists I mentor. 

Marc's book list on what life in the theatre is really like

Marc Acito Why did Marc love this book?

Like Hamlet says, “The play’s the thing,” so any reading list for theater people should include the reason we’re here in the first place. Alice Childress’s indictment of the degrading condescension inflicted on Black people in the theater by self-proclaimed white allies is as true today as when she wrote it in 1955. That makes me sad and angry, as does the fact it took 66 years for it to finally be produced on Broadway. But it also gives me hope when high-quality work gets recognized. And as a writer who finds the funny in any situation, I love how Childress serves up bitter pills of truth in spoonfuls of honeyed laughs. 

By Alice Childress,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A masterpiece . . . Trouble in Mind still contains astonishing power; it could have been written yesterday.” —Vulture

Ahead of its time, Trouble in Mind, written in 1955, follows the rehearsal process of an anti-lynching play preparing for its Broadway debut. When Wiletta, a Black actress and veteran of the stage, challenges the play’s stereotypical portrayal of the Black characters, unsettling biases come to the forefront and reveal the ways so-called progressive art can be used to uphold racist attitudes. Scheduled to open on Broadway in 1957, Childress objected to the requested changes in the script that would “sanitize”…