Want to look cooler than shit in the waiting room of a commercial or print audition?
Let me introduce you to the best time killer and most unused tool by bored actors with no lines to rehearse:
I know, it’s crazy. But it never runs out of battery and there is no blue light affecting your eyes. Also, you will be shocked at how many people strike up conversation or make a joke as you are the only one not playing on your phone. *Side note: I don’t talk to anyone in waiting rooms at auditions, I really put up a Bachelor-style, “I’m not here to make friends” kind of front. More on that later.*
My mom is a librarian, so I have a preset to read. I am so glad because it has gotten me off my phone at night, calmed my mind, and in all honestly, taught me so so much. I am a book fanatic. I am in a Book Club, I have an Audible.com subscription, and I carry one with me to all sets all the time. You NEVER know how long you’re going to wait and if you will have a place to charge your phone.
So here are a few of my most recent favorites.
TOTALLY unintentionally these are all nonfiction. Not so unintentional is the title of this post. Some of these books have gotten me through some VERY quiet times (a “lull” lasting anywhere from a month to a YEAR) in my acting career. Not just by killing some free time, but also by teaching me lessons of great people who’s path weren’t always streamlined.
Here they are in no particular order.
The Happiness Project
You have no doubt heard of this book as is was very popular in it’s debut in 2010.
I have read it on and off for the past 5 years (notice the coffee rings and tattered cover). I will pick it up and read a few chapters and not touch it again for a year.
I like to re-read the parts about clearing the clutter, “Spending Out”, and fighting right.
There is also a line that I think of a lot: What’s fun for other people might not be fun for you and vice versa. I know, it’s not exactly Shakespeare but when seen in that context, it is a lot easer for me to comprehend others actions.
It is a great book and you can read it in pieces as I like to do. Always a nice option for when you randomly get busy and can’t read religiously again for weeks.
Health Food Junkies
If you missed it, I personally have experienced Orthorexia before I even knew it existed. This book really brought into perspective what this is, how it is treated, and in a non-clinical non-lecture-y way.
Steven Bratman (the author) was himself a raw vegan for a long period of time and his personal journey made up a great deal of the book.
He discusses his interactions with patients and how often (especially with diet-based symptoms and “cures”) people tend to see what they want to see…the placebo effect in full swing….maybe this reminds you of that friend who was all of a sudden allergic to gluten in 2015. Buy her a copy.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck
This book is everything you think the title is.
Mark Manson is a famous blogger/podcaster but before he was anything he was pretty much a big loser. His words, not mine.
His interpretation of entitlement is a game changer for me, for myself and those around me. I guarantee it will make you realize that entitlement is ALL around you, even in those friends who have nothing going for them. You know the Negative Nancy’s I’m talking about (I do have one friend named Nancy and this is 100% not her, just sayin, in case she reads this).
And he has a full chapter called “Don’t Try” which if you are in the hustle world of acting where every room you walk into you want nothing more than to be wanted…this is some mental mouth wash.
Everyone you know who is a writer (or an aspiring writer/producer/actor waiter) has told you this book changed their life.
Well, this book did not change my life.
What is did was give me a big pat on the back the I was doing a-okay.
Elizabeth Gilbert stays in her well articulated lane (appreciated) and centers all her ideas and example stories around writing, however they all lend to any creative endeavor.
Her chapters on NOT asking your art to finance your life are 100% key reading for anyone in this industry (and also the key component on why I will never walk into a room thirsty for a paycheck). And her tear-down of the “tortured artist” idealized stereotype brings happy tears to my coconut oil slathered eyes.
Tools of Titans
If you know Tim Ferris then we are already on the same page.
This health/fitness/life hacking guru famous for his 4 Hour Work Week started a podcast a few years ago. And this book is basically an easy index compilation of all the interviews thus far.
It is broken up to a few pages per person and has very cute sketches of a few people’s spirit animals which give me a giggle (especially the guy who picked a Gummy Bear).
From morning routines, to fitness tips, to how the titans of Silicon Valley manage their money, he makes them relatable in a sound-bite kind of way.
I am nowhere near finishing this book, but I read a passage or two often. It is meant to read like a reference, read what you life, skip what you don’t, absorb what you can. Fair warning: it’s the size of a dictionary. But way more useful in 2017.
If you read any of these I would love your feedback! Also book recommendations are much appreciated. I will consider doing a fiction-leaning post next time…maybe.