At the end of every interview, I ask interviewees to share their favourite books with me.

Here are their selections.


Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert
– recommended by Michelle Brezinski (actor, writer, producer)

Consciousness Revolution by Isha Judd
“I love it because of the vibration of it. I bought it in Mexico, and it’s stayed with me. It’s the one book that I feel is very enlightened and enlightening. I’ve read a lot of books, but it’s the vibe – the feel – of it that I love. Whenever I feel a little out of touch with myself, I pick that up and I feel pretty back in touch pretty quickly.”
Recommended by Matthew Schmidt

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami
Recommended by Nadia Bozak

Critical Path by Buckminster Fuller
He not just pointing out the problems, but actually offering a thought out comprehensive solution. It’s the kind of book that I would make as required reading for every grade 11 student – but that’s mainly a reflection on how inspiring it was for me.”
– Daniel Deorksen (actor, producer, musician, composer)

The Quantum Doctor by Amit Goswami
“It’s a non-fiction book where a quantum physicist explains how and why various energy healing modalities work. Basically dispels the idea that energy work is just “hippie” stuff and roots it in science. It’s opened my eyes and changed how I see the world and how I think about physical and energetic reality. Energy has far more weight to me than physical matter. Sounds a bit funny but it’s true.”
Justine Warrington (actor, writer, producer)

Spontaneous Evolution by Bruce Lipton & Steve Bhaerman
“It’s described as an invitation to participate in the greatest adventure in human history — conscious evolution! That’s totally my jam.”
– Justine Warrington (actor, writer, producer)

The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dreams by Paulo Coelho
“I have read that book at least once a year for the last 15 years. I have read it in English, Spanish and Italian.”
– Alison Araya (actor, teacher, writer)
– Also recommended by Jeff Todd  (actor, voice over artist, teacher)

The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho
“It’s about struggle and the struggles you go through in your life and how there’s a reason for that.”
– Recommended by Jeff Todd  (actor, voice over artist, teacher)

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Riez
“I apply these principles to the best of my ability in my life” 
– Recommended by Jay Daniel Flett (musician)

The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace by Don Miguel Riez
“He talks about the voice in your head that tells you lies: I’m not good enough, or I’m a shitty singer, or I’m going to fail at this, or that girl won’t like me if I talk to her, or I’m never going to get this job. He teaches you how not to listen to that voice, and how to listen to your own personal truth; following your heart.”
– Recommended by Jay Daniel Flett (musician)

Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals by John Gray
“Brilliant, simple and persuasive portrait of humans individually and as a group.”
– Recommended by Theo Devaney (actor and writer)

Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
— Recommended by Mike Kovac (actor and fight choreographer)

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
– Recommended by Kevan Ohtsji (actor)

One Great Year by Rene DeFazio and Tamara Veitch
— Recommended by Kevan Ohtsji (actor)


Letter’s to a Young Poet by R.M Rilke
Recommended by Nadia Bozak

Chronicles by Bob Dylan
John Pippus (musician)

Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank by Barbara Sinatra
“He was a troubled guy, and I think he could be quite a bastard. Reading his wife’s story about her life with Sinatra… I find that interesting – to know the quirks and stuff.”
John Pippus (musician)

Lynch on Lynch by Chris Rodley (editor)
– Recommended by Andrew Rowe (director, writer)

Scorsese on Scorsese by David Thompson, Ian Christie (editor)
Andrew Rowe (director, writer)

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
“I’ve read it a few times. It always gives me something new each time I do.”
– Recommended by Tom Sutton (Animator)


Intent to Live by Larry Moss
“It’s an amazing book and an incredible tool for an actor, or a human being.”
Jennifer May Copping (actor)

Impro by Keith Johnstone
“It’s about Improv, but it’s also not. It’s about life.”
– Matthew Kowalchuk (director, writer)

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet
“It’s not a ‘technical book.’It’s about the experience of making movies – emotionally, experientially, spiritually.”
Alex Coles (director and producer)
“This really taught me – before I ever made anything or wrote anything – exactly how a movie is made.”
Andrew Rowe (director, writer)

Produced by Faith by DeVon Franklin
“This book is essentially a career help book… but it’s also a spiritual book. It was his manuscript for how he got into the film industry and was able to maintain his religious virtues and morality, and everything he believed in, in an industry that doesn’t necessarily compliment that.”
Alex Coles (director and producer)

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamot
“She’s funny, and irreverent, spiritual and creative. She’s ‘real. ‘And her work is autobiographical. She self-sabotages, and picks herself up, and then learns from her experiences.”
Beverley Elliott (actor, singer, songwriter)
“I try to go back to my favourite passages whenever I’m feeling down and hopeless about writing.”
– Chasity St. Louis (writer)
“Anne Lamott makes you feel like you can be writer because she has all the neuroses, and secret fears and procrastination techniques you do (maybe more) – and she’s a successful, published author. It’s funny and completely useful, which is a great thing for a writing book to be.”
– Shauna Johannesen (actor, writer)

The Second Circle: How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation by Patsy Rodenburg
– Recommended by Sarah Goodman (actor)

The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
– Recommended by Steven Holmes (actor)

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
“The thing in that book that hit me the most was the idea of ‘sorry, I’m a professional and I don’t wait for inspiration to hit. I sit down at 9am and inspiration is hitting.’ That book really helped me to take the preciousness out of creating art. It helped me to think of it as a job.”
– Sonja Bennett (actor, writer)
– also recommended by Jane Hancock (director and actor)


Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
“It’s about risk taking and fearlessness, and it’s sitting there as a dare to me: Look at what this guy did when he just sat down and wrote. He was in the human experience entirely; immersed in it.”
Jolene Kay (actor)

Startide Rising by David Brin
“The novel has talking dolphins, talking chimps, and entirely different species’. David Brin is a scientist who happens to write fiction, so his reverence for the Science behind what he writes is fairly amazing. There’s a whole mess of novels that take place in this universe he’s created. All of them explore his perception of humanity.”
Jolene Kay (actor)

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
“She’s such a repressed and abused person, but inside she’s this incredible butterfly in this hard casing.”
Diana McKenzie (dancer, choreographer, and dance-movement psychotherapist)

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
It’s a heartbreaking story about struggle and hardship but also has immense joy and love.
Erica Tamposi (director, writer)

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Recommended Ross Munro (filmmaker)

2666 by Roberto Bolano
– Recommended Ross Munro (filmmaker)

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
“I read it in high school. It had a big impact on me.”
– Rebekah Asselstine (actor, singer, dancer)

Space Station Seventh Grade by Jerry Spinelli
“I read it 20 years ago and to this day, it still makes me laugh. It is an adorable tell-all from a 7th grader’s point of view. Girls. Football. Hormones. It has it all.”
– Lisa Durupt (actor)

The Brothers K by David James Duncan
“This is one of the few books I’ve read twice and it’s always stayed with me. It’s a story about a flawed, loving family. It’s so funny and so sad and so human that I laughed out loud and I cried so hard I was afraid of the sadness. Duncan mixes hilarious, intelligent humour and deep metaphysical longing at the same time. So, of course, I love it.”
– Shauna Johannesen (actor, writer)

Fuck Yes: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything by Reverend Wing F. Fing
“It’s set in the early 80s and is about a family man who is unhappy with his life, and who discovers for himself a simple truth: That the best answer to every question is Yes.”
Matthew Kowalchuk (director, writer)

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
“I don’t think anyone should go through life without having read this book.”
Matthew Kowalchuk (director, writer)

Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts
“It’s about 3 women who live on a small island off the coast of New England and they are witches. One enjoys it, one hates it, and one who doesn’t even know she’s a witch. They are a cheesy romantic novels but I love them. I have read them all more than once… more than twice.”
Becky Forbes (teacher, actor, artist)

Short Cuts: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver
“It was just incredible writing. It helped me with script writing – seeing how someone could phrase something so unique to themselves, and have it make such an impact.”
– Andrew Rowe (director, writer)

Neuromancer by William Gibson
– Recommended by Alex Coles (director and producer)
“It’s just a fantastic science fiction novel. If you read it, you’ll see how much movies like ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Inception’ are not original ideas.”

Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland
– Recommended by Jeff Todd  (actor, voice over artist, teacher)

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
“It’s about growing up and doing really difficult things under unbelievable amounts of pressure. It’s about believing in yourself and making difficult decisions – coming to terms with decisions you’ve made after you’ve realized their impacts on people”
– Recommended by Jeff Todd  (actor, voice over artist, teacher)

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
“It’s the best revenge story ever told.”
–  Sarah Mae Worden (Writer, Director)
– Also recommended by Broadus Mattison (actor)

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
– Recommended by Broadus Mattison (actor)

Runaway by Alice Munro
“I’m still in awe of Munro’s skill, how she can weave in and out of time between past and present seamlessly and make stories work that theoretically shouldn’t.”
Chasity St. Louis (writer)

Such is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan
“When the priest wakes up at the end for that moment of clarity it just kills me. Completely rips me apart. MC was one of the most honest and kind writers the world has ever seen.”
Ryan Griffith (writer and playwright)

Victory by Joseph Conrad
“Conrad was a massive intellect that really sees people from the ground up. I love this book for its characterisation and atmosphere”
– Theo Devaney (actor and writer)

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
“This one was generally considered his masterpiece”
– Theo Devaney (actor and writer)

John Dies at the End by David Wong
— Recommended by Mike Kovac (actor and fight choreographer)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
— recommended by Jane Hancock (director and actor)

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
“I’ve read Oryx and Crake 6 times”
Leonard Collett (writer, director)

Recommended authors

*Number is how many times they were recommended

Nonfiction Authors

Marcus Aurelius
Pema Chodron
Deepak Chopra
Paulo Coelho (3)
Lena Dunham
John Gray
Herman Hesse
Robert M. Pirsig
Don Miguel Riez
Marianne Williamson

Fiction Authors

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
José Eduardo Agualusa
Hanan al-Shaykh
Isabel Allende (2)
Julia Alvarez
Margaret Atwood (2)
Jane Austen
Charles Bukowski
Orson Scott Card
Morley Callaghan
J.M. Coetzee (2)
Joseph Conrad
Douglas Coupland (2)
Mia Couto
Alexandre Dumas
Jonathan Franzen
Bill Gaston
Graham Hancock
Steven Heighton
Michael Helm
Ernest Hemingway
Ursula K Le Guin
Clarice Lispector
Cormac McCarthy
Lorie Moore
Toni Morrison
Alice Munro
Haruki Murakami (3)
Chuck Palanuik
José Luis Peixoto
Alison Pick
Marie Redonnet
Maria Rilke
Tom Robbin
Carol Shields
Zadie Smith
Miriam Toews
Kurt Vonnegut (3)
Alison Wearing
D.W. Wilson
Tom Wolfe
David Wong
Virginia Woolf
John Wyndham

Authors on Craft

Joseph Campbell (2)
Ivana Chubbuk
Anne Lamot
Larry Moss
Steven Pressfield
Patsy Rodenburg


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