Mayim Bialik, a multifaceted talent known for her roles on the hit TV shows Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, is a true Renaissance woman. In addition to her successful acting career, Bialik is also a trained neuroscientist, author, and advocate for animal liberation. She currently helms Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown, a podcast exploring mental health and wellness issues, and serves as a permanent rotating host of Jeopardy!, alongside Ken Jennings.

Born in San Diego in 1975, Bialik began her acting career at the age of 12, when she landed a guest role on the classic ’80s sitcom Webster. But it was her portrayal of the title character on Blossom in the early ’90s that made her a household name. After taking a hiatus from acting to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, Bialik returned to the spotlight in 2010 with a starring role on The Big Bang Theory. Her portrayal of the brilliant but awkward Amy Farrah Fowler was a fan favorite, and earned her four Emmy nominations.

Outside of her acting and academic studies, Bialik’s also authored several books on parenting, veganism, and adolescence. 2012’s Beyond the Sling offers a personal account of her experiences as a mother and advocate of attachment parenting, while 2014’s Mayim’s Vegan Table shares her passion for veganism and provides readers with a wealth of delicious and nutritious plant-based recipes. 2017’s Girling Up and 2018’s Boying Up offer tweens and teens a guide to growing up, both biologically and psychologically.

Sharing six of her all-time favorite books with The Week, Bialik recommended work exploring resilience, redemption, intimacy, and animal rights. From Yann Martel to Jonathan Safran Foer, check out her bookshelf below.

Mayim Bialik’s Reading List

Warrior by Theresa Larson

“Larson was a Marine commander in Afghanistan who managed hundreds of troops in the most critical, life-threatening situations. But her greatest battle was with bulimia, a condition that forced her to fight to be released from service so she could confront and defeat it. Her story of resilience, bravery, and acceptance inspires me.” -MB

Out of the Depths by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau

“Of all of the stories that emerged from the Holocaust, this memoir by one of the youngest survivors of Buchenwald — Lau was 8 at the time of liberation — is one of the most unbelievable, miraculous, and heart-wrenching that you could read.” -MB

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

“While Martel is best known for The Life of Pi, this novel is a rollercoaster of faith, animal rights, humor, and redemption. I consider it one of the finest books I have ever read.” -MB

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

“This is a book that you cannot look away from. Foer, an accomplished novelist himself, shares the discoveries he made while researching the farming and manufacture of meat as his wife prepared to give birth to their first child. What he discovers shakes him to his core, and many of us have followed where that led him. This book was the last I read before completely committing to a plant-based lifestyle.” -MB

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer (also rec’d by Alanis Morissette, Oprah Winfrey & Russell Brand)

“Here is the book that changed my life forever. A series of philosophical lectures, it is incredibly direct and not at all flowery. Singer takes you deep into a consciousness of your purpose here and raises you up to be more than you knew you could be. This is one of my desert-island books.” -MB

Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller

“Without going into too much detail, I read this book after a bad breakup. Written by a neuroscientist and a psychologist, it shifted my understanding of my own needs as well as of the pitfalls of seeking love and validation from others. It is a powerful book for lay people who are looking for an evidence-based explanation for why they might be making the wrong choices in love — and advice on how to get it right.” -MB

(via The Week)

Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Mayim Bialik’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop profile.

Categories: Actors Scientists