Since making waves for her leading role in the acclaimed 2000 Australian drama The Goddess of 1967, actress Rose Byrne has landed a slew of high-profile Hollywood parts – including memorable turns in the legal thriller series Damages, post-apocalyptic horror 28 Weeks Later, and comedy classic Bridesmaids. She currently stars as a quietly tormented 1980s housewife in the Apple TV+ dramedy Physical.

In a list of her top ten favorite books for NY-based indie One Grand, Byrne shared her love for Anaïs Nin’s captivating diaries, the magical weirdness of Judy Blume, and Raymond Carver’s dark realism. Dive into her reading list below, and complement with the recommendations of other iconic actors.

Rose Byrne’s Reading List

Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

“My first Helen Garner novel, and it had a profound effect on me. Hot, fresh, plain Australian language. I finally read something that felt familiar.” -RB

The Diary of Anaïs Nin: 1931-1934 by Anaïs Nin

“My favorite volume of the publication of her diaries. Her candid and arresting narrative is endlessly enticing, romantic and tragic. She captured my imagination so completely.” -RB

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

“The definitive Australian classic, this is one of my favorite Tim Winton novels: an epic, sprawling and quintessentially antipodean family story.” -RB

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (also rec’d by Kathy Griffin)

“The masterful Anne Tyler again steals away with the most incredible story of a family unraveling and unfolding with the truths of resentments, failures, jealousy and beauty. Such a thing to behold is Anne Tyler at work. Haunting.” -RB

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

“The founding of colonial Australia was finally laid bare to me in this dissertation on the bizarre experiment that would become the beginning of modern white Australia. With its brutality and the endlessly shocking facts, it is a truth stranger than any fiction.” -RB

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 

“The rarest of books about the experience of a science writer uncovering and investigating a cell line that changed the world, all while being thrown into a transformative journey of discovering race and racism in America, the culture of African Americans in the USA, and the painful reality of loss and family. A truly remarkable read—and I failed at science. Fascinating and phenomenal, heartbreaking and utterly compelling.” -RB

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (also rec’d by Stevie Nicks)

“Rhys had the daring idea to give life to the the lady in the attic of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre.’ An erotic, evocative, sumptuous and beautiful voice liberating Antionette.” -RB

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

“Touching the raw, weird and often lonely and terrifying experience of being a teenage girl like no other book I have stumbled across. Quintessential Judy Blume. Magical, moving and iconic.” -RB

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (also rec’d by Cheryl Strayed)

“A landmark work of feminism, which was censored at the time of its release. But more so, it is beautifully written, with an iridescent shimmer—a moving and devastating spiritual tragedy.” -RB

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver (also rec’d by David Sedaris & Lorde)

“I always return to Raymond Carver, his dirty realism, his sparse writing and his ambiguity is a joy to read, to drift away with, finding the dark corners and weird places.” -RB
Categories: Actors