Known for her magnetic presence and precise performances, Viola Davis has spent thirty years honing her craft on stage and on screen to become one of the most critically revered actors working today. Bringing power and poignancy to a slew of substantive roles has earned her an Oscar, an Emmy and two Tonys – making her the first and only African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.

Born into a poverty-stricken family in Rhode Island, Davis fought to overcome her upbringing – earning scholarships and ultimately attending the prestigious Juilliard School of Acting in New York. After years of distancing herself from her past, she made the life-changing decision to stop running and embrace her history. In the process of penning her 2022 memoir Finding Me, Davis notes:

“My eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.”

Sharing five of her favorite books for fostering self-acceptance with Oprah Daily, Davis recommended work to carry readers through soulful journeys of redemption, empathy and love. From vulnerability researcher Brené Brown to literary activist Alice Walker, dive into her reading list below. Complement with the life-giving bookshelves of Oprah Winfrey, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Glennon Doyle.

Viola Davis’ Reading List

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (also rec’d by Anita HillChimamanda AdichieEmma WatsonGabrielle UnionGlennon DoyleGloria SteinemHillary ClintonJane Elliott & Janet Mock)

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (also rec’d by Reese Witherspoon)

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (also rec’d by Bruce Lee, Jim Morrison & Ray Dalio)

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (also rec’d by Carlos Santana & Oprah Winfrey)

(via Oprah Daily)

Categories: Actors