Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, ThoroughlyReviewed.

Is your summer packed to the max? Slow down, find a cozy corner and read a book. Studies say that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress by 68 per cent.

What’s hot and happening on the literary scene? Take a look at these titles, which have a health, aging or wellness slant.

*You’re On An Airplane (Parker Posey). In her first book, the talented actor/comedian Parker Posey (brilliant in the mockumentary Best in Show as an obsessed dog lover) gets candid about the art of acting, the importance of embracing her creativity, the realities of being a celebrity and all it entails for better or worse, plus how she has embraces meditation in an attempt to cope with the pressures of Hollywood.

 

 

*Robin (David Itzkoff). The Robin in this case is Robin Williams, a gifted actor and comedian who left us too soon because of his struggles with mental illness and alcoholism. The author goes beyond the headlines and delves into who Williams was as a man. He battled with fame and the crushing expectations that came with it. Through interviews with colleagues and friends, Itzkoff paints a bittersweet picture of a star who at his core was in deep despair.

*Am I Ugly? One Woman’s Journey to Body Positivity (Michelle Elman). This personal memoir chronicles the author’s long-time battle with her appearance, from the 15 surgeries that left her scarred to life-threatening health issues she experienced as a child. Elman is unflinchingly honest as she deals with her body-confidence issues and emerges a stronger, more confident woman. There’s plenty of powerful, take-away messages for anyone who has not felt comfortable with what they see in the mirror.

 

*There are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story (Pamela Druckerman). The best-selling author and New York Times contributor takes aim at what “middle age” really means in this humorous memoir. She takes a philosophical look at what she’s learned about life so far and realizes she knows little. From chin hair to cellulite, Druckerman examines the gifts and challenges that come with age.

*Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains (Helen Thomson). The award-winning science writer has discovered an important truth: Our brains are stranger than we think. She travelled the world in search of rare brain disorders. What she found makes for riveting storytelling, including the man who thinks he is a tiger and a doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them.

 

*Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (Matthew Walker). As a neuroscientist, sleep expert and director of UC Berkeley’s Center For Human Sleep Science, this author has incredible street cred. He talks in detail about how sleep is essential for good overall health, from fine-tuning metabolism, bolstering our immune system, regulates hormones and mood, plus helps prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. He turns this information into actionable steps on how to get a better night’s sleep.

 

*Formerly Known as Food: How the Industrial Food System Is Changing Our Minds, Bodies, and Culture (Kristin Lawless). One thing is certain. After reading this book, you won’t ever look at food the same way. In this exquisite piece of journalism, Lawless exposes how big food industries are using health-risking practices in the name of profit and expedience with the help of extensive interviews from food scientists and business insiders. She also offers smart advice on what to eat and how to navigate your way through a multitude of food choices.