Celeb Lit

Celebrities Now are the Stars of Literature
Celebrity Books: Who’s Next and Why We Buy

By Nick Krimp

The public seems obsessed with celebrities, and those entering the celebrity books arena endear themselves to fans even more. Film, music, television and sports stars who publish books show us everything from how to copy their hairstyles and fashion choices to how to become better parents and teach our children. There are even books by celebrities who tell us how to manage a boyfriend, or how to cook for one once trapped. As if the beloved superstars are known to date singularly and stay married forever.

Still, we follow the every move of our stars, often discussing what celebrity authors disclose in their books as if they’re our dearest friends. We embrace stars as though they’re a real part of our daily lives. It all begs this question: Why?
It’s only natural that we’d get pulled into their well-publicized dramas. Pop culture stars summon our most human yearnings: to love, admire gossip and immolate.

It’s difficult to accurately define, but it’s their charisma that attracts the audience to their lives, both public and private. Charisma refers to a seemingly “supernatural” or uncanny ability to charm, lead, influence, inspire, and/or persuade others. This particularly refers to a quality in some who easily can attract the attention and admiration ”“ or even hatred ”“ of others through a “magnetic” personality or appearance.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. It’s possible to derive value from a celebrity’s life and knowledge beyond the acting or singing for which they’re best known. Many actually deserve praise as book authors, too.
A number of superstars have valiantly written biographies, novels, or children’s books. In fact, many books by celebrity authors are quite good.

What follows isn’t a list of self-serving autobiographies written by ghostwriters. All of the books on this list actually were written by the celebrity credited. You’ll be surprised by who’s now an accomplished children’s author, cook book author or novelist. A few of them have even published self-help tomes.

* Jane Fonda, the screen legend and member of one of Hollywood’s most famous families seeks wisdom and meaning after 60 in My Life So Far.
* Kim Cattrall, author of self-help books such as Sexual Intelligence and Being a Girl.
* Dolly Parton, author of various cookbooks, an autobiography, and the children’s story Coat of Many Colors.
* Pamela Anderson, author of the popular chick lit novel Star.
* Jay Leno, author of the children’s story If Roast Beef Could Fly, plus co-author of books about motorcycles and cars.
* Madonna, author of various books including Yakov and the Seven Thieves and The English Rose.
* Billy Crystal, children’s book author of Grandpa’s Little One and I Already Know I Love You.
* Katie Couric, author of various stories for children such as The Blue Ribbon Day and Brand New Kid.
* Whoopi Goldberg, author of Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners, Alice and other books.
* Woody Allen, author of several tomes including two humorous short story collections: Mere Anarchy and The Insanity Defense.
* Bette Midler, author of The Saga of Baby Divine.
* Bill Cosby, author of the young readers book series Little Bill and many other humor books.
* Jane Seymour, author of the self-help Jane Seymour’s Guide to Romantic Living and also the interior design book Making Yourself at Home: Finding Your Creativity and Putting it All Together.
* Alan Alda, author of the second chance look at life, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.
* Jerry Garcia, author of the children’s books There Ain’t No Bugs on Me and The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and others.
* Felicity Huffman, self-help author of A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend.

Some critics question about the quality of books by celebrity authors, contending their being published is only due to their celebrity, not their writing talent. Another common criticism is that such books prevents other, more deserving writers from being published, since there’s only so much money from book publishers, online bookstores, and retail outlets to go around.
Yet, the trend of big celebrity book publishing continues. Throughout 2008, look for memoirs, biographies, cookbooks, and more from these highly-anticipated celebrity authors:

* Christopher Andersen, Somewhere in Heaven: The Remarkable Love Story of Dana and Christopher Reeve (due in July).
* Rev. Run and Justine Simmons, Take Back Your Family (due in August)
* Michael J. Fox, Always Looking Up: Meditations on Optimism (due in September)
* David Letterman, The Late Show Fun Facts (due in September)
* Diahann Carroll, The Legs are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I’ve Learned Along the Way (due in September)
* Jenny McCarthy, Mother Warriors (due in September)
* Judge Greg Mathis, Inner City Miracle (due in September)
* Perez Hilton, Red Carpet Suicide: A Survival Guide to Keeping Up with the Hiltons (due in October)
* Ty Pennington, Good Design Can Change Your Life (due in September)
* Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Estefan Kitchen (due in October)
* Ted Turner, Call Me Ted (due in November)
* Stefan Kanfer, Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando (due in November)
* Sir Roger Moore, My Word is My Bond (due in November)
* Kanye West, Through the Wire: Lyrics and Illuminations (due in November)
* Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio (due in November)
* Paul Simon, Paul Simon Lyrics 1964-2006 (due in November)
* Magic Johnson, Magic Moves (due in December)

Nick Krimp owns the online bookstore Best Book Publish, which carries a mix of popular ebooks and traditional books, many of them by celebrity authors. Best Book Publish specializes in works by undiscovered authors and emerging authors through Print on Demand (POD), making it possible for fresh talent to gain wide exposure. Works published by Best Book Publish are available to consumers as well as 25,000 online booksellers including Amazon.

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