It feels as if every celebrity has a book out these days; as if it is some kind of necessary assignment in Hollywood. Most of them follow the same formula – make ordinary people think we are normal too, which is often complete crap.
More often than not though, these anecdotes are superficial, and they always have some sort of cheesy title, usually complete with even cheesier puns. But one out of every (about) fifty celebrity books is an out of the park, awesome book; one that every person should actually read. But, like I said, those are quite rare. That said, these are the fifteen that I believe not only don’t suck, but should be sitting proudly on your bookshelf (if it isn’t already).
15. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star – Judy Greer
A lot of the people on this list are one hundred percent A-list actors, and you know them by name, and a couple of movies or shows they have been in. But Judy Greer is different. You probably know her face, but maybe you can’t pick what movie you know her from, maybe you know the movie but not her name. To be honest she has been in a lot, but always the best friend – never the lead. I picked this book because it isn’t about being in the limelight – it’s about being limelight adjacent, which is a totally different take on the celebrity memoir. Personally, I think that is much more fascinating than hearing about how hard it must be to have paparazzi all over you, and fans trying to get your autograph. I want to know about what it’s like to be famous, but not a household name.
14. Shopgirl – Steve Martin
Unlike most of the books on this list, this isn’t nonfiction; it’s fiction (for those of you who forgot high school English, fiction means fake). This story follows Mirabelle Buttersfield, who sells high-end gloves in Beverly Hills, who is dealing with the mishaps of love along the way. I’m not going to lie; I put this on this list because I am intrigued. Not too many celebrities write fiction, mostly because so many people want to read about their lives, and they are pressured by their “people” to write a memoir. The premise of this book is interesting, and not a total cliché – which to me is a major draw. Also, Steve Martin is a comedy legend, so even if this isn’t the best book of all time, I highly doubt it will suck. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so far, and to be honest, I’m pretty excited to give it a try.
13. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
Have you seen her Twitter feed? If you haven’t, you need to ASAFP. At first, you think she has just had funny roles, but then you read her Tweets, and you realize that she is that funny IRL. Reading this book will make you realize even more that this is a person you could grab a beer with, and talk shit about everyone else in the room. Here’s what Anna Kendrick has to say about the book:
“I’m excited to publish my first book, and because I get uncomfortable when people have high expectations, I’d like to use this opportunity to showcase my ineptitude, pettiness, and the frequency with which I embarrass myself. And while many of my female inspirations who have become authors are incredibly well-educated and accomplished comedy writers, I’m very, very funny on Twitter, according to Buzzfeed and my mom, so I feel like this is a great idea. Quick question: are run-on sentences still frowned upon? Wait, is ending a sentence with a preposition still frowned upon? I mean, upon frowned? Dammit!”
12. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person – Shonda Rhimes
What I like about this is that it isn’t about her day-to-day life or her unexpected life as a show runner. It’s about a challenge her sister gave her, how she stuck it through, and how it changed her life. This is more than just a self-help book, more than just a cliché celebrity memoir. And, if we can be honest with one another, which I feel as though we can, I trust Shonda Rhimes. She has three of the most popular television programs EVER under her belt – how do you not trust that? Even if you aren’t a fan of her shows (I get that Greys can take a toll on your emotions) you still have to give her credit for all of her success and wonder how she attained it. Saying yes to everything for an entire year seems hard, but it also seems extremely rewarding. I’m just saying I think we can all learn a little something from her.
11. Why not Me? – Mindy Kaling
In this memoir we get the same style of essays, but Why Not Me? focuses on Kaling today, not her childhood like in her previous book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? We already know we like her, but now we are seeing how she is succeeding in Hollywood, and she holds nothing back. She doesn’t pretend that she leads a normal life; she doesn’t say I’m just like you when she really isn’t – we see her hustling and her anxieties. Her writing style is matter-of-fact, it’s as close to Mindy that we can get unless we actually try and follow her around Hollywood, but I am pretty sure that’s not only frowned upon but illegal as well. So for now, maybe just stick to the memoir, and who knows, maybe it’ll help you with some professional and personal turning points in your life as well as entertain you.
10. Diary of a Mad Diva – Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers’ style of comedy is not for everyone, especially those easily offended, or the faint of heart – to those people, I say maybe skip over this suggestion. But for those of you who love wickedness, and brutal honesty – you’ll love this. It’s an actual day-to-day account of Rivers’ life; while she meets different celebrities, her work life, her daughter, family vacations, and her thoughts about anything and everything in between. As she was in her career, she holds nothing back in this book. If you loved the late celeb, this is a great read. Even if you didn’t, and you just want to laugh, this is absolutely the book to reach for. I suggest reading it during red carpet season, even if she isn’t there to comment on what all the celebrities are wearing, you’ll have her voice in your head as you’re watching, and find yourself laughing.
9. My Story – Marilyn Monroe
There’s just something about Marilyn Monroe that we are so intrigued with, even now 54 years after her death. There are people who are super fans, who want to live their lives exactly as she lived, people who had posters of her in their dorm rooms, and used her quotes religiously. And then there are people like me, who aren’t obsessed, yet are still so interested in the life she led. I think I feel this interest because she was such a mystery. People have a lot of opinions about Monroe, but we don’t hear many facts, we don’t hear much from her own mouth. That’s why this book is important. With so much speculation about the massive star, the facts get blurred. Personally, I trust a memoir over a biopic any day. So if you want to know the truth or at least a more accurate portrayal of the truth, this book will not do you wrong. And even if she does hold some stuff back, there is no way this won’t be a page turner.
8. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography – Neil Patrick Harris
Who doesn’t love Neil Patrick Harris? That’s a rhetorical question, because honestly if you don’t love him, I absolutely do not want to hear about it. He is easily in my top ten favorite celebrities and, of course, I want to know more about his life, and his partner and kids. From his early starts as Doogie Howser M.D., to Starship Troopers, to his nine-year stint as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, we see it all – if we choose correctly. But this autobiography isn’t an ordinary tell-all – it’s a choose your own adventure, much like the popular books from the 90’s. A form, which is, entirely different from any other autobiography I have ever seen. I love this format for an autobiography; I think it gives something unique to the memoir that makes it stand out from others. Even if his life isn’t exciting (which I highly doubt), the form will keep you entertained.
7. The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year – Andy Cohen
Don’t read this if you are expecting it to be some profound, life-altering book. As it says in the title – it is shallow. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting, funny, and entertaining as hell. And to be honest, not every book you pick up has to be life changing; sometimes you just want to be entertained for a bit, forget about your own troubles and all the terrible things in the world – and that’s okay. Even if you don’t swear by Bravo, or even know who Andy Cohen is, this is still interesting, I swear. In his second book, Andy takes us day by day for one year of his life, and we see his everyday encounters with celebrities, Real Housewives, his mom, and finding the love of a dog. Each day holds new types of issues for Cohen to deal with, and he holds nothing back while telling us all about it.
6. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
I love Anthony Bourdain. This love started with No Reservations, and has moved from every show, every book, basically, everything he does. And the thing is, he doesn’t give a single sh*t if people like what he does – and that’s all the more reason to love him. For me it isn’t so much about what he is writing about, to be honest, he could write about paint drying on a fence, and I would still think it’s fascinating because the man could make that into the most interesting thing in the world. His tone is clear, and I am not lying when I say that the books reads as if he is telling you it himself, as he sits next to you at the bar, smoking a cigarette because he doesn’t give a sh*t if he is allowed to smoke in there or not. If you like food, if you like hearing juicy stories, if you like to laugh – this book is for you.
5. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
I don’t know if this is for everyone. There are some people that aren’t fans of Lena Dunham, to which I ask, “How?” Really, I don’t know how anyone isn’t a fan of hers at this point. I was a fan before I read this, loving every episode of Girls, and when I finished, I loved her all that much more. Her essays are humorous, and she isn’t afraid to tell the stories that some would consider embarrassing. Seriously, some of the stories she reveals could be mortifying, but I respect the hell out of her for not holding anything back, and not being afraid to tell the truth. These essays remind me of how messy growing up is, how ridiculous our college experiences are, and that there are some stories that only the bravest will tell, and they do this so that the rest of us don’t feel so alone with our own embarrassing stories.
4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling
I know, I know, Mindy Kaling has already been mentioned on this list, but you know what? I don’t care. I choose this because it shows you just where Kaling has come from, and how far she has gone. Each essay shows a small window into her life, and each one is funny as hell. Also, Mindy got her start as a writer for The Office, so of course, she is going to have a well-written book. This book is what started my love for Mindy, and after reading this, I just wanted to be her best friend, and gossip about other celebrities, and eat fast food, and watch old episodes of SNL. Beyond just showing you her life, it shows what it takes to take your passion and make your dreams become your reality. So yeah, it can be an inspiring read, if that is something you completely need in your life.
3. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
I think what I love about this book, is that she doesn’t sugarcoat her life for you. She doesn’t say how easy it is to write a godforsaken book (which FYI, is f**king hard). She doesn’t pretend that her divorce from Will Arnett was a piece of cake. She doesn’t say she never struggled to get to where she is today. And, of course, it’s hilarious and reminds you that no one has their lives together in their twenties – which is always important. Each essay shows us something about Amy that we didn’t know before – from her childhood, to Chicago in Second City, to Saturday Night Live, Parks and Rec, her children, and even her divorce. And yes, I love Amy Poehler, I will be the first to admit that. So this book could have been total sh*t, and I still would have read it – but it wasn’t sh*t, and I really do consider this a must read for most people.
2. Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
This is unlike any other book on this list. When I picked it up, I was expecting a cheeky memoir about his childhood, as an Indian boy in South Carolina, and what it was like to attain fame as a comedian. Instead, I read a sociological study on the way we love in the digital age, with hilarious commentary from Aziz. Not only is this book fascinating, it is just as funny as I wanted it to be. It’s an essential read for single people, for people in relationships, for older people who have no idea what the Tinder is – basically for everyone. The reason it is so important is because dating has changed drastically in the past couple of years. Seeing how it has changed, getting the perspective of an older generation and how they choose their partners, and how today we don’t even talk to people unless they are on our screens. If you want to understand how we date now, if you want to see how it changed, and if you want it delivered to you with a side of comedy – this is for you.
1. Bossypants – Tina Fey
I know, I know. Bossypants is at the top of every list, for both celebrity memoirs and books you should read in your twenties. Guess what – I don’t care. I would be remiss if I didn’t add this book to the top of the list. Not only did Tina Fey come from humble beginnings, but she takes us along on a tour of every awkward stage in her life. While reading you will feel as if you are there with her at Second City in Chicago, interviewing awkwardly with Lorne Michaels, playing Sarah Palin, and even in the writers’ room for 30 Rock. Her voice is clear in this book, and it feels as if she is sitting across the table from you, at a diner, casually eating fries, while catching you up on the embarrassing stories of her past. If you don’t pick this up, you’re not living your best life.