Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 05:36 pm
Having a famous name as an author – unless famous through being an author – is as repelling to some people as it is enticing to others. While some will enjoy the fact that they already recognize the writer through another line of work, and will, therefore, be intrigued to see what they can bring to the literary world, others will instantly assume that the book will be second-rate as it is not the author’s main calling. The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in the middle ground, but what is for certain is that down the years there have been plenty of autobiographies, self-help books and novels penned by well-known individuals from other fields which have truly entertained, inspired and touched their audience. Here are ten such cases.
It's So Easy (and other lies): The Autobiography – Duff McKagan
Duff McKagan is best known for being part of one of the most successful, and notorious, rock bands of all time: Guns N Roses. His autobiography is full of the tales of excess that you would expect from rock and roll shenanigans in the 1980s, and McKagan wasn’t nicknamed The King of Beers for anything. However, managing to swerve clear of cliché, and offering an honest perspective on his boozing, including all the major health impacts that resulted, this is a read which will give you your fill of rockstar decadence, but combine it with something a little more self-realizing. You’ll want to share it with friends, that’s for sure.
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham
This is a collection of essays from Brit Lena Dunham, who was almost single-handedly responsible for the HBO series ‘Girls’ (she wrote, directed and starred in the series). Anyone who is a fan of the show will recognize Dunham’s capacity for witty observation, and this collection of essays further reveals the award-winners ability to not only laugh at herself but identify the peculiarities and vagaries of a woman’s life, all the while doling out the kind of advice which will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Bouncing Back – Joan Rivers
Rivers’ razor-sharp wit will be a familiar sight to generations of fans, but if you have never seen her cutting stand-up routines, or countless appearances on a guest show down the years, then you will be instantly hooked by her self-deprecating and often-outrageous commentary of life. In particular, this book covers the comedian’s personal tragedies, including her husband’s suicide, in a way that is equally hysterical and moving. Laughing at the darker moments in life has been Rivers’ USP, and this book is a testament to that strength of character, and hilarity of a unique talent.
Not My Father's Son: A Family Memoir - Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming will be familiar to TV and movie audiences as the star of a procession of critically-acclaimed hits, playing a plethora of different roles but always in a way that true to his unique talents. In this memoir, Cumming reveals the troubled past which helped propel his career, but which has never remained too far from the surface. At times this is a conventional autobiography, but then there are moments of mystery and inspiration to avoid pigeon-holing into any one category. An inspiring read by anyone’s standards.
The Gun Seller – Hugh Laurie
This is a novel penned by the recognizable star of the TV series House. A thriller spoof, the plot, and dialogue betray Laurie’s past as a comedian of some standing, even if his role in House was played rather more straight. An assassin finds himself in a number of predicaments that result in bursts of laughter for the entertained reader, this is a novel deserving of attention on its own merits, rather than just who the author is.
Just Kids – Patti Smith
The critically-acclaimed musician reveals her ability as an artistic all-rounder with this beautifully crafted memoir of her romance with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe back in 1970s New York. As revealing of the scene the narrative is set in as much as the relationships that are laid bare, this is an engaging read which is a hymn to the sights and sounds of a long-gone era.
Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone – Bo Burnham
The sartorial comedy of a young Burnham was delivered to the masses through his YouTube videos which were able to entertain and pass comments in equal measure. This book is a collection of songs, poems, and observations by the young talent who is now recognized as being one of the leading voices of a generation. A must-read for fans and those new to the precocious abilities of this star of a social-media-obsessed society
Bossypants – Tina Fey
The Saturday Night Live star has is used to bringing down the house with her unique comedy style, and this book will not disappoint in reaching out through the more one-to-one channel of a beautifully-crafted autobiography and collection of stories.
“Quite simply hilarious: Whether you have seen Fey in 30 Rock, Mean Girls or any one of her collection of hits or pant-wetting appearances on SNL, you will not fail to laugh at this comedian’s ability to draw hilarity from the most mundane of situations,” says Shane Tobias, a writer at Essay Service and Essayroo.
By Myself – Lauren Bacall
Bacall is one of the most iconic movie stars of all time, but she also wrote one of the first truly insightful and readable Hollywood memoirs. Opening up on her career in Hollywood and her relationship with Humphrey Bogart, this effort won the National Book Award a year after its release in 1979.
Decoded – Jay-Z
The rapper and MC delivers a part-autobiography, part-lyrical analysis is this uniquely structured book that is both revealing and entertaining it its own right. The shrewd operator behind the most successful enterprises in global music is in full display here, and it is an authentic voice that is worth listening to, as ever.
Chloe Bennet is an entertainment writer at the State Of Writing and Best dissertation writing services UK websites. She writes about the lifestyle and fashion of famous people. Also, Chloe is a book reviewer at the Paper Fellows portal.