The best celebrity books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about celebrities and why they recommend each book.

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On Gratitude

By Todd Aaron Jensen,

Book cover of On Gratitude

This is a star-filled book where each celebrity shares what they are most thankful for. Among others, you can find stories by Alicia Keys, Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow, B.B. King, Francis Ford Coppola, Dave Grohl, Stan Lee, Forest Whitaker, Ringo Star, and many many more. I have found this reading very profound as you can see the humble side of these celebrities and how they are thankful for all the gifts they received along the way. Every story is different and some are really intriguing but the common point is they do not forget to be grateful and that is the main message they leave in the heart of readers.


Who am I?

My journey of being an author has been a magical ride. I wrote my first book at 47 when nobody gave me credit about becoming a real author and later I left my good job to fulfill this dream and changed my life completely with a bit of thoughtlessness behavior, I must admit now if I look back. But it has been worthwhile. I wrote books on gratitude, forgiveness and love but my most famous book is The Power and Magic of Gratitude that became a bestseller in Italy. Since then I have been known for spreading the powerful message of Gratitude with countless meeting, conferences and events.


I wrote...

The Power and Magic of Gratitude: Expand the vibration of your life and put wings to your journey

By Ivan Nossa,

Book cover of The Power and Magic of Gratitude: Expand the vibration of your life and put wings to your journey

What is my book about?

This book has been a bestseller in Italy where thousands of people have loved its simple but strong message and have learned to walk in life with this precious friend called gratitude. Ivan, once an entrepreneur, now dedicates his time to spread messages of gratitude, forgiveness, and love. He learned about gratitude when he was very little thanks to a genius idea his adoptive mother had. Back then he learned how to transform suffering into life gifts and see the magic in everyday life.

The author takes you through a fantastic journey, with a few obstacles but many gifts. Thanks to this book you will discover a miraculous higher energy vibration, the vibration of gratitude. If you let gratitude into your life you will soon witness how powerful it is. You will open your eyes to see the gifts in your daily life and your heart will open to receive them happily. Gratitude can transform your life forever, give it a chance.

Love in Infant Monkeys

By Lydia Millet,

Book cover of Love in Infant Monkeys: Stories

Each of the mostly very short stories in this collection features at least one animal and at least one real person—from Madonna to Thomas Edison and from David Hasselhoff’s dogwalker to Nicola Tesla. It’s funny, sad, and textured, uniting my interest in scientists with my love of animals. Often funny and often sad, each story is a gem of craft, sentence by sentence. As a writer, I admire the audacity of the project and the exuberant skill with which is carried out. This is not a book I could write, and I love it for showing me such a radically different approach to lying to tell the truth.


Who am I?

Three of my five novels have largely tragic historical settings—the siege of Leningrad, the Great Flood of 1927, and Hurricane Katrina—and I’ve always been fascinated and awed by how people survive the things they do. The origin of “May you live in interesting times” is disputed, but undoubtedly it's more curse than blessing. I’m also just fascinated by the way writers bring real people and events to life in new ways. As the daughter of scientists, I’m often drawn to works of fiction that feature scientists, real or invented. 


I wrote...

Hunger

By Elise Blackwell,

Book cover of Hunger

What is my book about?

Scouring the world, a scientist has spent his life collecting rare seeds for his country’s premier botanical institute. Even at home with the wife he loves, he remembers the beautiful women and strange foods he has tasted from Afghanistan to Abyssinia. When German troops surround Leningrad in 1941, food supplies dwindle and residents eat bark, barter pianos for flour, and trade sex for food. In the darkest hours of the siege, the institute’s scientists make a pact to leave untouched the storehouse of seeds they believe is the country’s future. But such a promise becomes difficult to keep as the siege continues. Based on true events, Hunger is the story of a man wrestling with his own morality and learning what it means to survive.

Where Are They Buried? How Did They Die?

By Tod Benoit,

Book cover of Where Are They Buried? How Did They Die?

Any collection of famous people’s gravesites is going to be idiosyncratic. Ask 10 people whose graves they would like to visit and you will get 100 different answers. That said, this is the most entertaining and reasonably comprehensive encyclopedia of the graves of the famous that you will find outside of Find-a-Grave. I’ve gotten hours of fun from it.

Since it contains very few grave monument photographs, Where Are They Buried? includes a whole lot of people whose ashes have been scattered. I would have loved to leave a rose at the grave of John Lennon, but the Strawberry Fields mosaic in Central Park will have to do.


Who am I?

I grew up down the road from the little graveyard where my grandfather was buried. By accident, I discovered the glorious Victorian-era Highgate Cemetery in 1991. A friend sent me to explore Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery – and I was hooked. I’ve gone from stopping by cemeteries when I travel to building vacations around cemeteries I want to see. I’ve gone out of my way to visit cemeteries in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Japan, Spain, Singapore, and across the United States. At the moment, I’m editing Death’s Garden Revisited, in which 40 contributors answer the question: “Why is it important to visit cemeteries?”


I wrote...

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

By Loren Rhoads,

Book cover of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

What is my book about?

Over 3 million tourists flock to Paris's Pere Lachaise Cemetery each year. They are lured there, and to many cemeteries around the world, by a combination of natural beauty, ornate tombstones, notable residents, vivid history, and even wildlife. Many also visit Mount Koya cemetery in Japan, where 10,000 lanterns illuminate the forest setting, or Oaxaca, Mexico to witness the Day of the Dead. 

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die features these unforgettable cemeteries, along with 196 more, in more than 300 photographs. In this bucket list of travel musts, author Loren Rhoads, who hosts the popular Cemetery Travel blog, details the history and features that make each destination unique.

Those Who Write for Immortality

By H.J. Jackson,

Book cover of Those Who Write for Immortality: Romantic Reputations and the Dream of Lasting Fame

Those Who Write for Immortality is, simply put, a remarkable book. It’s an in-depth study of British writers whose work was written with the goal of surviving what Horace called “the teeth of time.” It confronts the literary careers of authors who managed to be remembered after their deaths to the failed attempts of gifted, but ultimately unsuccessful rivals. This study illuminates both the romantic period and the quest for literary fame in our own time. A must-read for anyone interested in Austen, Keats, Blake, and Lord Biron, it is also indispensable for readers willing to explore the theoretical issues associated with the goal of writing for those who are yet to be born, people whose values and aesthetic preferences might very well become completely different from our own.


Who am I?

I grew up in Bordeaux, a city that became prominent during the eighteenth century. My hometown inspired my love of eighteenth-century French studies, which led me to the Sorbonne, then to Yale University where I earned a PhD. Today, I am an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University. I am the author of eight novels and monographs published in France and the US, including American Pandemonium, Posthumous America, and Sentinel Island. My work explores numerous genres to question a number of recurring themes: exile and the representation of otherness; nostalgia and the experience of bereavement; the social impact of new technologies; America’s history and its troubled present.


I wrote...

The Paradoxes of Posterity

By Benjamin Hoffmann, Alan J. Singerman (translator),

Book cover of The Paradoxes of Posterity

What is my book about?

Why do people write? It has everything to do with being remembered by posterity. The Paradoxes of Posterity argue that the impetus for literary creation comes from a desire to transcend the mortality of the human condition through a work addressed to future generations. Refusing to turn their hope towards the spiritual immortality promised by religious systems, authors seek a symbolic form of perpetuity granted to the intellectual side of their person in the memory of those not yet born while they write. 

Benjamin Hoffmann illuminates the paradoxes inherent in the search for symbolic immortality: paradoxes of belief, identity, and mediation. Theoretically sophisticated and convincingly argued, this book contends that there is only one truly serious literary problem: the transmission of texts to posterity. 

The Invention of Celebrity

By Antoine Lilti, Lynn Jeffress (translator),

Book cover of The Invention of Celebrity

Antoine Lilti’s ground-breaking study about celebrity demonstrates that a phenomenon we generally associate with modern culture and cinema has much older roots: roots that go back to eighteenth-century Europe. Thanks to the rise of the press and the development of new advertising techniques, such figures as Voltaire, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Marie-Antoinette, or Napoléon saw their private lives on public display and learned to navigate the privileges and pitfalls of a new form of social prestige. Elegantly written and accessible to non-specialists, this book is particularly useful to differentiate between forms of public recognition that are connected but ultimately distinct, such as glory, reputation, celebrity, and posterity. The work of a major historian of eighteenth-century France, The Invention of Celebrity explains why the age of Enlightenment was a laboratory in which our modern sense of self was invented, while also uncovering the origins of our longing…


Who am I?

I grew up in Bordeaux, a city that became prominent during the eighteenth century. My hometown inspired my love of eighteenth-century French studies, which led me to the Sorbonne, then to Yale University where I earned a PhD. Today, I am an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University. I am the author of eight novels and monographs published in France and the US, including American Pandemonium, Posthumous America, and Sentinel Island. My work explores numerous genres to question a number of recurring themes: exile and the representation of otherness; nostalgia and the experience of bereavement; the social impact of new technologies; America’s history and its troubled present.


I wrote...

The Paradoxes of Posterity

By Benjamin Hoffmann, Alan J. Singerman (translator),

Book cover of The Paradoxes of Posterity

What is my book about?

Why do people write? It has everything to do with being remembered by posterity. The Paradoxes of Posterity argue that the impetus for literary creation comes from a desire to transcend the mortality of the human condition through a work addressed to future generations. Refusing to turn their hope towards the spiritual immortality promised by religious systems, authors seek a symbolic form of perpetuity granted to the intellectual side of their person in the memory of those not yet born while they write. 

Benjamin Hoffmann illuminates the paradoxes inherent in the search for symbolic immortality: paradoxes of belief, identity, and mediation. Theoretically sophisticated and convincingly argued, this book contends that there is only one truly serious literary problem: the transmission of texts to posterity. 

Who's In, Who's Out

By Kenneth Rose,

Book cover of Who's In, Who's Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose: Volume One 1944-1979

Rose wrote the Albany column in The Sunday Telegraph and it is tempting to dismiss him as a gossip columnist who spread amusing and implausible stories about the bons mots of Princess Margaret. In fact, Rose was a more substantial person. He was interested in the British establishment but aware of himself as an outsider (partly because he was of Jewish origin). He was also, particularly during the early part of his career, an odd kind of modernizer – close to Tony Benn, whom he had known at university.


Who am I?

Richard Vinen is a Professor of History at King's College, London, and the author of a number of major books on 20th century Europe. He won the Wolfson Prize for History for his last book, National Service. Vinen is a specialist in 20th-century European history, particularly of Britain and France.


I wrote...

National Service: A Generation in Uniform 1945-1963

By Richard Vinen,

Book cover of National Service: A Generation in Uniform 1945-1963

What is my book about?

Richard Vinen's new book is a serious - if often very entertaining - attempt to get to grips with the reality of National Service, an extraordinary institution which now seems as remote as the British Empire itself. With great sympathy and curiosity, Vinen unpicks the myths of the two 'gap years', which all British men who came of age between 1945 and the early 1960s had to fill with National Service. Millions of teenagers were thrown together and under often brutal conditions taught to obey orders and to fight. The luck of the draw might result in two years of boredom in some dilapidated British barracks, but it could also mean being thrown into a dangerous combat mission in a remote part of the world.

The Secret Parts of Fortune

By Ron Rosenbaum,

Book cover of The Secret Parts of Fortune: Three Decades of Intense Investigations and Edgy Enthusiasms

You’re probably picking up a theme here - I love an underdog, books that go largely unnoticed. Ron Rosenbaum spent most of his career writing for The Village Voice, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and many others. The Secret Parts of Fortune is a collection of some of his best stuff. Someone described Rosenbaum as “one part intellectual and one part private eye,” and these essays will definitely lead you down a rabbit hole, taking you places you’ve never even considered to venture. My point of entry was A Killing in Camelot, about the unsolved murder of Mary Meyer, an artist and Washington socialite who turned up murdered on a D.C. canal towpath in 1964. As the title suggests, there is a Kennedy connection – isn’t there always.


Who am I?

I chose these books because a theme in my writing is standing up, and being a champion for things that get forgotten – books, music, events, people. Also, for anyone who has done investigative reporting, the sense is always like you’re going down a rabbit hole and penetrating a dark, undiscovered country. Also – and I don’t think many people know this – I was an English Lit major in college at the University of Toronto. In my early days I did a lot of reading, on a disparate field of interests. 


I wrote...

Wish You Were Here

By John Allore, Patricia Pearson,

Book cover of Wish You Were Here

What is my book about?

In fall 1978, teenager Theresa Allore went missing near Sherbrooke, Quebec. She wasn't seen again until the spring thaw revealed her body in a creek. Shrugging off her death as a result of 1970s drug culture, police didn't investigate. Patricia Pearson started dating Theresa's brother, John, after Theresa's death. Though the two teens went their separate ways, the family's grief, obsession with justice, and desire for the truth never left Patricia. 

In 2001, John had just moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina when the cops came to the door. They determined that a young girl had been murdered and buried in the basement. Unable to rest without closure, he reached out to Patricia, an accomplished crime journalist and author, and they found answers more alarming than they could have imagined.

The Book of Essie

By Meghan MacLean Weir,

Book cover of The Book of Essie

I felt an almost voyeuristic pleasure in reading The Book of Essie. Seventeen-year-old Essie Hicks is the daughter of an Evangelical pastor, whose family is the subject of a reality television series, Six for Hicks. Essie, as the youngest, has had her entire life aired for their adoring public. As you can guess, when Essie finds herself pregnant no one is thrilled. Essie’s future is determined by her mother and the TV producers: Essie needs to marry. How Essie takes control of the situation and the secrets that are revealed make for a gripping read.


Who am I?

Two things are true about me: I’m fascinated by the early twentieth century and I'm a diehard feminist. My grandfather nurtured my love of the 1920s and 1930s by introducing me to Dorothy Parker, John O’Hara, Ella Fitzgerald, and The New Yorker. My mother, a petite woman who can wield a welder like few others, encouraged the development of my feminist sensibilities. These two parts came together when my father offhandedly mentioned that his grandmother had an unplanned pregnancy during the Great Depression. As I researched reproductive issues through the years, my fascination for the topic grew. Each of the books here takes a different view of how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. 


I wrote...

Modern Girls

By Jennifer S. Brown,

Book cover of Modern Girls

What is my book about?

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is a 19-year-old with a promising career as a bookkeeper. She dotes on her boyfriend, Abe, though he’s slow to propose. However, after an argument, Dottie spends a single night with an unsuitable man… and finds herself in the family way. 

Dottie’s mother, Rose, a Yiddish-speaking immigrant, is eager to return to the social activism of her youth. With strikes and breadlines in New York and National Socialism rising in Europe, there’s more important work than cooking and cleaning. Yet Rose’s plans derail when she discovers that she, too, is pregnant. As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same.

The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire

By Dan Howell, Phil Lester,

Book cover of The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire: The World of Dan and Phil

I admit, I had to take a minute to figure out what it was about this crazy book that I like so much. I mean it’s really just a book filled with useless dribble from two ordinary guys, Phil and Dan, who met at a One Directions concert. The book features excerpts from Phil’s teenage diary, text from Dan’s 12-year-old website, and instructions on how to draw cat whiskers. I think what I like is its serious look at nonsense topics, which are examined in minute detail, complete awkwardness, and abounding humor. You’ll learn absolutely nothing (except why Phil was a weird kid and what Dan looked like in his skater clothes) but you’ll laugh on every page. I consider this “book candy.” Is candy something we need to survive in this world? No, of course not. But once in a while, it’s amazing when you get a great piece.


Who am I?

I love to laugh! Laughter is a universal sort of magic that helps us connect with others, build rapport and trust, reduce stress, and overlook differences. It’s hard to be mad at someone you’re laughing with. How do I know so much about humor? Because I wrote the book on it. Literally. My debut book, The Joke Machine, teaches middle graders how to create a funny line. I wrote it after researching humor for years, analyzing jokes, and trying to figure out why each one made me laugh. I found patterns and my joke-making philosophy was born! Since then, I’ve been reading funny books, writing funny books, and best of all, laughing at funny lines.


I wrote...

Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun and Other Things No One Knows the Rules To: Funny Try-Not-to-Laugh Challenges for the Whole Family!

By Theresa Julian, Kim Griffin (illustrator),

Book cover of Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun and Other Things No One Knows the Rules To: Funny Try-Not-to-Laugh Challenges for the Whole Family!

What is my book about?

Who gets dibs on the last slice of pizza? Who's "it" when two people call "not it" at the same time?

Stop wondering and start learning the rules to these and other *must know* things in life like: Frontsies; Saving Seats; Rock Paper Scissors; Crossing Your Fingers. This tween book lays out the rules for the everyday stuff no one knows the rules to in an attempt to restore peace in family rooms across the globe. It includes try-not-to-laugh challenges in each section. This very funny book is great for road trips, family time away from screens, and fun kid and teen parties. It encourages creativity and helps kids learn through play by using their imagination. No matter how you use this book, it's hours of ready-to-go fun!

The Dead Ladies Project

By Jessa Crispin,

Book cover of The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries

The Dead Ladies Project follows Crispin’s inner and outer journey across Europe following her suicide attempt. As a way of trying to make sense of her own fragile condition, Crispin researches the lives of other artists who also fled abroad in order to find themselves. 

I first read The Dead Ladies Project while researching my own hybrid memoir. It was a revelation and an inspiration, this elegant weaving of Crispin’s personal story with the stories of those she imagines traveled a similar path as herself, both geographically and emotionally. 

At this time of overly curated, highly sanitized social media depictions of our lives, Crispin’s unflinching humanity is not just brave, but like water poured on arid soil.


Who am I?

I’m a cultural anthropologist with a passion for exploring how we humans make meaning of the wonderful, terrible, startling, often-absurd existence in which we find ourselves. My research has taken me from NYC’s underground occult scene to the conflict-resolution strategies of Central Peru; from circus performers in Portland, Maine, grappling with their physical potential, to a comedy club in Berlin where I set out to discover the secret sauce for evoking “collective joy” amongst strangers. I am drawn to artistic works that mix genres and defy categorization… and thus have a penchant for alienating editors, librarians, and bookstore owners who struggle to identify on which shelf my books belong. 


I wrote...

The Friendliest Place in the Universe: Love, Laughter, and Stand-Up Comedy in Berlin

By Hillary S. Webb,

Book cover of The Friendliest Place in the Universe: Love, Laughter, and Stand-Up Comedy in Berlin

What is my book about?

In this “anthropological memoir,” Hillary S. Webb turns an anthropologist's eye to the existential search for meaning through the microcosm of a multicultural comedy club in the age of Trump. Told with her signature mix of humor and emotional candor, Webb’s journey offers lessons for all of us grappling with the divisiveness of contemporary life. Come for the free pizza and schnapps—stay for the characters, their stories, and the community.

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