Monday, February 27, 2012

Off Screen Talents

Most of us have a favorite celebrity. We have seen all of their movies or listened to all of their CDs; we have read interviews they do in the latest magazines. I will admit that I am probably obsessed with Taylor Swift, but she hasn’t written a book for me to read, yet.  There are celebrities who have written books that have made their way to our shelves here at the Bartow County Library System. Now, I can hear some of you groaning all the way from here. “A celebrity written book? Surely they aren’t any good,” and you will go back to reading the latest novel written by your favorite author. Trust me, though, some times books written by celebrities can surprise you. 

Comedian Steve Martin is probably better known for his stint on SNL and his starring roles in movies like The Jerk and the Father of the Bride movies.  Martin has also written a number of novels, his most recent being " An Object of Beauty". The novel tells the story of Lacey Yeager, a young woman who gets her first job out of college at Sotheby’s, the art auction house in New York.   Narrated by Lacey’s art critic friend, Daniel, we see the rise and fall of a young woman who becomes obsessed with the art world.  She learns that the more beautiful something is, the more value it has in the moneyed world she inhabits. Lacey’s obsession leads her to take bigger gambles with her career and money that ultimately causes problems with her future as the art world becomes more tumultuous.  Lacey becomes entangled, both emotionally and financially.  If you are not well acquainted with the artists and paintings mentioned, colored reproductions are woven into the narrative of the story.

If Steve Martin isn’t your cup of tea, try "The Gun Seller" by Hugh Laurie, who is known for his performance as Dr. House in the television show of the same name and as a British comedian. "The Gun Seller" is about Thomas Lang, a former Army officer who is now working as a hired gun. When Lang is hired to assassinate an American business man, Lang decides to go to Amsterdam and warn his target instead. However, the simple decision Lang makes to warn his target turns into something much larger. Lang suddenly finds himself involved in a potential terrorist plot and a conspiracy about a top-secret attack helicopter that is being developed by the government.  Laurie’s novel is a satire of most spy novels, but is very enjoyable to read and would be perfect for fans of adventure novels written by Clive Cussler or spy thrillers by John Le Carre.

But if you want something lighter and more inspirational, country singer Sara Evans has written a book that is probably right up your alley. "The Sweet By and By" tells the story of eccentric curio shop owner Jade in quaint Whisper Hollow, Tennessee. Jade is a few weeks away from getting married and has to reconcile her relationship with her hippie mother, Beryl. While her fiancĂ©, Max, seems perfect, Jade has her own secrets that her mother’s arrival in town brings back to the forefront of her peaceful life. Beryl also has her own secrets to reveal to her daughter before her wedding and before it’s too late to say anything. The story is sweet and romantic, without being over the top. It’s an inspirational story that is easy to read and you can definitely see Evans’ country-singer background within the novel because it has elements of the simple and sweet songs she is known for.

Steve Martin, Hugh Laurie, and Sara Evans all have great talents when it comes to story-telling, and they all successfully told entertaining and enjoyable reads.  Here are some other recommended celebrity books:
Love Lifted Me by Sara Evans
A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett 
Elixir by Hilary Duff
Surrender the Pink by Carrie Fisher
Man in White by Johnny Cash   
The Justice Riders by Chuck Norris


  1. What a great idea for a blog! I had no idea these actors/musicians were also authors - actually I had heard about Buffett and Cash but haven't read their books. I did know about some children's books that were written by celebrities such as Madonna, Jamie Lee Curtis, Julie Andrews, Jimmy Fallon and Jerry Seinfeld just to name a few.

    The Steve Martin book sounds really interesting...I think I'll be checking it out soon.


  2. It took some searching on my part to find them as well since many celebrities have written children's books, like you mention with Jamie Lee Curtis and Madonna.

    Jimmy Buffet's books are great summer reads! They're similar to his songs--all about the good life on the beach!

  3. I have read books by actors that were more biographical and some of the books written for children. I haven't read any adult fiction books by actors. This makes me want to see if some of my favorite actors are also writers. Some of the qualities that make them successful actors may also make them successful writers.

  4. It's interesting to see what qualities an actor brings to his/her books. With Steve Martin's book, I had expected it to be funny since that's what he's known for, but it was actually very serious. Hugh Laurie's book and Sara Evans' book are very similar to what they do in their television and singing.

    Let us know if you find books by your favorite actors and let us know what you think! It's fun to be surprised by what non-writers turn out!