I used to wonder why I sucked at so many things and why some people were amazing at practically everything they attempted. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that very few people were truly exceptional at more than one thing. That doesn’t stop people from trying, though. Pretty much every celebrity has tried their hand at something outside their expertise. More often than not, these efforts are major flops and often times lead to hilarious results, as with Shaquille O’neal’s rap album or Mariah Carey’s acting.
But there are a few who do these things with some success. Here are some celebrities that have crossed over into the world of writing without making complete fools of themselves. Some of these are older but have maintained their status on my bookshelves. These celebrities are, in my opinion, successful double-dippers.
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
This is a poignant and compelling novella about a young lady who sells gloves at an expensive department store. We are taken through Maribel’s idle life as a bit of a wallflower and her confusing love life as she balances relationships with a middle-aged millionaire and a nerdy and socially awkward suitor.
Martin has written a few other novels since Shopgirl, including The Pleasure of my Company and An Object of Beauty, but in my opinion this is his best work. His characters are vibrant and real.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
I am a bit biased here as a big fan of the Chili Peppers, but this was a very interesting autobiography. I don’t think you can make up the kinds of stories you find in this book. Besides getting a pretty cool look at the formation of the band through his point of view, you also get memorable stories of Keidis shooting up in a diner with a six foot tall transvestite with a mustache. Keidis is very honest about his past addiction and mistakes he made in his life.
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
I’m not a big fan of this genre and I have never read this book. I noticed that she was going to be at the Los Angeles Festival of books, so here’s a free plug for people who like to cook and are interested in animal rights.
Of Thee I Sing by Barrack Obama
This genre is saturated with celebrity authors, and while President Barrack Obama is not necessarily a celebrity, he’s still made my list because being president makes you famous. It is difficult to critique a children’s book as most of them are entertaining enough for their audience. What I like about this one in particular is that it pays tribute to the people who are helped to create the America that we know today. It is great to get young children familiar with names such as Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Jackie Robinson, and Jane Addams.
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton
I think the title gives away the author. Picture Shel Silverstein meets Betelgeuse. The book consists of several very short and humorous poems told in a Tim Burton-esque way. Worth having simply for the title.
Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
I had to leave this as a category because I think this bedtime story was written for the sole purpose of being read by Samuel L. Jackson. In fact, I can’t read this without doing the Sam Jackson voice. This is a must for every parent, a feel-good story that captures the frustration and joy of parenting.
Before You Leap by Kermit the Frog
I purchased this book as a novelty because, of course, I am in no need for a self-help book (not me, no way). Anyway, this book is told through the muppet we all know and love and he actually offers up some sound advice. Sure it is told through cheesy and cliché frog references, but the lessons are actually pretty philosophical. I thought the most I could have learned from Kermit was that it wasn’t easy being green, but he’s full of good advice.