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View Full Version : Fiction by Celebrities (Not Known for Being Authors)


Travis McClain
05-29-10, 01:12 AM
Most celebrities write a book at one point or another. This thread isn't about those memoirs, or diaries from the road or on the set. This is about pure fiction, where a celebrity has decided to spin a story all his or her own (or, at least, partner with a writer willing to settle for a "with" credit). I've read several such works in the last couple of years. You know how once you become aware of something, you're incapable of distinguishing whether it wasn't there before, or you were just oblivious to it? That's where I am with this sub-genre.

I'd like this thread to discuss any interest readers have in such works, as well as consider the merits. I think it's safe to say that most of them contribute less to the world of literature than to the resume of their authors, but in a world where "reality TV" has made stars out of nobodies, what are the implications for somebodies stamping their name on a book? Is it some kind of "celebrity diversification" tactic, like investing in different industries?

I'd also like to see if we can keep a running list of the authors and works that fit this theme. I can't promise to update a master list, but I don't expect a thread in Book Talk to grow too long. I've actually begun to take at face value all the "When did we get a Book Talk?" questions!

To get the ball rolling, here's what I've read:

Richard Belzer with Michael Black - I Am Not a Cop! (followed by I Am Not a Psychic!)

Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn with Bill Fitzhugh - The Adventures of Slim & Howdy

Craig Ferguson - Between the Bridge and the River

Hugh Laurie - The Gun Seller

Fist of Doom
05-29-10, 02:10 AM
Steve Martin - Shopgirl

movieking
05-29-10, 05:28 AM
I've just bought the Fergsuon novel yesterday, and also have the Laurie kicking around here somewhere as well. What was the Brooks & Dunn novel like?

There was a good EW article about this in the last year or two, but the only thing that I could find easily was this CNN article:

10 celebrities who've fiddled with fiction writing (http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/books/04/01/celebrities.fiction.tf/index.html)

mgbfan
05-29-10, 08:37 AM
William Shattner wrote a bunch of relative trash, as I recall.

cornyt
05-29-10, 12:16 PM
James Franco had a story in Esquire and has a short story collection coming out.

FunkDaddy J
05-29-10, 03:09 PM
Meg Tilly--Singing Songs.

I actually met her at a booksigning, and I had her write my favorite Meg Tilly movie quote along with her signature: "I've always wanted to ride in a limo." (Name that movie!)

Fist of Doom
05-29-10, 03:21 PM
Meg Tilly--Singing Songs.

I actually met her at a booksigning, and I had her write my favorite Meg Tilly movie quote along with her signature: "I've always wanted to ride in a limo." (Name that movie!)

The Big Chill!

FunkDaddy J
05-29-10, 03:23 PM
Niiiice.

Sessa17
05-29-10, 03:35 PM
Ethan Hawke has quite a few novels.

Fist of Doom
05-29-10, 03:52 PM
Ethan Hawke has quite a few novels.

Would you recommend them?

Travis McClain
05-29-10, 05:37 PM
What was the Brooks & Dunn novel like?

There are more than 60 chapters in 257 pages, so you can guess that it's structured so that every few pages amounts to a scene. What I thought worked well were the pace and tone of the book; it's very light reading. I'm not terribly big on phonetic spellings of vernacular, and this book is full of them (things like, "Jew see that?"). The tone is very conversational with the reader, which works given that it's mostly an excuse to present a fictionalized version of Brooks & Dunn participating in colorful situations. I placed it in the "Average" part of the spectrum; I liked it, but there's nothing compelling about it that places it on my recommended reading list.

William Shattner wrote a bunch of relative trash, as I recall.

I've only read his first six Star Trek books (all co-written with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), so I can't speak to all of his works. I liked the first one, The Ashes of Eden, quite a lot. The rest of them, showing Captain Kirk resurrected and active in the 24th Century, ranged from feeling like contrived fan fiction to surprisingly enjoyable. In any event, given how many things he's written over the years, though, I'm not sure Shatner qualifies as a celebrity not known for being an author.

djmont
05-30-10, 09:44 AM
I draw a distinction with these books between people who actually write them -- like Hugh Laurie -- and people who just slap their name on it -- like Shatner or Belzer. The latter I'm only interested in reading if the "co-author" is any good.

Speaking of Laurie, I haven't read his book, but I'd like to. I've heard good things about it. He's an amazingly talented guy.

mgbfan
05-30-10, 11:54 AM
In any event, given how many things he's written over the years, though, I'm not sure Shatner qualifies as a celebrity not known for being an author.

Disagreed.

Travis McClain
05-30-10, 02:40 PM
I draw a distinction with these books between people who actually write them -- like Hugh Laurie -- and people who just slap their name on it -- like Shatner or Belzer. The latter I'm only interested in reading if the "co-author" is any good.

Belzer has four books under his belt so far, two works of non-fiction and two adventures of a fictionalized version of himself. I can't say how much of the writing he's done himself on three of the books, but he was credited as the sole author of UFO's, JFK & Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe. I recognize his writing voice in the other two of his that I've read. It could be he "just slap[ped]" his name on the books, but having read them, I'm not convinced of it.

Speaking of Laurie, I haven't read his book, but I'd like to. I've heard good things about it. He's an amazingly talented guy.

It's been said countless times, but it bears repeating:
P.G. Wodehouse + Ian Fleming = Hugh Laurie

And Laurie clearly had himself and Steven Fry in mind for two of the main characters, which at one point or another was rumored to be optioned for a screen version. A sequel was supposed to have been published last Fall, but that didn't happen and I haven't heard anything to indicate that it will materialize any time soon.

Disagreed.

I'm sure the public at large still considers him to be Captain Kirk, but I think anyone with even a passing interest in his career is aware of how many books he's authored. In any event, it's not as though this thread is some kind of literary authority so if we want to count him, that's cool with me.

djmont
05-30-10, 05:57 PM
Hasn't Shatner admitted that he didn't write the novels with his name on them? I read the first couple Tek books many years ago. They were about what you'd expect; readable but nothing more than that.

As for Belzer -- I can't speak to his non-fiction, but he didn't write "his" detective novels. I will give him credit, though, for giving decent billing to his (co-)writer. That's more than a lot of people do. (See, for example, Robert Tanenbaum.)

movieking
05-31-10, 04:19 PM
I've had an EW subscription for a number of years now, and usually have a bunch of them lying around the house, waiting to be thrown out every little while. When I was cleaning up over the weekend, I picked up an old copy, and voila! - it was the one that I had mentioned above. This was their list of celebrity authors, as well as their grades:

Hugh Laurie - The Gun Seller B+
Steve Martin - Shopgirl B
Blair Underwood - Casanegra B
Jimmy Buffett - Swine Not? C+
Macauley Culkin - Junior C-
Ethan Hawke - The Hottest State D+
Marlon Brando - Fan-Tan D
Pamela Anderson - Star D
Joan Collins - Infamous F

djmont
06-01-10, 08:20 AM
Admit it -- you want to read Macaulay Culkin's book. :)

benedict
06-01-10, 08:53 AM
Most celebrities write a book at one point or another. This thread isn't about those memoirs, or diaries from the road or on the set. This is about pure fiction, where a celebrity has decided to spin a story all his or her own (or, at least, partner with a writer willing to settle for a "with" credit). [....]
Craig Ferguson - Between the Bridge and the River

Hugh Laurie - The Gun SellerAlthough arguable as to whether some/all would qualify as "celebrities" across the pond, a goodly number of British comedians have written novels. One of the first to do this in a big way was Ben Elton. The couple of his I read definitely were done in his tone of voice which can occasionally grate in written form.

Among those that come to mind with not too much effort:
Rob Newman (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fountain-at-Centre-World/dp/1859845738/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275399545&sr=1-1)
Stewart Lee (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Fool-Stewart-Lee/dp/0007292147/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275399848&sr=1-2)
Stephen Fry (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hippopotamus-Stephen-Fry/dp/0099457032/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275400137&sr=1-2)
Sean (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-What-He-Wouldve-Wanted/dp/0684860295/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275399955&sr=1-2) Hughes (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Detainees-Sean-Hughes/dp/0684851784/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1)
Hasn't Shatner admitted that he didn't write the novels with his name on them? I read the first couple Tek books many years ago. They were about what you'd expect; readable but nothing more than that.

As for Belzer -- I can't speak to his non-fiction, but he didn't write "his" detective novels. I will give him credit, though, for giving decent billing to his (co-)writer. That's more than a lot of people do. (See, for example, Robert Tanenbaum.)As alluded to (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/2239967-post7.html) some years ago, Shatner's Tek books are deemed to have been ghosted by Ron Goulart. RG certainly gets credit for the comicbooks

movieking
06-01-10, 09:51 AM
Admit it -- you want to read Macaulay Culkin's book. :)

I'll wait for your review first -wink-