Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down – Celebs Writing Books!

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is feature on my blog to promote discussion and the sharing of opinions because I’m curious what other readers/bloggers think about the topics relevant to the book/blogging world  Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions. It is also NOT a feature in order to TELL you how you should blog or act or think. Just a discussion of ideas.



For this edition of  Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down I want to talk about celebs and their book deals. I feel like every other week I see another celebrity who has gotten a book deal of some sort whether it is a memoir or an actual novel. Hilary Duff, Lauren Conrad and Snooki from Jersey Shore are just have the few celebs recently to have penned a novel and there are a slew of others who have books coming out– from serious memoirs about their live like Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia De Rossi to the absurd — The Rules According to JWOWW: Shore-Tested Secrets on Landing a Mint Guy, Staying Fresh to Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curbor Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore. Don’t get me wrong..I’m not hating on the Jersey Shore (Confession: It’s totally one of my guilty pleasures…along with eating peanut butter from the jar and throwing chocolate chips or Reese’s Pieces in there) but really..I just think they are quite ridiculous. 



What I want to know Do you like reading celeb novels or do you just pass over them? Which ones have been good/bad? Are you more likely to read a memoir by a celeb? A novel? Or do you dislike both? Do you think it’s fair for a person to get a book deal (fiction) just because they ARE a celebrity? Do you think most of the celeb book deals are just publicity stunts to help the persons “brand” or do you think some of them actually have talent/passion for writing. 

Vote:

My Opinion: I honestly haven’t read too many celebrity written books. I believe I’ve read some memoirs somewhere along the line of people that I really respect. I’d have a hard time reading a “how to guide” from a celeb like the one from “The Situation” as mentioned above. I’ve heard good things about Lauren Conrad’s books but haven’t had any really urge to pick them up…same goes for the Duffster. Thinking of her just makes me think of Lizzie McGuire. I digress. But I’ve gotten so irked lately with the number of celeb books coming out. I think there are some out there that really have quite a story to tell (Portia De Rossi) but I just find some of them so pointless. And it makes me sad for authors who have real talent….can you imagine having your book rejected for Snooki’s novel (which I’ve heard was HORRIBLE)? Now don’t get me wrong, I think everyone has the right to write a book and if they get a deal…well then good for them…I just find it to be more of a publicity stunt in SOME cases…just an extension of the brand. There are few celebrity written books that I’d probably read. I have a handful of them that I actually WANT to read. 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Lindsay Horne says:

    This is a great question…I do NOT pick up books benned by celebs, specifically because I know that many times they didn't even write them. Forgive me, and I am thinking of the Jersey Shore case, but I cannot imagine even one of them that would be able to sit down and write a book by themselves. And to take it even further, by buying their books, I am supporting their sometimes negative influence on American culture. Yes, I know that is a stretch, but I do think that for the most part, most celebrities aren't contributing anything substantially good. All just my opinion of course!

  2. I think it depends a lot on the longevity of their career. I'm not really interested in reading the life story of a reality TV celeb that's only going to be in the limelight for a year tops, or a celebrity that hasn't really achieved anything except having had lots of pictures taken of them, but finding out more about the life of an established actor/writer etc can be interesting.

    If a celebrity whose work I know of and admire releases something, I'd be more inclined to have a look. For example, I wouldn't go anywhere near Snooki's book, but I probably would check out Tina Fey's. The difference is Tina Fey's background is in comedy and writing, so I can imagine she will at least have written most if not all of it herself, and it should be entertaining.

    I don't really see the point of ghostwritten biographies and I do think it's a shame that celebrities are far more likely to get a book deal than a debut writer, but I suppose that's the nature of business that you can't turn down something you know is going to sell for the sake of a risk.

  3. Celebrity memoirs… I'm guilty of enjoying those, especially if it's a celebrity I really like and if, like you said, they havea story to tell. Novels, on the other hand… HUGE pet peeve of mine! I keep meaning to write a post about it and haven't gotten to it yet. It bothers me that most of them are published and that people buy them, LOL.

  4. Avid Reader says:

    I'm absolutely in the "won't read" category. I have no desire to waste my time on their memoirs or cheesy fiction when there are so many talented authors out there. I do have a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, Portia's book deals with an actual issue, so I wouldn't be opposed to checking it out if the opportunity presented itself. I will go out of my way to read Tina Fey's book and anything by Steve Martin, but that's because they are talented writers, not because they're celebrities. Great discussion!

  5. Meredith says:

    A big thumbs down to celebrity novels – I have no desire to watch someone try to write a good novel when they clearly don't know how. And a big thumbs down as well to celebrity memoirs. I tend to strongly dislike memoirs in general, so celebrities have two strikes against them.

    But… there are a few exceptions. I've read a couple of books of essays by celebrities (Jon Stewart's "Naked Pictures of Famous People" is really funny and I'm hearing really good things about Tina Fay's "Bossypants."). When it's a celebrity just sort of commenting on life, especially in a humorous way, then I'm willing to give them a chance.

    Oh, and I agree with Avid Reader – Steve Martin does actually write good novels. He's that rare exception to the "no celebrity novel" rule.

  6. thatcovergirl says:

    It really depends on the celebrity, for me. I'm not exactly rushing to go and read Hilary Duff or Lauren Conrad or Snooki's books, but I'm all about Tina Fey's recently released novel and helloooo Mindy Kaling's upcoming novel! Can't wait to read them both!

  7. Greg Zimmerman says:

    I think there's two ways to look at this: The obvious one, which is that there's a 99 percent chance that not only are celebrity-penned novels not written by the celebrating supposedly writing them, but they're not even 10 percent as good as another book that may not have gotten published instead. The other side of the coin, though, is that because these celebrity novel sell – sadly so – they put money in the pockets of publishers and allow them to maybe take a chance on other writers who may not have gotten a chance. I doubt the second one is as valid, but I don't know that for sure. In any event, I've never read one.

    I wrote about this topic on my blog last year – check it out, if you're interested.

    Wonderful topic!

  8. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    I said "thumbs down" only because you used the word novel. I actually think celebrity memoirs are fine and a lot of them are co-authored with a real writer. I don't generally read them but I know a lot of people do (and I am loving Susan Lucci's right now).

    But novels. No. Just because you can act does not mean you can write.

  9. Letter4no1 says:

    The celebrity book is a slippery slope. On one hand there are books by the likes of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie that are generally good works of fiction that would have probably been published without their fame attached, but then you have things like modelland (is it out yet, i don't know?)that is just being used to extend tyra banks empire. So on the fiction front, I guess I'm kind of slit. I want to continue to read good fiction, regardless of who writes it, but I don't want to see the likes of snooki or ty ty getting book deals just because their mindless dribble will sell.

    Now for the Celebrity memoirs. I must admit I'm a fan, but not of all of them. Though I think this is a typical stance. If I really like the person and they write a memoir of course I'll read it, if I don't have a vested interest in them I won't. I like that the celebrity memoir is very accessible, and often helps to keep adults who's normal literary exercise is reading people magazine in the land of books, and maybe even help them branch out into the real literary world of bookstores, and hours spent browsing on amazon.

  10. IngridLola says:

    Ultimately I would give celebrity books a thumbs down … but I have a few guilty pleasures. :)

  11. Jasmine (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I have Chelsea Handler books on my shelf waiting to be read because I've heard really great things about them…from readers and non-readers alike. If they put me in a good mood and make me laugh, much like they do in real life, then I'd give it a chance! So I guess I'm neither thumbs up or down on this one!

  12. Pretty much way down. I might be persuaded to look into it, but as a whole, especially people like Snookie? Gross.

  13. I like celebrity memoirs, but celebrity-written novels are just insulting, especially if they have no background in writing and often no real grasp of the English language (I'm looking at you, Jersey Shore). Most of the time they're ghost-written, anyway, with the celebrity's name slapped on to generate hype. It's kind of depressing. That said, I have read Lauren Conrad's books because I was interested to see the "fictionalised" behind-the-scenes version of the Hills. They were pretty ordinary.

  14. I'm going with a whole-hearted Thumbs Down on this one. I think it's so silly that all these teen celebrities think they need to write a book about their life. I mean, it's not like Justin Bieber really has any life lessons to share yet. And if he does, I'm probably not gonna take him seriously.
    There probably are celebrities who can really write well, but I'm sick of all the autobiographies and I do think they're more of a publicity stunt than a well thought out project.
    The only one I'd consider picking up is Portia de Rossi's, because I feel she actually has something to say.

  15. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I don't read celebrity books. I will say this, I think celebrity books are good just because they probably bring in mucho dinero for the publishing company which in turn can spend money on publishing greatly written books that may not be as popular.

  16. Dang my other comment got erased… :( Anyway, if someone is famous for doing something awesome, write a book. If they are famous because… they're famous, then don't write a book (unless you hire me as a ghost writer, then write a book!)

  17. I've never picked up or read any book by a celebrity author. They typically don't have any appeal for me. To me it seems like a publicity stunt and it seems narcissistic too. Ugh.

  18. Never read any but after seeing Rob Lowe's pic on Vanity Fair, I find myself wanting to read his new book when it comes out. But I won't pay for it – just the library for me!

    Most of those books are written so poorly I get frustrated after the first paragraph.

  19. Chrisbookarama says:

    I'm mostly a thumbs down. Life is too short. The only one I'm interested in lately is Bossypants by Tina Fey but she makes her living as a writer anyway. And that's more of a memoir. Plus she's funny!

  20. I avoid them. The majority of the time they're not written by the celebrities themselves but ghost writers. They publishers hand out huge advances basically to buy the celebrity's name in the hopes that name alone will sell the book. No thanks. I believe I'll pass on that. I've only read two celebrity books by the same celebrity: Denis Leary. Not sure if he counts or not.

    I'nm not a fan of how many legitimately good authors are passed over because so much funding went into a mediocre (at best) celebrity book. I'll give my money to those that actually earned the deal.

  21. A Backwards Story says:

    I tend to overlook them, too. I considered Hilary Duff b/c so many people had positive things to say, but in the end, I just…didn't. I did read a cute picture book called "Dream Big, Little Pig!" by Kristi Yamaguchi recently that I adored, though. It was super cute!

  22. BookMystress/Monique Writes says:

    I like nicole richies books and i am considering reading Hilary Duff's book, but apart from that i think its pretty rude and as a writer it damn well pisses me off (excuse the language). Writers like my self and friends i have struggle to write the book they struggle for the art that they love and these people get to publish a book because they trash out or make a sex tape, i do not see the fairness,
    The Book Mystress, xx

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