Booking Through Thursday – Celebrity Memoirs

02Jul09

btt2

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

I haven’t read very many, to be honest. Most of the times, it feels like a money-making gimmick. Take some of the footballers in their early twenties, for example. They’ve barely peaked, but they all have a memoir. On the other hand, if the likes of Zidane or Cantona had a proper memoir, I’d be rushing out to get it. (I’m a bit of a sports buff!)

The one book that I did really enjoy was Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About The Bike. I thought it was well-written, and interesting… and he did have something to write about! Battling cancer, and then going on to win Tour de France. That’s quite commendable, don’t you think?

Not sure if these count as ‘memoirs’ (dictionary definition-wise), but Irving Stone wrote Lust for Life (about van Gogh) and The Agony and The Ecstasy (about Michelangelo). I think it was those two books that got me into art, and both remain my favorite artists. I forced my parents to take me to Rome as a graduation present, just to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and I dragged a couple of my friends to New York last year, predominantly to go to the Met and MoMA. Again, were they celebrities, or, do we glorify them now, for they weren’t appreciated in their time? Well, van Gogh wasn’t.

I would really like to read Syd Barrett’s memoir, but there are so many versions out there, that I’m scared I’ll end up picking one up which doesn’t justify the genius he was at any level. I’ve got an image of him in my head, where he’s some kind of music god, and I don’t want that to get ruined.

Oh, and as a special treat, this is my favorite painting by van Gogh. Isn’t it amazing? Don McLean even wrote ‘Starry Starry Nights’ as an ode to the genius.

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18 Responses to “Booking Through Thursday – Celebrity Memoirs”

  1. I agree, some people need to actually live life a little longer before writing a book,lol.

  2. 2 JoAnn

    I wouldn’t mind reading about Lance Armstrong…and I love that painting, too!

  3. 3 Mish

    It’s been way too long since I’ve been to the MoMA.

    The only memoirs I’ve read were those that contained substance. In his humorous To Hell and Back, Meat Loaf writes about his nickname’s source, the music industry, theatre, and even a little politics. In Without You, Anthony Rapp shares his mom’s struggle with cancer and his sexuality and the joys and sorrows around Rent. Blah-blah-blahing about someone’s life? No thanks.

  4. 4 uncertainprinciples

    @The Social Frog : Tell me about it. It’s not limited to footballers, but… it was the first thing that came to my mind!

    @JoAnn : It’s Not About The Bike was really interesting. Dealing with a serious illness, without letting it get to you, and then going on to achieve the highest accolade in a sport says it all, really. Isn’t the painting awesome? I have a print hanging on the wall of my room as well.

    @Mish : If I had my way, I’d be heading to NYC every year, just to visit the Met and MoMA. I’ve only heard I’d Do Anything For Love… it does sound entertaining though. I might check it out. Thank you =)

  5. 5 Yvonne

    I agree – many of the memoirs are nothing more than money making schemes.

    • 6 uncertainprinciples

      Tell me about it. Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you have a life I care about that much! It’s not that interesting…. at least live a bit before telling your story!

  6. 7 certainprinciples

    what about that Bell Jar book you were telling me about, is that not classified as a memoir? (ok probably the platt woman is not famous enough then to be listed here… I have not heard about her before you told me…)

  7. Oh I agree that painting is very nice, one of my favourites, too. Also Sunflowers. Now, I am interested in Lust of Life now! LOL

    I read the Bell Jar — I shall have to add that to my list! LOL

    Yes, it counts, it’s an autobiographical novel of her her mental breakdown and suicide attempt!

    I’m off to add it — thanks for the reminder – oh, and she is another writer, too! WOAH!

    Take care,

    Sassy
    :)

  8. Just added it and mentioned you — for jogging my memory – thank you!

    Sassy
    :)

  9. I would like to check out those. I like great artists!

    Here is my BTT post!

  10. 11 uncertainprinciples

    @Sassy Brit : Sunflowers is nice, but, I like The Bedroom a tad more :) Lust for Life was amazing. In fact, I had a limited edition signed copy, which I lent to a friend and never saw again. It feels wrong to purchase the book again, but…

    @certainprinciples : It’s Plath :) I missed Roald Dahl as well :( Memory like a sieve.

    @gautami tripathy : I really hope you enjoy them!

  11. I have trouble with the word “celebrity” applied to artists, writers, actors, ect. I’d rather identify these geniuses like van Gogh by their chosen art form, not a shallow inductor of fame.

  12. 13 Mish

    Tina Kubala, me too. Besides, celebrity is relative. Big fish in a small pond and small fish in a big pond comes to mind.

    Uncertainprinciples, if you’re into seeing Georgia O’Keefe and American art, you may want to check out the Brooklyn Museum for $8 (suggested donation). Here’s a couple photos/posts from the last time I went to the MoMA. I have yet to get to the Met, but it’s on my list…maybe next time.

    …But I Won’t Do That… what about Total Eclipse of the Heart or Paradise by the Dashboard Light? Tsk tsk….heheh

  13. 14 uncertainprinciples

    @Tina Kubala : For convenience’s sake purely (I’m so lazy!!), I was taking the literal definition of ‘celebrity’ – someone who’s famous. In my chimerical world of utopia, people like Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus will not be celebrities, but instead, that word will be reserved for people who aren’t out and out media whores.

    @Mish : I’d love to, but I’m some four thousand miles away in London, with no plans of visiting the States ’til next year. I love your posts… Reminds me of my sense of wonderment and awe as I treaded the floors of MoMA and the Met. It’s incredible, but, I almost felt honored to be in the same room as some of these really famous pieces.

    I’ve heard Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart… don’t think it’s one and the same. The video of I’d Do Anything For Love is well cool though :)

  14. 15 Mish

    I know what you mean about the incredible feeling. Sometimes it seems like I need to pinch myself. I’m close enough that I can occasionally spend a weekend in NYC. My last was in February. I’ve been wanting to visit the UK for ages…West End… the Tate…would be lovely.

    I was tired and had my wires crossed about Eclipse. I don’t know why I have it in my brain that I’ve heard Meat Loaf do a cover. Probably because I associate Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman so closely together and years ago they were inseparable. Steinman originally wrote Eclipse for Meat Loaf but after the record company not paying Steinman, it went to Bonnie Tyler. Six degrees of music separation…

    • 16 uncertainprinciples

      You should. :) However, I kind-of think that the MoMA has so much more to offer than the Tate.

      I didn’t know that about Eclipse. My ‘new-thing-learnt’ for the day.

  15. 17 Mish

    How so?

    Well, there ya go.

    • 18 uncertainprinciples

      Maybe, just more famous works. The MoMA is huge, and personally, I think it’s maintained better than the Tate. Again, it might just be a case of grass being greener on the other side of the pond.


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