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Image / Living / Culture

11 celebrity biography books to read (that are actually good)


By Sarah Finnan
28th Dec 2021
11 celebrity biography books to read (that are actually good)

Dolly Parton announced that she'll be publishing her debut novel next year, but many other celebs have already done so too. Here are 11 we actually enjoyed.

Celebrities like to wear many different hats. It’s a tactic they employ to stay relevant, and it usually works in their favour. Actors release their own albums, singers give Broadway a whirl, comedians transition over to movies… you get the idea. 

Celebrity life is something we’ll always have an interest in though. It’s a world few of us will ever be privy to, so it’s highly intriguing – which is probably why celeb-written books usually do so well. They give the sense of being let in on an intimate secret straight from the horse’s mouth so, naturally, we eat them up. Between true-to-real-life memoirs, short stories, and fictional novels, there are plenty of options to choose from but not all books are created equal and some are obviously better than others. 

Inspired by the summer revelation that Queen of country, Dolly Parton, will be releasing her own debut novel next year, we compiled a list of some of our top picks to keep you going in the meantime. But before we delve into our celebrity-written must-reads, more on Dolly’s new project.

Teaming up with bestselling author James Patterson for the new book, it’s titled Run, Rose, Run and will tell the story of a young singer with a dark secret that inspires her music. Drawing on Parton’s own experiences in the industry, she confirmed that she’ll release an album of the same name to coincide with the novel’s publishing next year. Featuring 12 new songs inspired by the book, fans will notice that many of the lyrics have been threaded out the novel too – for consistency. 

“She didn’t want to get involved in something just to put her name on it. She really wanted to be involved,” Patterson said of Dolly in an interview back when the news was first announced. “She’s not going to do something if she doesn’t think she’s going to do it well.” And we have no doubts that she will… do it well that is. Especially given her past body of work, the woman can do no wrong in our eyes. Expected to hit shop shelves in March 2022, Run, Rose, Run will be available in print, ebook and audiobook too. 

That’s still a few months away though, so we recommend picking up one of the below titles to tide you over while you wait. 

This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps 

celebrity books

Full of the same unfiltered storytelling Busy fans have come to know and love her for, This Will Only Hurt A Little is a New York Times bestseller that often feels more like an open diary than a memoir. 

Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor 

celebrity books

According to The Independent, Rememberings is “a book so good you’ll want to read it twice.” An intimate look into the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s upbringing and childhood, it details everything from her music career, to her “ongoing spiritual quest” and  “misadventures in the world of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll”. 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

celebrity books

The woman behind the iconic hit that is Mean Girls, Tina Fey has long established herself as being very, very funny. As good down on paper as she is on-screen or onstage,  Bossypants is a laugh-out-loud autobiography that looks back on the comedian’s life and career. 

Open Book by Jessica Simpson 

celebrity books

A “mesmerising memoir of recovery and x-ennial fame” according to The New Yorker, Open Book has proven to be a big hit – both with those who were already fans of Jessica Simpson and with those who knew little to nothing about her beforehand. 

Holding, Graham Norton

celebrity books

Soon to be made into a four-part series for ITV, Holding marks Norton’s first full-length foray into the fiction world.  A “darkly comic” novel, the action takes place in the small insular village of Duneen where the discovery of human remains sends ripples of unease through the local community. 

My Body, Emily Ratajkowski 

celebrity books

If you read (and liked) her hugely popular essay for The Cut last year, then model Emily Ratajkowski’s new book is sure to tickle your fancy too. A deeply honest investigation of what it means to be a woman, it covers topics such as feminism, sexuality, and the grey area between consent and abuse. 

Come Again by Robert Webb

celebrity books

The Peep Show actor’s debut novel, it centres on Kate; a new widow who wakes up and suddenly finds herself as her 18-year-old self again. 

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks 

celebrity books

A collection of 17 short stories from the multi Oscar-award winner,  Uncommon Type is most definitely like a box of chocolates and you never know just what you might get. 

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming 

celebrity books

A powerful story of “embracing the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside” as per the Goodreads description, Alan Cummings manages to recount details of his childhood all while still maintaining his characteristic wit and humour. A great audiobook listen. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kahling 

celebrity books

One of several books from The Mindy Project creator, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) sees the actress invite fans into her life as she gives her own unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood. 

What Remains by Carole Radziwell

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Real Housewives of New York fans will recognise the name Carole Radziwell, but for those of you who don’t, she’s an American journalist, author, and TV personality. What Remains is the heartbreaking story about her life as a widow following the loss of her husband Anthony Radziwill (who was a first cousin of John F Kennedy, Jr.)

Three others worth mentioning are Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodges, Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola, and Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love. All well-established writers/journalists, you could argue that their “celebrity” status is second to their actual writing careers but let’s not get bogged down in the specifics – a good book is a good book, after all.