Unlike many of my writer friends, I did not spend my youth with my face in the classics. I read “good books” for school. Well, I skimmed them. Ask my 9th grade English teacher about my Catcher in the Rye book report. I missed that Holden was in a mental institution at the end. Details, details. But I did read. A lot. I read Seventeen Magazine, Vogue, and the writings of Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs and countless other beauties. I hoped to find the answer to how to be attractive in these pages. Really, they should have been one sentence, “Be born lucky.” In my senior year of high school, when friends were reading (or pretending to read) Kafka, Kant, and Nietzsche, I was reading Knock Wood, Candice Bergen’s memoir. It was really, well written, funny, self-deprecating and it had pretty pictures.
After high school, I got with the program. I realized I needed to be reading books (or be seen reading books) that made me appear to be voracious and intelligent, not like the person who reads one book a year. For about six months, I carried around The Brothers Karamazov. I liked, it but it was SO LONG! And so many characters!!
My reading life has now evolved into mostly books I have to read to review, or for research, there’s very little pleasure reading. But when I’ve got some time, and my brain feels like it’s going to explode, I go back to the celeb memoirs that I enjoyed so much as a teen.
Here’s a list of my favorite guilty pleasures as I would have listed them in high school.
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Class Clown: Tina Fey — BossypantsMy daughter asked me to stop reading this because I laughed so hard my face got red.
Best Friend: Gabourey Sidibe — This Is Just My Face: Try Not to StareI loved every page, and wished Gabby was my friend (she isn’t, and I don’t think she ever will be, sadly).
Most Likely to Make You Cry: Kimberly Williams-Paisley — Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her AgainSo beautiful and moving, I cried and hugged this book.
Biggest Flirt: Diane Keaton — Then AgainIf you don’t love Diane Keaton, we have nothing more to say each other.
Most Likely To Succeed: Lena Dunham — Not That Kind of GirlLena Dunham has done amazing things and we sometimes forget she did them SO YOUNG!
Most Musical: Bruce Springsteen — Born to RunThis kid has what it takes, I think he could be a big star.
Best Debater: Wendy Davis — Forgetting to Be AfraidThis book was amazing and totally unsung.
Best Sportsmanship: R.A. Dickey — Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect KnuckleballIf you love baseball, you love R.A. Dickey. He reminds me of the great players of the days of yore. And he’s smart and he can write.
Biggest Gossip: Tori Spelling — Spelling it Like It IsShe calls Katie Holmes plastic, ’nuff said.
Life Of The Party: Chelsea Handler — Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, ChelseaHilarious and not afraid to say anything. I would also want to be her friend, she won’t be mine.
Biggest Over-Achiever: Amy Poehler — Yes PleaseOh, I love Amy Poehler. This book was like hanging out with her.
Teacher’s Pet: Amy Sedaris — I Like You: Hospitality Under the InfluenceSometimes we need to entertain and Amy shows us how in a sort of anti-Martha Stewart way.
Original illustrations: Joanna Neborsky; Author Photo: © Sarah Shatz