I don’t usually stray far outside the tight parameters of contemporary fiction, but last year I read a surprising number of memoirs. The highlights included Becoming by Michelle Obama, Educated by Tara Westover, The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
I enjoyed all of those books so much that I’ve made it my mission to read more celebrity memoirs (and biographies) throughout 2019. And here are 7 of the titles sitting at the top of my “must-read” list for the year…
1. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps
Busy Philipps is one of my favourite celebrities to follow on Instagram, and I can’t wait to delve into her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller. I also bought a copy for one of my best friends at Christmas.
2. In Pieces by Sally Field
I am SUCH a Sally Field fangirl! She warmed my heart as Nora Walker in Brothers & Sisters (still one of the greatest TV shows ever made, in my opinion), and her Emmy Award-winning stint in ER moved me to tears (ER is also one of the greatest TV shows ever made).
In Pieces has been described as “soulful, wry and witty” and I cannot wait to learn more about Field’s life and career.
3. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about NIKE creator Phil Knight’s memoir, which was released last year. I wouldn’t describe myself as a NIKE fan necessarily, but I’m so intrigued to learn more about the iconic brand and the man behind its conception. Have you read Shoe Dog already? What did you think?
4. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah is the son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, and at the time of his birth their union was punishable by five years in prison. In his award winning memoir, Noah shares what it was like to grow up in South Africa during the ’80s. Born a Crime won the 2017 Thurber prize, and I *must* read it ASAP!
5. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything In Between by Lauren Graham
As you know, I’m a Gilmore Girls obsessive. So it’s actually quite surprising that I still haven’t read Lauren Graham’s collection of personal essays. I think I half expect this to be written by Lorelai Gilmore herself, so I need to find a way to separate Graham from her character before I pick up a copy.
6. Robin by Dave Itzkoff
Okay, so this is obviously a biography, rather than a memoir. But it seemed fitting to include within this post, so please ignore the blog post’s title for a moment…
Robin Williams is one of my favourite actors of all time, and I still feel a wave of sadness whenever I think about the fact he’s no longer with us. New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff had profiled Williams a number of times throughout his later years, and he speaks to friends, family and colleagues of Williams in this bestselling biography.
7. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
I don’t know if Lisa Brennan-Jobs can technically be classed as a “celebrity”. But as Steve Jobs’ daughter she is definitely a public figure, and a person of interest.
Anyone who has seen the Michael Fassbender movie Steve Jobs will know that the Apple founder wasn’t particularly present throughout Lisa’s early years. And this memoir documents her childhood and adolescence, which was spent moving between two unique and disparate homes.
I first heard about Small Fry in a New York Times podcast, as it was named one of their books of the year, in 2018. It’s received such high praise, so has quickly jumped to the top of my “must read” list for the year.
[FYI, since writing this post I’ve read Small Fry and I really enjoyed it!]
Which celebrity memoirs and biographies are on your reading list for 2019? And remember you can sign up to the Coco’s Tea Party Book Club community to receive a monthly email packed with book recommendations and exclusive author interviews…
Photo by Lydia Collins