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And not the ones you think I’m going to talk about

Obviously, celebrity memoirs have been incredibly popular for years. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are interested in the lives of the rich and famous. Maybe we won’t tell just anyone that we read Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me, but I bet some of us have. At the very least, you probably know it was published. If you didn’t know Spare by Prince Harry was written, maybe you need to get up and go outside. Even if you don’t really find celebrities all that fascinating, there is probably someone you would be interested in reading about. I’m not a big fan girl, but here are some memoirs I’ve been checking out. 

Energy Follows Thought by Willie Nelson

Everyone can sing along with at least one Willie Nelson song. On the Road Again? Always on my Mind? Even if you didn’t know you knew a song by Willie Nelson, you probably do. One of the main figures of the outlaw country subgenre from the late 1960s, Willie is now 90 years old. In recognition of his long career, Willie has provided the stories behind 160 of his most well-known songs. That seems like a lot of songs, but considering he’s written over 2500 songs, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Complete with never-before-seen photos and ephemera, this is a great book for Willie Nelson fans or for anyone who just loves music. ‘Tis the season for giving, and this is a very giftable book. 

Walking With Sam by Andrew McCarthy

You may know Andrew McCarthy from Pretty in Pink or Weekend at Bernie’s. He also won a Tony and worked as a travel writer for National Geographic. As it happens, his son Sam is also an actor — one I might actually recognize, because he was recently in the show Dead to Me. This is the story of Andrew and Sam’s walk on the Camino de Santiago. If you are unfamiliar, the Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes in Europe that lead to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This book acts as a travelogue and an intimate look at a father-son relationship as they travel 500 miles by foot over five weeks. 

Being Henry by Henry Winkler

Most people think of The Fonz when they think of Henry Winkler, even if they have never actually seen an episode of Happy Days. To younger fans, Winkler may be known for roles in Arrested Development or Parks and Recreation. If you are an avid library or children’s literature fan, you may know him as the author of the Hank Zipper series. What you may not know is that he had a difficult childhood, living with severe dyslexia and its difficulties. Known by many as the nicest man in Hollywood, this is the story of Winkler’s rise and struggles in show business. 

Chita by Chita Rivera

Our second 90-year-old on today’s list, Chita Rivera, takes us backstage for some of Broadway’s greatest performances and most famous names. Chita played Anita in West Side Story, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie, and Velma in Chicago — as well as many other iconic roles. She has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Liza Minnelli, Bob Fosse, and too many others to name here. She has won Tony Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and numerous other accolades for her work. While a couple of reviews state there is a lot of name-dropping in this memoir, it’s almost unavoidable: she worked with some of the most recognized talents of the last few decades. And isn’t that why we all read celebrity memoirs anyway? Hand this one to your Broadway-loving friends and family. 

If you are looking for more celebrity memoirs check out: 

  • Making it So by Patrick Stewart
  • Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones by Dolly Parton
  • Leslie F*cking Jones by Leslie Jones

Sarah Johnson is a collection librarian at Mid-Columbia Libraries. She reads more than 120 books a year. In her free time, she teaches fitness classes, gardens, and brews kombucha.