A Book About Fame: Picks for the TPL Reading Challenge 2021

June 28, 2021 | Myrna

Comments (0)

Reading challenge blog banner

From celebrity memoirs to chilling dystopias, there are many ways to complete TPL Reading Challenge's "a book about fame" category. Library staff and Reading Challenge participants have shared their favourite books which explore fame, infamy and celebrity culture. 

Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina Longworth 

Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina Longworth 

Karina Longworth explores Hollywood's Golden Age through the lives of Howard Hughes' girlfriends, wives and contract film stars. The women at the book's heart aspire to fame and celebrity, but contend with a misogynistic industry, and Hughes' emotional and financial abuse. The book tells the stories of stars like Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner, as well as aspiring actresses who never achieved lasting fame. Longworth know her celebrity stories, she is the host of the long running Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This

Other Reading Challenge categories: 

  • A book about someone unlike yourself
  • A book by or about someone you'd like to meet

The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

The gods appear on earth as pop stars in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's comic series. I love how the series' writing and art combine to give readers a decidedly 21st century take on devotion and the divine. 

Other Reading Challenge categories: 

  • A book that is the first in a series

Staff Recommendations

Find "a book about fame" among these recommendations from our staff.

National Treasure: Nicolas Cage by Lindsay Gibb

National Treasure: Nicolas Cage by Lindsay Gibb

Nicolas Cage is a GIF legend, an Oscar winning actor delivering wildly over-the-top performances, and someone who starred in one of my personal favourite bad movies of all time: The Wicker Man ("how'd it get burned!" & "not the bees!"). Whether you love him or hate him, think he is a genius or a hack, you'll enjoy this a deep dive into Cage's eclectic body of work. This book is hilarious, well researched and aims to convince us all that Nicolas Cage is in fact the greatest actor of all time...

Other Reading Challenge categories: 

  • A book about someone unlike yourself
  • A book by or about someone you'd like to meet
  • A debut book
  • A book about love (not just the romantic kind)
  • A book about someone who is living your dream

— Reagan, Librarian

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

This is a story about the diverging fortunes of three siblings from Hawai'i. One develops strange powers, and the notoriety that comes with them, after an early encounter with sharks (and possibly with ancient Hawai'ian gods). Another becomes an elite athlete. All three are wrenched by the tension between being successful in the world and staying in touch with their sacred roots.

Other Reading Challenge categories: 

  • a debut book
  • a book about love (not just the romantic kind)

— Wendy, Digital Content Lead

Confident Women: Swindlers  Grifters  and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion by Tori Telfer 

Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion by Tori Telfer 

Another non-fiction pick, this time the book focuses on con artists- a slightly different kind of fame if you will. Each chapter is about a different woman and some of the stories are just outrageous. It's nice because it's one of those books you can pick up after a break and just continue reading without the struggle to remember what was going on. The book covers a wide swath of time, some of the stories going back to the 18th century (albeit with the caveat that a lot of the details of the swindle can't be confirmed). Some of these women might not be as famous now, but maybe this book will bring them back into the spotlight?

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • A book published this year
  • A book that is someone else's favourite
  • A book about someone unlike yourself
  • A book that is narrative non-fiction

— Pauline, Librarian

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures by Alan Cumming

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures by Alan Cumming

This book reads like a sassily-annotated Instagram feed, complete with selfies, cat pictures and celebs-in-compromising-positions (Stars, They're Just Like Us!). Alan Cumming's filmography, television and theatre work is so numerous that the list necessitates its own Wikipedia page; where do you know him from? Spy Kids? Spice World? The Good Wife? Cabaret? No matter -- this book will make you feel like his best friend for a night, and a boozy brunch the morning after. Alan whisks you through the narrow backstage halls of Studio 54 during his star-making turn as the Emcee on Broadway in the late '90's, to his humble Scottish hometown and back again. There are touchstones of depth found throughout throughout this journey too, making it a fun and satisfying read. 

— Kayla, Public Service Assistant

Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick

Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick

Written in 1974, this novel is set 14 years in the (contemporary) future, after a second American civil war and the institution of a police state. Genetically enhanced celebrity host Jason Taverner (whose hit single's title I mustn't post here), has a run in with suicidal former protegé Marilyn Mason. He wakes up in obscurity. Nobody knows who he is and he has no ID. But his bank account still works and so he has to buy forged ID. Before long the police are looking for him, and the only one who still knows who he really is is a drug addled fan.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • A book set in the future

— Pat, Services Specialist

Confess: The Autobiography by Rob Halford

Confess: The Autobiography by Rob Halford

Written by "The Metal God" himself, this is a wonderfully written autobiography capturing Rob Halford's decades in the music business. Humourous, heartbreaking, honest, and beautifully unashamed.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • A book about music

— Sephora, Senior Department Head

Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicole Kraus

A story told from a perspective of a young woman, who realizes that she never got over her (somehow randomly chosen) junior high sweetheart, who also happened to become a major rock star and an international celebrity, while she leads a quiet and rather uneventful life.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • A book about music
  • A book about love (not just the romantic kind)

— Anna, Public Service Assistant

Juliet  Naked by Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Can anybody be too obsessed about their idol? The main character of the story fits the tab. To make it more bizarre the object of his obsession is not even that famous anymore - once a super star, the artist chose obscurity, but it wouldn't stop the most dedicated fan from attempting to find him. The paths of the fan and the idol will cross, but with the most unexpected results...

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • A book about music
  • A book about love (not just the romantic kind)

— Anna, Public Service Assistant

Recommendations from the Facebook Group

These are just some of the recommendations from our Facebook TPL Reading Challenge 2021 discussion group.

 


We discussed this category, along with "a book about love (not just the romantic kind)" and "a book in a genre you've never read before" at our March 2021 Reading Challenge Online Book Discussion. If you missed the live event, you can watch the replay on CrowdCast or on Facebook

 

What is your favourite book about fame (or infamy)? Share in the comments below!

Comments