New Book Releases: May 2011 Celebrity Memoirs and Biographies


The first few weeks of May are so packed with celebrity memoirs and biographies that I decided to create a separate list to keep track of them all. Check out these new releases:

If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between.

Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White’s wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty’s candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen (“I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out”) to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already.

Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.

From This Moment On by Shania Twain
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
The world may know Shania Twain as many things: a music legend, a mother, and recently, a fixture in the news for her painful, public divorce and subsequent marriage to a cherished friend. But in this extraordinary autobiography, Shania reveals that she is so much more. She is Eilleen Twain, one of five children born into poverty in rural Canada, where her family often didn’t have enough food to send her to school with lunch. She’s the teenage girl who helped her mother and young siblings escape to a battered woman’s shelter to put an end to the domestic violence in her family home. And she’s the courageous twenty-two-year-old who sacrificed to keep her younger siblings together after her parents were tragically killed in a car accident.

Shania Twain’s life has evolved from a series of pivotal moments, and in unflinching, heartbreaking prose, Shania spares no details as she takes us through the events that have made her who she is. She recounts her difficult childhood, her parents’ sudden death and its painful aftermath, her dramatic rise to stardom, her devastating betrayal by a trusted friend, and her joyful marriage to the love of her life. From these moments, she offers profound, moving insights into families, personal tragedies, making sense of one’s life, and the process of healing. Shania Twain is a singular, remarkable woman who has faced enormous odds and downfalls, and her extraordinary story will provide wisdom, inspiration, and hope for almost anyone.

Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir by Steven Tyler
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
“I’ve been mythicized, Mick-icized, eulogized and fooligized, I’ve been Cole-Portered and farmer’s-daughtered, I’ve been Led Zepped and 12-stepped. I’m a rhyming fool and so cool that me, Fritz the Cat, and Mohair Sam are the baddest cats that am. I have so many outrageous stories, too many, and I’m gonna tell ’em all. All the unexpurgated, brain-jangling tales of debauchery, sex & drugs, transcendence & chemical dependence you will ever want to hear.”

The son of a classical pianist straight out of the Bronx of old Archie comics, Steven Tyler was born to be a rock star. Weaned on Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Mick—and his beloved Janis Joplin—Tyler began tearing up the streets and the stage as a teenager before finally meeting his “mutant twin” and legendary partner Joe Perry. In this addictively readable memoir, told in the playful, poetic voice that is uniquely his own, Tyler unabashedly recounts the meteoric rise, fall, and rise of Aerosmith over the last three decades and riffs on the music that gives it all meaning.

Tyler tells what it’s like to be a living legend and the frontman of one of the world’s most revered and infamous bands—the debauchery, the money, the notoriety, the fights, the motels and hotels, the elevators, limos, buses and jets, the rehab. He reveals the spiritual side that “gets lost behind the stereotype of the Sex Guy, the Drug Guy, the Demon of Screamin’, the Terror of the Tropicana.” And he talks about his epic romantic life and his relationship with his four children. As dazzling, bold, and out-on-the-edge as the man himself, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? is an all-access backstage pass into this extraordinary showman’s life.

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.

His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man,” but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer.

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
A major publishing event: an unprecedented look into the life of the woman who most singularly shaped Barack Obama-his mother.

Barack Obama has written extensively about his father, but little is known about Stanley Ann Dunham, the fiercely independent woman who raised him, the person he credits for, as he says, “what is best in me.” Here is the missing piece of the story.

Award-winning reporter Janny Scott interviewed nearly two hundred of Dunham’s friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this woman’s inspiring and untraditional life, and to show the remarkable extent to which she shaped the man Obama is today.

Dunham’s story moves from Kansas and Washington state to Hawaii and Indonesia. It begins in a time when interracial marriage was still a felony in much of the United States, and culminates in the present, with her son as our president- something she never got to see. It is a poignant look at how character is passed from parent to child, and offers insight into how Obama’s destiny was created early, by his mother’s extraordinary faith in his gifts, and by her unconventional mothering. Finally, it is a heartbreaking story of a woman who died at age fifty-two, before her son would go on to his greatest accomplishments and reflections of what she taught him.

Robert Redford: The Biography by Michael Feeney Callan
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
The long-anticipated biography of Robert Redford.

Among the most widely admired Hollywood stars of his generation, Redford has appeared onstage and on-screen, in front of and behind the camera, earning Academy, Golden Globe, and a multitude of other awards and nominations for acting, directing, and producing, and for his contributions to the arts. His Sundance Film Festival transformed the world of filmmaking; his films defined a generation. America has come to know him as the Sundance Kid, Bob Woodward, Johnny Hooker, Jay Gatsby, and Roy Hobbs. But only now, with this revelatory biography, do we see the surprising and complex man beneath the Hollywood façade.

From Redford’s personal papers—journals, script notes, correspondence—and hundreds of hours of taped interviews, Michael Feeney Callan brings the legendary star into focus. Here is his scattered family background and restless childhood, his rocky start in acting, the death of his son, his star-making relationship with director Sydney Pollack, the creation of Sundance, his political activism, his artistic successes and failures, his friendships and romances. This is a candid, surprising portrait of a man whose iconic roles on-screen (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, The Natural) and directorial brilliance (Ordinary People, Quiz Show) have both defined and obscured one of the most celebrated, and, until now, least understood, public figures of our time.

American Outlaw by Jesse James
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Jesse James has survived lower depths, faced harder times, and beaten down more private demons than most—and lived to tell his story with honesty, introspection, and humility.

 

 

 

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant
Available May 3, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Jennifer Grant is the only child of Cary Grant, who was, and continues to be, the epitome of all that is elegant, sophisticated, and deft. Almost half a century after Cary Grant’s retirement from the screen, he remains the quintessential romantic comic movie star. He stopped making movies when his daughter was born so that he could be with her and raise her, which is just what he did.

Good Stuff is an enchanting portrait of the profound and loving relationship between a daughter and her father, who just happens to be one of America’s most iconic male movie stars.

Cary Grant’s own personal childhood archives were burned in World War I, and he took painstaking care to ensure that his daughter would have an accurate record of her early life. In Good Stuff, Jennifer Grant writes of their life together through her high school and college years until Grant’s death at the age of eighty-two.

Cary Grant had a happy way of living, and he gave that to his daughter. He invented the phrase “good stuff” to mean happiness. For the last twenty years of his life, his daughter experienced the full vital passion of her father’s heart, and she now—delightfully—gives us a taste of it.

She writes of the lessons he taught her; of the love he showed her; of his childhood as well as her own . . . Here are letters, notes, and funny cards written from father to daughter and those written from her to him . . . as well as bits of conversation between them (Cary Grant kept a tape recorder going for most of their time together).

She writes of their life at 9966 Beverly Grove Drive, living in a farmhouse in the midst of Beverly Hills, playing, laughing, dining, and dancing through the thick and thin of Jennifer’s growing up; the years of his work, his travels, his friendships with “old Hollywood royalty” (the Sinatras, the Pecks, the Poitiers, et al.) and with just plain-old royalty (the Rainiers) . . .

We see Grant the playful dad; Grant the clown, sharing his gifts of laughter through his warm spirit; Grant teaching his daughter about life, about love, about boys, about manners and money, about acting and living.

Cary Grant was given the indefinable incandescence of charm. He was a pip . . .

Good Stuff captures his special quality. It gives us the magic of a father’s devotion (and goofball-ness) as it reveals a daughter’s special odyssey and education of loving, and being loved, by a dad who was Cary Grant.

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea’s Family, Friends, and Other Victims
Available May 10, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
“My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate.”–Chelsea Handler, from Chapter 10 of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

It’s no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out “dumbassness,” the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers–they’ve all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they’ve lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them.

Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man by Chaz Bono
Available May 10, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Chaz Bono’s groundbreaking and candid account of a forty-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body and his transformation from female to male

At first, America knew the only child of Sonny and Cher as Chastity, the cherubic little girl who appeared on her parents’ TV show. In later years, she became famous for coming out on a national stage, working with two major organizations toward LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and publishing two books. And just within the past eighteen months, Chaz Bono has entered the public consciousness as the most high-profile transgender person ever.

All through the hoopla surrounding his change, Chaz has insisted on maintaining his privacy. Now, in Transition, Chaz finally tells his story. Part One traces his decision to transition, beginning in his childhood-when he played on the boys’ teams and wore boys’ clothing whenever possible-and going through his painful, but ultimately joyful, coming out in his twenties, up to 2008, when, after the death of his father, drug addiction, and five years of sobriety, Chaz was finally ready to begin the process of changing his gender. In Part Two, he offers an unprecedented record in words and photographs of the actual transition, a real-time diary as he navigates uncharted waters. These chapters capture the day-to-day momentum of his life as his body changes.

Throughout the book, Chaz touches on themes of identity, gender, and sexuality; parents and children; and how harboring secrets shatters the soul. It is an amazing contribution to our understanding of a much- misunderstood community.

Familyhood by Paul Reiser
Available May 10, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
In the number one New York Times bestseller Couplehood, Paul Reiser wrote about the highs and lows of falling in love and getting married — and the heartbreak and hilarity that comes with it. In Babyhood, he turned his sharply observant eye to the experiences of having a brand-new family. And now in Familyhood, Reiser shares his observations on parenting, marriage, and mid-life with the wit, warmth, and humor that he’s so well-known for. From the first experience of sending his two boys off to summer camp — the early feelings of gleeful freedom in an empty house, to realizing how empty the house actually was — to maneuvering the minefield of bad words learned at school, this hilarious new book captures the spirit of familyhood, the logical next frontier for Reiser’s trademark perspective on the universal truths of life, love, and relationships.

The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom by Ronald Reagan
Available May 10, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Ronald Reagan’s The Notes is a fascinating window into the mind of our fortieth president and the writers and thinkers to whom he turned for advice, inspiration, humor, and hope. Collected by the Ronald Reagan Foundation, the book includes both Reagan’s own writing and his favorite quotations, proverbs, and excerpts from speeches, poetry, and literature. The breadth of these notes sheds light on a man who was deeply engaged with the arts, culture, and politics, from his time as one of the nation’s most popular actors to later years as one of its most beloved presidents. Known as the “Great Communicator,” Reagan sought wisdom from a wide-ranging set of political figures, philosophers, novelists, and poets, including Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson, as well as Mohandas Gandhi, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Mark Twain, and Thomas Wolfe.

While the number one New York Times bestselling Reagan Diaries detailed daily life inside the Oval Office, The Notes encapsulates a lifetime of reflections on work, marriage, and family in classic one-liners such as “Flattery is what makes husbands out of bachelors” and “Money may not buy friends, but it will help you to stay in contact with your children.” Reagan’s own writing—his jokes, aphorisms, and insights into politics and life—is often surprising and reveals a view of the president that has rarely before been seen.

Historic, illuminating, and deeply captivating, The Notes is a remarkable collection of the thoughts of one of our most beloved presidents.

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
Available May 31, 2010 (Order on Amazon)

From the publisher:
Over the course of the last five years, Tim Tebow established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football and a top prospect in the NFL. During that time he amassed an unparalleled resume—winning two BCS national championships, becoming the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman trophy, and in the face of massive public scrutiny, being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.

Now, in Through My Eyes, Tebow brings readers everywhere an inspirational memoir about life as he chose to live it, revealing how his faith and family values, combined with his relentless will to succeed, have molded him into the person that he is today. As the son of Christian missionaries, Tebow has a unique story to tell—from the circumstances of his birth, to his home-schooled roots, to his record-setting collegiate football career with the Florida Gators and everything else that took place in between.

At every step, Tebow’s life has defied convention and expectation. While aspects of his life have been well-documented, the stories have always been filtered through the opinions and words of others. Through My Eyes is his passionate, firsthand, never-before-told account of how it all really happened.

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