Books

06.25.13

Book Bag: Rosecrans Baldwin’s Favorite Celebrity Memoirs

Who knew? Rosecrans Baldwin, the author of the novel You Lost Me There and the memoir Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down, now out in paperback, is an avid reader of celebrity memoirs. He picks his five favorites.

With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant

By Richard E. Grant

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Juicy, panic-stricken, fast-paced notes from Hollywood auditions and film sets. Grant starred in the British cult favorite Withnail & I and went on to L.A. Story, The Player, Dracula, and Gosford Park. Even in the most ridiculous moments, an observant, compassionate intelligence shines. Though I don’t see how anyone could finish this book and want to be a screen actor.

Open: An Autobiography

By Andre Agassi

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It helps to like the tennis, but Agassi’s confessions about wearing a wig on court—for a while he was doing anything to hide his balding—should be enough. Agassi is candid and self-effacing throughout, if anything a little overindulgent. But his relationships with the father figures in his life give the story real heft. Sort of a sportsman’s take on Mommie Dearest.

The Furies

By Janet Hobhouse

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It’s sold as a novel, but considered to be autobiographical: a woman’s coming-of-age story, from bleak England to bleak New York. But Hobhouse’s prose provides all the light that’s denied to the narrator. The celebrity quotient arrives when Philip Roth plays a cameo role as a lover. This is kind of a sister book, for Roth completists, to his ex-wife Claire Bloom’s tell-all, Leaving a Doll’s House.

Life

By Keith Richards

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James Fox got Keith’s voice just right. All the shenanigans’ details do get tiresome, but I couldn’t put this one down. And I can’t imagine Mick, in Keith’s place, yielding enough control to produce something so hairy, rich, and fun.

The Old Man and the Boy

By Robert Ruark

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Robert Ruark is a celebrity in places where hunting is a way of life. The book collects Ruark’s amusing columns for Field & Stream about learning from his grandfather how to fish, camp, and not shoot himself. Sort of like if Mark Twain wrote the Boy Scout handbook.