Monday Monday

Furious K had a very, very stressful week this week, so there will be two posts next week, one on Monday and the other on Friday. Have a fabulous weekend!

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When Paul Feig Says “Please Don’t Read This Chapter,” He Means It.

As you can see, I finally settled on Paul Feig for the celebrity author of the week. For those of you who don’t know Mr. Feig’s work, he created cult classic T.V. series Freaks and Geeks, played science teacher “Mr. Gene Pool” on the first season of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, had a part on the very short-lived Dirty Dancing T.V. series from the late-eighties*, and recently served as a co-executive producer on The Office.

He also wrote Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin, which chronicles Feig’s sexual awakening/young adult love life. I felt for younger Feig, as it is very clear the man was very, very sexually frustrated, the frustration brought on by a conflict with his religious beliefs. I wish Feig had touched more on this, as I found his “conversations”  with God entertaining and so true. Religion and sex are both touchy subjects when faced separately, but bring them together and it’s so weird–you follow these beliefs, but what to do about the biological urges?

Then again, if Feig spent the entirety of Superstud discussing the eternal debate of biology v. theology, we wouldn’t get to read his awkward yet hilarious dating stories. I spent most of the book alternating between laughter and cooing “awwww” at his various romantic misfortunes. One story in particular involves the situation everyone has found themselves in: thirteen-year-old Feig falls for a pretty older woman (all of age sixteen) at a roller rink, he thinks it’s love. She loves him too–as a friend. How could you not sympathize?  I also loved Feig’s attention to detail, from the music he was listening to down to the color/brand of people’s shoes. It wasn’t distracting, it helped put you in his shoes, making his angst fresh.

Which is unfortunate when you get to  “Please Don’t Read This Chapter.” Seriously, don’t read it. My reaction went something like this: “hee hee…wait…what did he do?…what…oh shit…oh no…oh [expletive!] What the?! Are you serious? What?!” (and no, I’m not telling you what he did. I’m not a fan of spoilers, which is why I don’t post many lines from the books I critique.) That, uh, interesting chapter aside, I still highly recommend Superstud.

Have you read Superstud? Did you read the chapter Feig begged the readers not to read? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Oh! I keep forgetting. CLC has a twitter now. Follow @CelebLitClub, find out when this page is updated and read news relating to celebrity literature/literature in general! I’ll follow you back!

Next Week: How you doin’, Wendy Willams’ The Wendy Williams Experience: Queen of Radio?

*I found this tidbit on IMDb and just had to share.

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Nice try, Lauren Conrad…

Despite that I am blushing and giggling over a photo of a handsome man on a popular television show like a fourteen-year-old at the moment, I am actually not a teenager. Haven’t been for a few years now.

Which is why I didn’t finish L.A. Candy. I could have finished it–it’s not as if Conrad wrote the most challenging novel. But from the first page, I knew I wasn’t going to take much of it. (It opens with a dream sequence. I’ll leave it at that.)  The writing was very basic, and the plot is pretty much lifted from the first and second season of The Hills, with new names and places. This is rather bad–this really dates the book, and it wasn’t done intentionally (see: Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series.) This makes me sad. Books written for teenagers often have a bad reputation as being too condescending or too sexy or too vapid, the latter of which fits L.A. Candy. But, as I said before, I’m not the intended audience. If I were fourteen, I would’ve thought Conrad was like, such a great author, like, why are people giving her shit? OMG!

So, sorry for such a short review, but next week, I’ll have more. I don’t know what will go up next week…I’m torn between RuPaul’s Lettin’ It All Hang Out, Wendy Williams’ The Wendy Williams Experience and Paul Feig’s Kick Me: Adventures in Adolesence and Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin. I love all three of these people like no other. They’ll all be on the site at some point, but I’m still having a hard time choosing. (Also, I know Feig isn’t a celebrity in the traditional sense. Some of you may never have heard of him! However,  he’s a celebrity to me, as he created one of my favorite shows, the very short-lived Freaks and Geeks that aired on NBC during the 1999-2000 season. People in my age group may also remember him as Mr. Pool during the first season of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.)

Have you read L.A. Candy? What are your thoughts? Feel free to share in the comments section!

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Marvelous Marie Osmond!

Even before I read Might As Well Laugh About It Now, I had a high level of respect for Marie Osmond. The woman has over come so much in her career and personal life—divorce at twenty-five, a nasty bout of post-partum depression (which is chronicled in her first book, Healing from the Heart: The Inherent Power to Heal) and the recent suicide of her son, Michael Bryan. Although Might As Well Laugh About It Now was written before her son’s untimely death, I cannot believe how strong this woman is. She’s not boasting about her struggles, yet she doesn’t keep them a secret. To her it’s like, “yes, this happened, but I’m not going to dwell on it, I have to keep living my life.”

What I like is that Osmond admits that she had some help writing this book. Marcia Wilkie’s name is on the cover and on the spine, not hidden away in the publishing information page. She’s not going to pretend that she’s the greatest writer. I also like that she chose to write her book as a series of stand alone essays, rather than a grand narrative. You really do feel as if you’re in her kitchen, sharing her stories over a cup of (decaf) coffee.

It’s easy to accuse Osmond of sugar coating her stories—surely there must be some dirt on her famous family. If there is, she’s not going to embarrass her family just to make money. These stories are about Marie, which is a model more celebrity “authors” should follow.  I believe she’s being genuine—just because she didn’t struggle with a cocaine addiction or forgot to wear underwear on the day of a big red carpet event where there were 80,000 photographers doesn’t mean her stories are worthless. She had an eating disorder at a time when nobody really knew what they were or how to treat them. She was a television hostess at age sixteen, and didn’t completely lose her mind. Through it all, she managed to keep up good spirits and a sense of humor.

Most people in my age group (20-25) will most likely dismiss Might As Well Laugh About It Now as a corny, cheesy read. I say, don’t brush it off. With the way the world is, it’s nice to know that there are people who aren’t entirely bitter with the things life has dealt them. Yes, it’s light, but I guarantee you’ll smile.

Have you read Might As Well Laugh About It Now? What did you think? Was it too light? Were you expecting some scandalous Osmond dish? Let me know in the comments section!

Next Week: Lauren Conrad’s work of “fiction,” L.A. Candy

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The Telling Tales of Tori Spelling

As promised…the Tori Spelling entry!

New York Times Best Selling Author Victoria Davey Spelling, better known to you and me as Tori Spelling (or Donna Martin or “Screech’s nerdy girlfriend”) has two literary masterpieces to her name: sTORI Telling (2008) and Mommywood (2009) A third book, Uncharted TerriTORI is due in June, with her children’s book, Presenting…Tallulah due in October.

We’ll begin with sTORI Telling, where Tori tries to convince us that, despite her ultra fabulous upbringing, she is an average joe, just like you and me. Guess what? She succeeds. Although I did find myself rolling my eyes at her boo-hooing over things like how she didn’t get to choose the color of her first B.M.W. when she turned sixteen, take away the minor details like being on one of the biggest television shows of the nineties and having uber-producer Aaron Spelling for a father, and you have a regular girl fighting her way through adolescence and her twenties, which is something everyone can relate to on a certain level. That being said, there are two rather infamous sections–Tori discussing her affair with Mind Over Murder co-star Dean McDermott and her relationship with her mother. The one that got to me the most was not the latter (frankly, I feel a lot of the drama was sensationalized to sell books and keep the Spelling family in the press. I’ll dig into this a bit more when I review Tales From Candy Land , which will be when the Mid-Hudson or Westchester Library System gets it in.) but the former.

Tori should have been more upfront about her extramarital affair and not trying to write a romance novel. (I’m not joking, on page 185 she talks about her last night shooting a movie with Dean. Apparently, they sat next to each other writing lines like “I want to go to Paris with you” and “I want to marry you.” In the book, this written as  nasuseous-making line by line He wrote/I wrote exchange.) She’s trying to redeem her actions, but Tori, sweetie darling, guess what? You cheated. You’re a celebrity and you got caught cheating. You bet it’s going to get blown up in the media. (Although her actions were small potatoes compared to those of Tiger Woods and Jesse James.)

I’m in the middle about Mommywood, which is a collection of essays about Tori’s experiences as a mother of two trying to juggle her career and the want to be a stay-at-home mother. I really liked the book at first–Tori’s voice was more mature, less self-pitying, and her stories were actually cute. Then I tuned in to Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.

While watching, it hit me that perhaps Tori wasn’t writing from the perspective of Tori the girl from sTORI Telling, but Tori the girl from that show on Oxygen. “Oxygen Tori” is always “on.” Even when she’s not wearing make-up, even when she’s fighting with her husband, she is “on.” (of course, when you know you’re going to be filmed, you put on an act because you’re aware that other people are going to be watching.) It’s as if her handlers didn’t like the reputation she had gotten from sTORI Telling, and decided to rebrand her as real-life Donna Martin. Okay, that’s an odd metaphor, but I can’t really describe it. If you read the book first and then watch the fourth season, you’ll see what I’m talking about…I hope.

Have any of you read Tori Spellings works? Or would you prefer to think of her as the girl who played Donna Martin on 90210?  Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Next week: The Marvelous Marie Osmond!

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oops…

So…Wednesday afternoon has come and gone. I apologize for not being able to keep my promise. You will get my Tori review next week, when I’m not getting things together for a family trip or in the middle of phone interviews. ‘Til then, two interesting links I found this week, not long after my first review:

Franco Fiction, By The Numbers (Vanity Fair online)

Jezebel.com’s 20 Celebrity Bios You Should Read (some of them will appear on this site!)

and, since I did promise you Tori Spelling this week…

Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood (Season 5 premieres on Monday!)

Enjoy the holidays, and I will be back on April 9th!

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Esquire has published such great authors as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and Daniel Desario–er, I mean, James Franco

Surprise! Next week has come a bit early as I recently discovered that a short story of James Franco’s (Milk, Pineapple Express, Freaks and Geeks)  is featured in the April 2010 issue of Esquire, on pages 68-72. Getting published in Esquire, (or any magazine, really) is no small feat. Esquire launched the career of Raymond Carver (R.I.P.,) who many people claim helped revitalize the short story in the eighties. In college, I read two of his short stories: The Bath, written in 1981 and it’s revision, A Small Good Thing from 1983.

Which leads to my critique of Franco’s short story, Just Before The Black. As some of you may know, Franco has studied creative writing, getting his BA from UCLA and his MFA from Columbia. It shows. I felt like I was reading a copy of his assignment for an intermediate level creative writing class. For this assignment, the prompt given would have be something to the effect of  “Write about two men on a road trip, one is contemplating suicide and the other is kind of dimwitted, and throw in every road trip cliché–vintage car, having the two passengers argue and have “meaningful” conversations and the driver staring into space and having deep thoughts while he drives.” (The last paragraph talks about kaleidoscopic buildings coming up on the horizon as he drives his grandfather’s DeVille down the freeway, thinking about knights and how they used to feel. I’ll leave it at that.) Just Before The Black is from his short story collection Palo Alto, due out in October

For a first published story, the one that’s supposed to make readers want to buy a larger collection of his work, Just Before The Black is a bit too safe–which is more likely the fault of the publisher, not Franco’s. Perhaps there are better stories, we just have to wait until October to find out. My verdict is, don’t sell Franco short simply because of one clichéd story in a (sophisticated) men’s magazine. I must say, it was refreshing to read a story by a young celebrity that wasn’t about being a young celebrity, and that Esquire picked his short story rather than interviewing him and asking “how he stays in shape” or “how can I be as cool as Daniel Desario?” Again, I’d say wait until October before deciding whether he’s better off as a movie star or if he has the potential to be a true author.

Oh…I was supposed to write about Tori Spelling, wasn’t I? Don’t worry, I am actually working on that (Ms. Spelling has two 300+ page books for me to go through, while Esquire only gave me four pages of Franco’s work, hence the quick reviewing time.) and it will be up Wednesday afternoon. My updates will usually be on Fridays, I will be out-of-town with no access wi-fi this weekend.

Have you read Just Before The Black? What did you think of it? Feel free to discuss in the comments!

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