Tag Archives: celebrities

Yet Another Best Of List

Because of a technical glitch, my selections for favorite books read in 2014 didn’t quite make it into the annual Stuff We Like edition of Eleventh Stack.

This just means now I get to tell you all about the great things I discovered this year in MY VERY OWN POST.

Funny how life works out that way.

History of the RainYou already know how much I loved History of the Rain, the Man Booker Prize nominated novel by Niall Williams. As we come to year’s end, this remains one of my favorite books I read in 2014. It has one of my favorite quotes as its second paragraph:

“We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. That’s how it seems to me, being alive for a little while, the teller and the told.” (pg. 1) 

Glitter and Glue

Another book that I loved right away was Kelly Corrigan’s memoir Glitter and Glue.  Now, some may say I’m partial to Ms. Corrigan’s writing because, like me, she’s a Philly girl. That certainly helps, but the fact remains that she’s a damn good writer – and Glitter and Glue is a fantastic follow-up (actually, it’s somewhat of a prequel) to The Middle Place.


I read a lot of poetry this year, and much of what I read was by poets who were new-t0-me. My favorite poetry book is actually a single poem in book-length form.  Edward Hirsch’s work was among my favorites before 2014, which made Gabriel: A Poem a highly-anticipated read.  A tribute to and reflection on his loss of his son, Mr. Hirsch’s heartbreak cracks your heart open with the grief on every line he writes.

Love Life

Finally, this was the year of the audiobook – at least for me.  I listened to a total of 20, mostly during my commute to and from my job here at the Library.  (Those minutes sitting in traffic on the Vet’s Bridge really do add up. Who knew?)  Among those who kept me awake was none other than Rob Lowe, who filled my car with long-ago tales of debauchery, a tearjerker about sending his son off to college, and a female co-star who had a difficult time kissing him. (Note to Rob: if you ever find yourself in such a predicament again, drop me a note and I’ll help you out.) Now, celebrity memoirs by people who don’t even need their name on the book cover are usually not my thing, but if you grew up in the ’80s as I did, you might find Love Life irresistible.

What books, music and movies did you find irresistible in 2014?

~ Melissa F.


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The Masque of the Red (Carpet) Death

With apologies to Poe, it would seem that a fascination with celebrity deaths does, indeed, hold sway over all, especially when three cultural icons pass in quick succession. Where does this morbid interest come from? Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect it might be part of the larger pattern of the human condition.

If I were the only person who ponders questions like these, I’d worry about myself a little. Luckily (or not, depending on your point of view) I’m not alone in my curiosity. Here are a few works that touch on the tragic ends of the rich and famous:

The Hollywood Book of Death, James Robert Parish.

The Last Days of Dead Celebrities, Mitchell Fink.

Tombstones: Final Resting Places of the Famous, Gregg Felsen.

They Went That-A-Way, Malcolm Forbes and Jeff Bloch.

Death Certificates of the Rich and Famous, Gerard H. Reinert.

Incidentally, the notion that deaths come in threes was first formally documented in 1858. According to Oxford’s Dictionary of Superstitions, “The inhabitants of Keighley [Yorkshire, England] say, ‘If the coroner once enter the town, he is sure to be required other twice in a very short time.'” 

–Leigh Anne, who promises to write about something cheerful next time, like puppies, kittens, or rainbows.

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summer reading

Ah, summer.  Time to relax, take a vacation, lie in the grass…  or not.  Kids may get the lazy days of summer, but many of us adults keep going to work, schlepping the kids around, running errands and pretty much continuing what we do all year round.  Still, that’s no excuse not to participate in Adult Summer Reading!  Especially since any kind of reading counts, including quick reads like the unfortunate series of children’s books that I’ve been reading lately, graphic novels, even magazines

My personal favorites have always been the decorating magazines.  I have to tell you, Art et Décoration (art-decoration.dekio.fr) changed my life, despite the fact that I don’t understand a word of it.  It came along at a time when I wouldn’t paint my walls anything but shades of white and saved me from myself.  And before I ever read Bridget Jones’s Diary, or any of Sophie Kinsella’s delightful novels, Ideal Home (www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk) let me see what their homes might look like, or at least what they might want them to look like.

Mental Floss (www.mentalfloss.com) is a great one for those whose thirst for knowledge is sated with sips of information from all across the subject spectrum, while Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) can help you understand the behavior of your fellow homo sapiens.  Pittsburgh Magazine (www.wqed.org/mag/) helps me to understand my fellow Pittsburgher; if you’re interested in people, you might also enjoy Life & Style (www.lifeandstylemag.com), People (www.people.com) or In Touch (www.intouchweekly.com).  Food tends to come in higher on the priority list for me, so Vegetarian Times (www.vegetariantimes.com), Bon Appetit (http://www.bonappetit.com/) and Cooking Light (www.cookinglight.com) are my obsession, and I love to get the inside scoop on our local food scene with Table (www.tablemagazine.com).

With summer reading this easy, who cares about the prizes?  You know you’re reading anyway, so sign up today!


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15 minutes of fame

Most of you have probably heard some version of Andy Warhol’s famous quote: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” I’m waiting for my moment of fame to come along, but in the meantime I spend a lot of time reading celebrity biographies.  I like to think of it as practice, so I’ll know what to do when I’m finally rich and famous. Actors and actresses like Clara Bow, Elizabeth Taylor, Ann Margret, and Orson Welles have each had some memorable celebrity moments, and luckily for us it’s all captured in their biographies.  Television actresses shouldn’t be overlooked eitherthe biographies and autobiographies of actresses like Joan Collins, Tori Spelling, or Rue McClanahan  are great weekend reads. Musicianswhether they’re punk, hair bands, hip hop, jazz, or classicalare another great source of celebrity drama. Writers, artists, and dancers also tend to have lives that make for some interesting reading. 

Warhol later revised his quote to “In 15 minutes everyone will be famous.”  Even though I’m still waiting, maybe you’re not.  If you’re rich and famous already, think about looking at some of our books on fashion and jewelryyou don’t want the paparazzi to catch you at less than your best. Make sure to also look at some of our books on money and investing, and also peruse our books on luxury automobiles and real estate

If you’ve already had your fifteen minutes and survived the perils of stardom, think about writing your memoirs.  Check out our books about writing or stop by the reference department and look at the most recent edition of Writer’s Market to find a publisher.  If you need to gather some inspiration from your fellow writers, make sure to drop in to our Squirrel Hill Branch on Sundays for their writer’s studio

There are way too many great celebrity bios, books on fame and fortune, and writing guides for me to list everything here.  Leave a comment and let us know your favorite trashy biography!  If you have a tip on how to deal with fame (like how do you find a closet big enough to hold all your free designer clothes?), let us know!



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