Each October, National Book Month aims at raising awareness of great literature and inspiring in others a passion for classic works as varied as Grapes of Wrath, Norwegian Wood, Wuthering Heights, The Hunger Games and countless others.
Yet, rather unfairly, as the commemorative month flies by, nary a mention is made of the often unfashionable sub-genre of Celebrity Literature – a startling, fascinating and often shocking, array of titles by those in the public eye who have turned their hand to novel writing.
In the spirit of egalitarianism, this piece aims to investigate an oft-maligned staple of book publishing – like Howard Carter uncovering Tutankhamun’s tomb, the aspiration is to make discoveries which may forever change how we see the world.
Join us as we adventure into the world of Celebrity Literature:
THOSE WHO TRESPASS
If the adage of “Write what you know” has been applied by Fox news anchor Bill O’Reilly in the writing of his novel Those Who Trespass, then it would not be remiss to suggest that an FBI investigation should be forthcoming.
The tale concerns a "no-nonsense" television journalist, tall and of Celtic origin, who is punished for telling the truth in a world of lies. When his career is destroyed by jealous co-workers at Global News Network, Shannon Michaels exacts murderous revenge on those who betrayed him. That Michaels appears to be a thinly vieled, albeit homicidal, version of O'Reilly is rather troubling.
More astounding, perhaps, is the fact that the secondary lead of Those Who Trespass is yet another boldly obvious avatar of the author - both the book's antagonist and protagonist are fundamentally the same person. Tommy O'Malley, a no-nonsense detective struggling to get by as the only truth teller in a world of lies, pursues Michaels with a stoic zeal.
A psychologist could, and perhaps should, spend an incredible amount of time analysing the prose of O'Reilly's novel and the manner in which his split-personality characters compete for the heart of Ashley Van Buren - a sexy blonde aristocrat turned crime columnist.
Other prime examples of the "write what you know" school of thought come in the form of professional footballers turned authors Steve Bruce and Frank Lampard.
Hardly known as the most verbose, loquacious or eloquent of professional groups, it may be a surprise to learn that two of English football's best known names have both pursued their literary ambitions and become published authors.
Bruce, the current Hull City manager, has found his name on the spine of four separate books. In addition to his nonsensically titled autobiography Heading to Victory, the erstwhile centre-back has published three novels; Sweeper!, Defender! and Striker!
The trilogy of books, apparently written in a combined period of four months, feature "Steve Barnes" who managed to balance the dual careers of soccer and amateur detective with much aplomb. Barnes, we learn, is the type of guy who can solve a murder with the same brilliant precision as he can configure footballing formations to incorporate marauding wing-backs.
Frank Lampard, creator of Frankie's Magic Football, has tailored his titles towards a much younger demographic than Bruce's. The most noteworthy thing about his tales, however, is the unintentional role Lampard plays in helping children come to terms with disapointment - there is a real paucity of magic available in his words. Football, however, is in abundance.
In opposition to the "write what you know" school of thought, we present the authors Katie Price and Farrah Abraham - here they apparently invent a new, daring model of authorship: "not writing what you know... or indeed anything".
Whilst both authors are more famous for their day jobs, both known for appearing in various states of undress rather than their intellectual prowess, it could be their contribution to the literary world which will ultimately take pride of place in their obituaries.
Expanding on a career, based around little other than existing, is to be lauded. Yet, the greatest accomplishment of Price and Abraham, however, is to embark on said new careers paradoxically without actually doing so. Both are credited authors without (allegedly) having to expend the necessary effort required to write a single word - an incredible feat, one which could only be achieved by 21st century celebrities and a perfect example of the bizarre world of Celebrity Literature.
Including Price's "Love, Lipstick and Lies" and Abraham's erotic novel "In The Making" in this list may seem peculiar giving the acknowledgement that the writer of this post has read neither. However, when asked for specific details on their books during interviews, it becomes clearly possible that neither Price or Abraham have read them either.
And why should they? They are celebrities after all.
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