Celebrity Zoomer bios and memoirs

What’s on your fall reading list?  If you enjoy learning more about the people who have household names, this season’s line up of biographies and autobiographies is sure to please. Here’s a look at some of the titles hitting bookstores this fall.

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz

Timed for what would have been her 100th birthday, Spitz’s new biography is about more than a celebrity’s rise to fame. It’s about a rule-breaker who found her passion later in life and revolutionized the way we look at food. The six foot three, middle-aged woman defied the stereotypes and became a household name. Reviewers are already calling it a more thorough look at Child’s life than previous bios — and one that’s worthy of her iconic personality. 

Jack Layton Love Hope Optimism coverLove, Hope, Optimism: An informal portrait of Jack Layton by those who knew him edited by James L. Turk and Charis Wahl

He’s not a celebrity in the Hollywood sense, but Jack Layton was one of our country’s political stars.

Much has been written about this beloved political leader — including a forthcoming TV movie about his life — but this compilation’s personal take makes it stand apart. Editors Turk and Wahl collected anecdotes and stories about Jack Layton from the people who new him best. (You’ll recognize many of the contributors, including Ed Broadbent, Sarah Layton, Tim Flannery, Peggy Nash and Jean Charest.) The book was produced with the blessing of Layton’s family and proceeds will go to the Broadbent Institute.

Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll by Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson

What is it like to be woman in the world of rock and roll? Sisters Ann and Nancy of rock group Heart set out to answer this often asked question in their autobiography that sheds light on the duo behind popular hits like “Barracuda” and “Alone”. Overcoming gender stereotypes and personal struggles such as infertility, alcoholism and divorce, the sisters share their rise to stardom and quest for happiness in family and career. (Available September 4.)

Waging Heavy Peace: A Memoir by Neil Young

If you enjoyed the bios of rockers Bob Dylan and Keith Richards, you may want to check out this title too. Young’s eagerly anticipated memoir promises to take us from “the snows of Ontario through the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today”. Candid and revealing, his writing covers his long musical career with bands Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse as well as the personal life behind the rock legend. (Available October 2.)


Rod by Rod Stewart

Do you think he’s sexy? After more than 50 years in the music business, Stewart is finally ready to share his life with fans. From his humble British roots to his hell-raising days on the road, Stewart looks back on the decades-long career that has taken him and his music across the globe. This two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a Grammy Living Legend takes a candid look back at his triumphs and relationships — including three marriages and eight children. (Available October 23.)

Young, Stewart and the Wilsons aren’t the only rockers telling their stories this fall. Watch for Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper and Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townsend arriving this September. Music lovers may also want to check out the latest on Mick Jagger by Philip Norman, Luck or Something Like It by country music legend Kenny Rogers and I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by rock journalist Sylvie Simmons

Michael Douglas: A Biography by Marc Eliot

Some children of celebrities seem doomed to failure, but Michael Douglas defied the curse and became a star in his own right. From his early quest to get the now famous One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on screen to his string of edgy and rebellious roles, Michael is considered one Hollywood’s most successful stars. Eliot’s biography takes us behind the scenes of a career built on taking chances and working with new talent — and a turbulent personal life including a thorny relationship with his movie-legend father. (Available September 18.)

The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine Al Dente) by Kirstie Alley

If you’re looking for a juicier read, award-winning actress Alley brings her witty, no-holds-barred life to print. Alley attributes her fame and inspiration to the men she’s known, and offers a full-disclosure account of “all the men she’s slept with, danced with, drank with, and the ones she’s loved and hated during her sixty years on the planet”. Alley shares her journey of self-discovery through the friends and lovers that have shaped her life. (Available in November.)

Steve McQueen: A Biography by Marc Eliot

“The King of Cool” may just be the ultimate Hollywood film legend: tough yet tender, ruggedly handsome, and a man who had a love of fast cars, struggles with addiction and an seemingly endless stream of women. McQueen died young at the age of 51, but he still has the heart of his fans. Eliot’s book promises a little something extra with new interviews, original materials and rare photos. (Available October 2.)


How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin

You’ve heard “Reege” tell his stories to television audiences for decades, now the consummate talk show host brings his life to print. With the same enthusiasm and outspokenness you’ve seen on TV, Philbin talks about the lessons about happiness he’s learned through out his life and shares stories of some of the pretty impressive company he keeps including cohosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa. Unlike tales of loss and struggle you find in other celebrity biographies, Philbin’s book focuses on a life well lived — including a long, happy marriage to wife Joy. (Available October 3.)

Next by Gordon Pinsent

One of Canada’s best known actors, Newfoundland-born Pinsent got his start in Canadian theatre and built a successful career on screen. His autobiography offers a first hand look at his impressive 60-years in show business — including the highs and lows on the road to success. His journey has taken him from his home province to Hollywood and back again working with big names like Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey. If you’ve ever dreamed of getting into the industry, Pinsent offers some advice too. (Available October 16.)

The Kind of Life It’s Been by Lloyd Robertson

For 60 years, this journalist and anchor brought us the news of the day. Now, in his own words, Robertson gives us an inside look at his long career from breaking into the business with the CBC to the lessons he’s learned throughout decades. The humourous and personal insights into his career are also a look at the news industry itself and our own history. After all, Robertson’s career has spanned many memorable moments from the moon landing and JFK’s assassination to royal weddings and Trudeaumania. (Available October 5.)

Of course, these titles are just a small selection of the many intriguing titles set to come this fall.  Will you be picking up any of these titles, or is there another book on your must-read list? Share with us in the comments.

Background Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Sergey Borisov

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