Trendspotter: Celebrity Books

BY ELLEN HARRIS | JUNE 19, 2009 7:21 AM

Years ago, celebrities carried bejeweled rodents in their handbags. In a more recent time, celebrities adopted Benetton babies. Nowadays, celebrities write books.

Some celebrities’ books are readable, with or without a ghostwriter. Michelle Obama’s collaboration with Susan R. Jones for her 2008 autobiography, In Her Own Words, wasn’t horrendous. Elizabeth Edwards (the cancer-stricken wife of adulterer and former presidential candidate John Edwards) also wrote a rather moving account called Saving Graces, which chronicled how she dealt with her sickness on the campaign trail. But those women (and their politician partners) are a different breed of celebrity.

Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana fame wrote a book. With a clever cliché title, Miles to Go, the book documents all 16 long, hard years of Cyrus’ special life. The toothy tweeny-bopper covers her famous dad and her famous alter-ego, what it’s like being famous, and how fame can get her a book deal before she’s lived two decades. A slew of 14-year-old girls (and horny pubescent boys) hungrily fed off “her” words for weeks.

Now, The Hills’ Lauren Conrad has popped out a novel (the first in a supposed trilogy) that’s “loosely” based upon her life. It’s about a girl whose life gets turned into a reality show, and she has to deal with backstabbing buddies and bitchy boyfriends. L.A. Candy hit bookstores around the world on June 16, and already Hollywooders are talking about turning it into a series. Barf.

Celebrity status today seems so easily achieved. Tweeting something eye-poppingly shocking, being the first contestant kicked off a reality program, and stalking a more famous celebrity all seem to constitute valid ways to latch onto fame or some obscure, kissing cousin of celebrity. Once that fame settles in the pocket, it’s time to put pen to paper. Welcome to the Literary Elite.

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