Friday Favorites: Celebrity Memoirs

I’m taking a break (again) from my normal Friday Favorite format (hooray for alliteration!) to bring you a special edition. This time, we’re focusing on books. Specifically celebrity memoirs. 

I love a good memoir. Not a huge fan of biographies, although I do have Jim Henson’s and Steve Jobs’s on my bookshelf, waiting to be read, but a good celebrity memoir can make for an interesting and fun read. Some are really well done. Others, not so much. It does get on my nerves a bit that we’re getting to a point that if you’re even a quasi-celebrity, you’ll write a memoir because that’s just what you do (ignoring the fact that you might not be all that interesting. Like me. If I ever become famous, I will not write a memoir because it would be the most boring one of all time. I’d call it Vanilla With Sprinkles (which, incidentally, was what I was planning on naming this blog before I came up with stand out, creatively superior “Jana Says”)). 

I don’t think everyone needs to write a memoir. Which is why I’m happy to weed out the good ones and make some recommendations. Life is too short to read crappy books.


A note before we get started: there are many, MANY celebrity memoirs I have not read so this list is culled only from ones I have read. There are a number that are on my to-read list and we’ll get to those at the end of the list. Also, there are a bunch of memoirs that I have read that I loved but are not included in the list because they were not written by celebrities but I think you should read them anyway (ex., Adam Shepard’s Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Dave Cicirelli’s Fakebook: A True Story. Based on Actual LiesJared Dillion’s Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers, Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mix Tape and Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. This is turning into quite an extensive list. Maybe it needs its own post.)

In no particular order, here are my favorite celebrity memoirs so far: 

tony danza

Tony Danza. I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had. I know. Tony Danza? How could this possibly be enjoyable? But trust when I say that reading about his experience as a teacher for a year in a Philadelphia public school is time well spent.

nikki sixx

Nikki Sixx. The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. Every kid who takes health class should be required to read this because it’s the most accurate, honest depiction of drug addiction I have ever read. It’s amazingly engrossing and disturbing and you find yourself (often) wondering how he survived.

rick springfield

Rick Springfield. Late, Late At Night. You guys already know how much I love this book. I’ve gushed about it before and there’s no way I wasn’t including it. 

the glass castle

Jeanette Walls. The Glass Castle. I don’t know that she necessarily qualifies as a celebrity but this book was so damn fantastic I’m highlighting it. This book made me feel all the feels: sadness, anger, hope, laughter–the whole gamut. When you can hit the whole range like that, you’re a book that needs to be read. And it’s apparently in development to be a movie with Jennifer Lawrence. 

Honorable mentions: Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out with Me?, and Joe Pantoliano’s Asylum: A Memoir About Hollywood, Mental Illness, and Being My Mother’s Son.

Coming up: Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Cary Elwes’s As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, and Danielle Fishel’s Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern

#sorrynotsorry for all the links

In addition to everything mentioned here, there are dozens of memoirs I’ve read or have marked to read and I’ll probably do a follow up post to this some time next year. 

 Which ones do you guys recommend or think I should add to my ever growing list?

Coming up on Monday: More cheer mom series. Most likely a list of what to expect when you become a cheer mom.

Have a great weekend!

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Linking up with Amanda

Friday Favorites

Thursday things and stuff

 Hey, Thursday! How you doin’? 

Thursday has long been my favorite day of the week. I think this started in college thanks to Mug Night at The Stone Balloon (RIP) and I know I’ve mentioned that before but I’m old and I tend to repeat myself. 

You know what else is fun about being old? Having no train of thought and saying what’s on my mind in no particular order and the fact that nothing relates to the thought before it. Like this stuff:

  • One of my daughter’s favorite shows is this new Nickelodeon one, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. It’s about quadruplets. Ordinarily, Nickelodeon shows make me cringe (save for iCarly) but this one is freaking hilarious. Did you guys watch That 70s Show? Do you remember Fez’s crazy girlfriend Caroline? She’s the mom. Also, they had a whole episode about poop that had me hysterically laughing the whole time. #noshamenicky-ricky-dicky-dawn-nickelodeon
  • Speaking of #noshame, you know who needs to be really ashamed? Dogfish Head beer. Because they’re making a scrapple infused beer. This is essentially the worst idea in history and if you don’t believe me, here’s the definition for scrapple and after you read it, you’ll understand why it doesn’t belong in beer or anything ever (including your fridge or your mouth).
  • For the longest time, I prided myself on the fact that, after having my iPhone for more than 3 years, I hadn’t cracked the screen. Bragged in my head. Felt superior. Didn’t care that I still had an old model because it was in tact, dammit, despite my chronic dropping of the phone. Then, on Saturday, my ego got body slammed when I not only dropped my phone but the screen shattered. A lot. Then my cheap, overconfident ass needed to buy a new phone. As I write this, I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of my iPhone6.
  • You know what else I’m waiting to be delivered? An American Girl doll. My daughter wanted that, and only that, for her birthday next month so we, along with our parents, pooled our money to buy her a $115 doll. Yep. You read that right. $115. For a fucking doll. INSANITY. But I did find a $10 off coupon and, instead of buying the clothes from the AG store, the doll will be getting Target clothes. Hey, if Target clothes are good enough for me, they’re good enough for a doll. 

    For $115, I'm surprised she doesn't come with a pimp.

    For $115, I’m surprised she doesn’t come with a pimp.

  • I’ve worked my way through all the Serial episodes. I’m going to listen to them again because there’s just so much information to retain. As a former criminal justice person, my investigator senses are tingling all over this and I’m not 100% convinced the kid who’s in prison is guilty (he’s definitely not not guilty but I don’t think he’s a murderer). Anyone else listen? What do you guys think?
  • I’m trying hard not to complain about the cold weather because it’s not like if I complain, it’ll do any good and the weather will magically change back to something more manageable and appropriate for November. But seriously–what the hell is going on? Why does it feel like the middle of January? I’m genuinely terrified of what’s going to happen this winter if this is what it’s like now. But it does justify my blanket hoarding so there’s that.
  • While we’re on the subject of hoarding, if you remember, one of my organizing goals for the month addressed my Pinterest boards. I’m trying to thin the herd over there and, in doing so, I realized I had a whole bunch of home decorating and home idea pins I’d completely forgotten about! Thanks to Amazon, Etsy, craft stores, the dollar store, and a little bit of Pinterest, my home will look more inviting and less plain over the next few months. I’m quite excited about this.pinterest hoarding
  • Reader poll. As we approach the end of the year, I’m thinking about my goals and the direction for the blog. I’d love to hear from you what topics you’d like me to write about. So if you could take a minute or two to fill out this little poll, I’d appreciate it. I’ll let you guys know the results in two weeks (next Thursday is Thanksgiving and I have one of those “things I’m grateful for” posts planned). You can select up to 3 topics and I’ll chose from the top 5 as to what I’ll be mainly writing about next year.
Blog Topics
What topics should Jana Says focus on in 2015?

Coming up tomorrow: Friday Favorites. See you then!

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Linking up for Stuff and Things

Kristin's Knook

The struggle with enough

Lately I’ve been struggling with the word “enough”. Not as in “I don’t think I’ve read enough books” or “I haven’t watched enough Netflix” or “I haven’t had enough tea today” but more in the sense of:

I don’t work hard enough on my blog. 

My topics aren’t focused enough.

My writing isn’t creative enough.

The idea for my book isn’t interesting enough.

My platform numbers aren’t high enough to make an agent interested in me.

I’m not organized enough.

My house isn’t clean enough or nice enough to have people over.

I don’t play with my dogs enough.

I don’t play with my daughter enough.

I’m not nice enough to strangers.

I don’t call my grandmother enough.

I’m not friendly enough.

I’m not generous enough, and I certainly don’t volunteer enough.

I haven’t lost enough weight.

I’m not talented enough.

I’m not motivated enough.

I don’t try hard enough.

I’m not enough.

The list goes on.

It’s all completely negative. And I can’t make it stop. 

Just when I get to a place where things are going well, my creativity is flowing, I’m content with what I have (and don’t have), I’m comfortable and confident with my choices and where I’m going, something (I don’t know if it’s my depression or lack of self-confidence or too much time on social media and buying into lifestyle construction or what) gets ahold of me and talks me out of everything positive thought I have and puts me right back in the place where I can’t get off the couch and I think I’ll never amount to anything or achieve the level of success I want and convinces me I’d be better off just quitting everything so I stop trying.

I hate that I think, and subsequently act, like this. I hate that this pattern is part of my life. I know, in my head, that it holds me back. I’m pretty sure it’s rooted in some sort of fear and there’s a self-fulfilling prophecy tucked in there somewhere, too.

It’s a fun little package. 

It’s one thing to deal with someone else telling you that you suck or stomping on your dream. It’s another thing to deal with the internal chatter. Because those voices are there with you all. The. Time. They’re loud and annoying and they’re difficult to ignore. Like really obnoxious sports fans cheering for the wrong team. 

And if you’ve ever experienced those types of fans, you want to punch them right in the face.

That’s how I feel about the negative committee in my head.

It’s not that I don’t want it to change. I try some of the techniques in my cousin’s book. I think back to some of the techniques I learned in therapy (despite the fact that my therapist was horrible and, on some levels, made my issues worse) and attempt to apply them. I read blog posts and articles on how to alter negative thinking. I try to stop comparing myself to others. I stay away from social media. 

And none of it works. 

I’m still trying to figure out why.

It might be that I won’t let myself think differently. It might be that I simply can’t do it. Old habits and all. 

They’re kind of a bitch.

I know that everyone deals with self-doubt at one point. And for many, they take that self-doubt, channel it, and use it to make or do something great. 

I want to be that person.

I want to go to bed each night and say “I did enough today” and really believe it.

I want to tell myself I am enough and really believe it.

Because I know, in my heart, that whole list of “I’m nots” is a lie. 

Now I need my head to believe it.

Do any of you struggle with the same issues? What works for you when you get mired in this line of thinking?


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Saving money on cheer gear

This is part 2 in my cheer mom series. Make sure you catch up by reading part 1–why it’s okay to let your kid cheer.

There’s no easy way to say this, and I’m sorry in advance to those of you who thought that maybe I’d say something different. But if your child is interested in cheerleading, there’s one completely unavoidable fact. 

It is expensive. 

I don’t know that’s it’s necessarily more expensive than sports like gymnastics […] Continue Reading…

My podcast: 5 things you need to know

Ordinarily I share my Friday favorites and link up with Amanda and I had planned on it but a bunch of you guys wanted to know about my upcoming podcast so I figured I’ll switch gears and do a Friday Five and share 5 things about my podcast you need to know:

I’m cohosting it with my friend Bobby, who blogs at 2 Minute Finance. The idea came about while we, and a group of […] Continue Reading…