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And A Star Appeared: Books By And About Luminaries

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We all love the stars. We read about them, we listen to them sing, we eagerly watch them on TV and in films. This year, there are some wonderful books for the star struck.

No one’s a bigger star right now than the much loved subject of LADY GAGA x TERRY RICHARDSON. Richardson is an acclaimed photographer who’s known for the raw honesty of his work. He followed Gaga for ten months, and was given rare access to her personal and professional life. This huge coffee table book is billed as a “visual dialogue” between the two artists, and is dedicated to the singer’s fans, her “Little Monsters.”

Walter Isaacson perfectly captures what made the late STEVE JOBS a cultural superstar. There’s no doubt that Jobs changed the world around him; what’s nearly as impressive is that he gave the author more than forty exclusive interviews. Jobs was not only frank with Isaacson; he also encouraged friends and relatives to tell the truth. The result is a brilliant portrait of a complex and not always admirable man, who let nothing deter him from his destiny: the ability to fuse the worlds of art and technology. Cover photo by Albert Watson.

Carrie Fisher is another celebrity who doesn’t spare herself when it comes to telling her story. “Oversharing” her SHOCKAHOLIC experience, Fisher determines to tell-all before her memory is completely wiped out. In her witty, acerbic style, she dishes about her once stepmother Elizabeth Taylor; her relationship with her father, Eddie Fisher; her double date with Ted Kennedy; and her friendship with Michael Jackson. Funny, touching, vintage Carrie Fisher.

James Garner will always be “Maverick” to those of us who remember his handsome face and wry manner being televised on our little black-and-white screens. Later- in color- he starred in another fan favorite, “The Rockford Files;” thus, the title of this memoir, THE GARNER FILES, written with noted author Jon Winokur. The introduction was penned by his “Victor/Victoria” co-star Julie Andrews. Born during the depression in Oklahoma, Garner’s early life was extremely difficult. His good looks got him a career in Hollywood; his easy style and sense of timing made him a star. Brando, McQueen, Bacall…he’s known them all, and tells the tale.

Country music wouldn’t be the same without Brad Paisley, and Paisley wouldn’t be who he is today without the influence of the people he’s admired. DIARY OF A PLAYER, written with David Wild, takes us on the journey of Paisley’s life and career, starting with the guitar he was given by his beloved grandfather. From the time he was eight, clutching his Sears Danelectro,Paisley knew what he wanted to do. He began writing songs at the age of twelve, and impressed everyone around him with how well he performed. His rich life now includes wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley (best known for the “Father of the Bride” movies, with Steve Martin), and their two boys. Paisley is a country superstar who’s grateful for all his blessings.

THIS IS A CALL is subtitled “The Life and Times of Dave Grohl.” Paul Brannigan’s book explores a side of music that couldn’t be more different than Paisley’s. Grohl’s decision to make music his life occurred at the “Rock Against Reagan” festival in Washington, D.C. He saw punk rockers being billy-clubbed by police, and decided to join the rebellion. He and his band, the legendary Nirvana, turned a jam session into a major hit when they recorded “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” After the suicide of Kurt Cobain, and the subsequent break-up of the group, Grohl lost heart and stopped drumming. Now the leader of the popular Foo Fighters, Grohl is an idol to punk-rock aficionados.

A quieter, gentler existence is at the heart of THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY, by Jessica Fellowes. The acclaimed British series stars Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville as aristocratic characters in an English country house, circa 1912. This book takes us behind the scenes, and delves into such esoteric topics as what it cost to fashionably entertain. Beautiful pictures, great gift.

You’ll be a star in the eyes of anyone lucky enough to receive as a present one or more of these wonderful books.

Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com

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