Does Real Housewife NeNe Leakes Deserve a Book Deal? And Other Lit-Related Questions

Illustration for article titled Does Real Housewife NeNe Leakes Deserve a Book Deal? And Other Lit-Related Questions

Who Deserves a Book Deal?

NeNe Leakes, one of the real housewives of Atlanta recently sold a book called "Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Straight Talk on Love and Life from a Real Housewife." It'll publish in July and will be written with Denene Millner, who coauthored Steve Harvey's "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man." I have many questions about this. First up: why a book? I've seen the show a total of two times and I know that Leakes is meant to bring the drama. I get it. But does that mean that she has "straight talk" fascinating enough to span an entire book? Then I started revisiting a question that I ask often: who really deserves a book deal? Overly dramatic reality stars? The real reality is that even if publishers are right that "celebrity" books help to bring in money so that they can publish, say gifted novelists, the truth is, when you have limited resources, some have to lose. The question that remains: who will those somebodies be?


Is Kanye For Real?

The internet has been buzzing with the news that Kanye West's fifty-two page book, "Thank You and You're Welcome," which was first introduced in 2007, will hit stores in July. But what's been more newsworthy or interesting or funny or absurd, depending on how you look at it, is his recent interview. In it, he proudly proclaims to be a non-reading author with bountiful pockets of wisdom that he calls Kanye-isms. He also says:

"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph."

So self-absorbed? Ain't that the pot calling the kettle black? More importantly, since when did books started giving autographs? But hey, if you're bored at work, go ahead and read a few pages. Maybe you'll be inspired…not to read?

Why Do Publishers Drop So Much Money on Certain Books?

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently sold his memoir. Apparently, the book will be a "personal biography of global statecraft." Not sure what that means. But my real question deals with the advance, which was reported to be around $750,000. I understand that he's Kofi Annan and that he just might sell enough copies to cover the hefty price tag, but in this economy, is this memoir worth such a big advance?

Should Oprah Have Apologized?

Remember the Oprah vs. James Frey debacle ? He was the guy who wrote the memoir "A Million Little Pieces." Oprah had him on the show, selected the book for her club and basically made him famous. Turns out he "fabricated" parts of his story. Oprah was hot. Denounced him. So now, according to "Time" magazine, Oprah personally called Frey and said, "I feel I owe you apology." She thought she overreacted. Did she? The better question: do I even care?



I am really excited about the fact that Ntozake Shange's famous choreopoem, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf," is hitting the big screen. It’s hard not to be thrilled about this news especially with the added bonus that it will be directed by a black woman, Nzingha Stewart. But I'm also a tad nervous. When I wrote about looking forward to seeing the film adaptation of Sapphire's "Push," which is called "Precious," I was reminded that often, books-to-film suck. There are a few exceptions, which for some reason I cannot name right now. Couple that truth with the announcement that Halle Berry has signed onto the project and I'm feeling some kind of way. She'll be starring alongside Angela Bassett (yeah) and Jill Scott (good stuff). I know that Berry has the celebrity, but does she have the acting chops?


is a writer, speaker, author of books for adults and youth, and the book columnist for The Root. Her most recent book is \"The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs.\" Visit her at