Illustration for article titled Publishing with the Stars

Books by celebrities are nothing new. It's an easy choice for book editors. Who doesn't want to read about the inner-workings of their favorite celebrity's life? Okay, some of us may be more concerned with an unemployment status or securing healthcare. But for those looking for a much-needed distraction, what's a better way to escape than to consume the dysfunctional behavior, navel gazing and sometimes compelling inner thoughts of the famous? When done well, the celebrity book reminds us that they are people too.

Here's a list of a few recent titles:

You've probably seen Andre Agassi all over media outlets talking about his new biography Open where he reveals, more honestly than the average celebrity memoir, that he didn't want to play tennis, he ashamedly used crystal meth, and he rocked a hair piece.

In My Life Outside the Ring, wrestler turned reality television star Hulk Hogan focuses on the depression he fell into after a string of unfortunate events, including a failed marriage, a son sent to jail, and an angry daughter. He praises his friend, athlete Laila Ali, for being a catalyst for his recovery.

Hip hop pioneer KRS-ONE isn't taking the memoir route with his new book. Instead, "the Teacha" has penned The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument, a blueprint to live hip hop that clocks in at more than 800 pages. The spiritual manual is the first title for I Am Hip Hop, the artist's book imprint under powerHouse Books.

Tracy Morgan is the new black. Well at least that's what he's claiming in his book called, you guessed it, I Am the New Black. The 30 Rock star is his usual candid self, but this time, it's about his father who battled drug addiction, Morgan's bouts with alcoholism and diabetes, his marriage, and his comedic roots. Although, apparently, some don't think that the real Tracy Morgan is actually funny.

Fresh from her role in Precious, and the launch of her new Lifetime television show, Sherri, Sherri Shepherd, known best for her post on The View, dishes her life's ups and downs in Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break.

For someone who is "not a fan of books," Kanye West sure does release a lot of them. His new title Through the Wire: The Words and Lyrics of Kanye West is a graphic memoir that looks very much like a children's book. Illustrated by Bill Plympton, Through the Wire provides insight into twelve of West's songs to provide a narrative of how the college dropout became one of Time magazine's "One Hundred Most Influential People in the World." Glow in the Dark, West's photographic, literary journey that chronicles his tour of the same name, was released last month.

Soon up: Chris Rock's wife Malaak Compton-Rock's If It Takes a Village, Build One: How I Found a Life of Meaning Through Service To Others and 100+ Ways You Can Too in stores this April; Pam Grier's Foxy: My Life in Three Acts also out this April; and Queen Latifah's Put on Your Crown: Ten Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom releases this May.


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

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