Holiday loot spending guide: Books
Like a lot of people, I'll be out there today spending cash and gift cards I got yesterday. There are a lot of TV-oriented books released every year, and many of them are quite good. Some of them are downright terrible (*cough* TWOP *cough*), but let's focus on the good ones. Below is a list of 10 great TV books to give the TV addict in your family.
1. Hello, Lied The Agent, by Ian Gurvitz: Excellent behind-the-scenes look at how the TV industry works, from a writer/producer of such shows as Wings, Becker, and Get A Life. He talks about the dos and don'ts for Hollywood writers, pitch meetings, cancellations, shows the journal he kept a few years ago, and even talks about the new shows that have debuted in the past couple of years. Very informative and just really, really funny.
2. I Like You, by Amy Sedaris: I think that when Sedaris announced she was going to make a cookbook/crafts book, everyone thought it was going to be all jokes and useless info. Not so. I mean, the book is funny as hell, but all the recipes in here are fantastic too.
4. Brainiac, by Ken Jennings: Who would have thought that there would be two insider-ish books from Jeopardy contestants released in the same year, and both would be excellent. We all know Jennings is smart, but he turns out to be a clever, funny writer too. Great look at the world of trivia.
5. Out of My Mind, by Andry Rooney: More essays from the 60 Minutes veteran.
6. I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, by Bob Newhart: The comedian is just as funny in print as he is on television or on the stage. And he sounds like a nice, decent guy with a funny story to tell. If you're into Newhart and other stars of that era, you'll love this.
7. Desperate Networks, by Bill Carter: Some people passed over this book because a lot of the stuff had been covered earlier by others, but I found the book rather fascinating. Sort of everything you need to know about the big events in TV the past few years (how Lost came to be, who rejected Desperate Housewives, who rejected American Idol, the importance of Les Moonves, the whole Katie/CBS saga). Carter is one of the best TV critics around.
8. The Nasty Bits, by Anthony Bourdain: Bourdain is now known just as much for his blunt observations about celebrity, food and fame as he is his cooking (maybe even more so). This is a collection of stuff he's written the past few years, and it's never dull, whether he's talking about Emeril Lagasse or eating weird food in foreign lands.
9. Dispatches From The Edge, by Anderson Cooper: This is a mix of Anderson's reporting of events like Hurricane Katrina and various tragedies overseas and the personal story of growing up with a famous mom (Gloria Vanderbilt) and the suicide of his brother.
10. TV Land Legends: This is really a history of classic television, in both text and pictures. It's a large coffee table book (and I always see it on the sale table at the bookstores) with giant, frame-worthy pics of people like Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, Carol Burnett, Will Smith, the cast of Friends, Rod Serling and a bunch more.