What to Read Right Now: Timely Books With Hollywood Appeal

Each week, The Hollywood Reporter will offer up the best new (and newly-relevant) books that everyone will be talking about — whether it’s a tome that’s ripe for adaptation, a new Hollywood-centric tell-all, or the source material for a hot new TV show. 

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Dirtbag, Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald (UTA)

A publishing industry stalwart turns the pen to his own life with this memoir. It follows his traumatic childhood after being born to two people having an affair, the reactionary reckless behavior he engaged in, and an examination of his own masculinity.

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NSFW by Isabel Kaplan (Anonymous Content)

On the heels of this year’s addictive workplace dramas, NSFW follows an assistant at a television studio in the years leading up to the #MeToo movement; its unflinching take on Hollywood corporate culture feels fresh and necessary.

Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton (Verve Literary)

At age 23, the author learned that, owing to her estranged father’s prolific (and unregulated) sperm donations, she has at least 150 half-siblings — and that’s not even the most fascinating element of this memoir, which chronicles her bohemian upbringing in Los Angeles, floating between a hippie counterculture, rich private school kids, and even the occasional celebrity crew.

Recommended Reading

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson

The comedian’s sophomore essay collection is now a half-hour comedy at Freeform, and while the book is worthy of a read (or re-read) for its laugh-out-loud moments alone (she writes about everything from money problems to meeting her idol Bono), it’s also a fascinating study in the imaginative ways that Robinson and showrunner Jonathan Groff (Happy Endings) expanded on the book for TV. The show creates a fictionalized protagonist based on the author’s life and personality, translating the essays’ themes into narrative beats.

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The World’s Worst Assistant by Sona Movsesian

This nonfiction work comes from Conan O’Brian’s longtime assistant and cohost of his podcast Conan Needs a Friend. It’s a tongue-in-cheek guide to being a terrible Hollywood assistant, based on a bit she and O’Brien do that sees her as a lazy employee, he as a domineering boss. It’s a fun look inside their working relationship, a what-not-to-do guide, and a great gift for any assistant in your life. 

Recently Announced

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

Building on the momentum of her groundbreaking — and record-breaking — memoir Becoming, that has sold more than 10 million copies (and counting) since its publication in 2018, the former First Lady will release another book this fall. The Light We Carry, publishing November 15, will be less first-personal narrative and more gratitude journal. Expect a collection of inspirational musings and advice that Obama has collected through the struggles of the past few years. 

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