In the publishing industry’s sprint to the holiday sales home stretch, few books succeed quite as well as the salacious celebrity bio — be it compelling biography or self-indulgent memoir. Whether written by devoted scholars or the icon in question (usually with the guiding hand of a ghostwriter), these pop culture tomes make for appealing reading and easy gifts — especially when probing the gossipy private life of a public figure. With the roll out of this year’s high-profile music bios — a staple of the celebrity book genre — now well under way, here’s a guide to the season’s standout studies and tone-deaf duds. Because, let’s face it: not everyone is as exciting on the page as they are on the stage.
If your associations with ’80s heartthrob Rick Springfield don’t extend beyond “Jessie’s Girl” and General Hospital, you’re probably not alone. In Late, Late At Night, Springfield tries to introduce the demons behind his sunny power-pop persona — he addresses battles with depression (a failed suicide attempt at 17 made him realize that music was his calling) and lifelong insecurities — but this actor/singer’s efforts to revivify his pop culture relevance turn more into a gushing tribute to his wife and kids than a spicy behind-the-scenes expose.