As much as we love an intricate, well developed work of fiction, there’s something to be said about the power of a true story. Whether it is a tragic love story, a gritty tale about resilience or a life manual of sorts based on a personal journey to success, books based on the human experience and rooted in shared historical or collective regional memories make for some of the best and most memorable stories ever captured on a page. Even more so when that story is being told by one of your faves.
If you’re looking for a good celebrity-driven non-fiction to sink your teeth into this holiday season, we’ve got just the list for you. From NBA antics, to true stories from the rap game, to cultural exploration and impact, these suggestions have something for everyone… Or for every aspect of who you are.
Cross The Tracks
In addition to being one of the most controversial figures in Hip Hop, Boosie Badazz is also one of the genre’s most adept wordsmiths. And while his way with words has made for more than a few viral and polarizing moments on social media, Boosie’s account of his rise to fame and battles with the legal system paint a much different picture of the polarizing artist.
Cross The Tracks, which Snoop Dogg dubbed “a masterpiece of a book,” offers readers a look into how Boosie’s relationship with the streets impacted his earlier music career. But beyond his legal troubles – remember that time he was facing life in prison? – Boosie has overcome more than his fair share of challenges elsewhere in his life, including a battle with cancer. You already know how captivatingly Boosie tells his story. Get into it!
Tears Of My Mother
With four advanced degrees and a position at Johns Hopkins University as a professor, as well as a career as a highly sought-after political commentator, The Real Housewives Of Potomac star Wendy Osefo is a Nigerian parent’s dream daughter. The success she has attained is exactly what she’s strived for, not only as a dutiful daughter, but also in admiration for her mother Iyom Susan Okuzu. But at what cost?
In Tears Of My Mother, Wendy examines how her strict upbringing impacted not only the woman she has become, but also her relationship with. As a mother of three, she also dives into how her decisions and approach to parenting shifted her perception of her mother. While steeped in Nigerian culture, Tears of My Mother is for anyone who has experienced mother-daughter conflict or who has found themselves intentionally unlearning some of the parenting concepts they learned from their own upbringing.
The Last Enforcer: Outrageous Stories From the Life and Times of One of The NBA’s Fiercest Competitors
On paper, Charles Oakley is far from being one of the best to ever play in the NBA. That doesn’t take away from his status as a basketball legend, especially for die-hard Knicks fans. Over the course of nineteen years in the league, Oakley was at the center of more unbelievable encounters than Forrest Gump, and nearly as many fights as Mike Tyson. He was the friend you wish you had, and the enemy you wish you’d never made.
The Last Enforcer reads like storytime with your favorite unfiltered OG at the family cookout. Oakley lays out the good, bad and ugly of his years in the league, revisiting every conflict and opening up about his relationships with the likes of Phil Jackson, Micheal Jordan and LeBron James. And as in real life, he’s not holding anything back. It’s like taking a trip back to the 1990s and getting a first hand education on the value of tough, raw players like Charles Oakley brought to the game during that era.
He may be known to a whole generation as a detective on one of the longest-running police dramas on television, but Ice T has never hidden that he once operated on the complete opposite side of the law. Split Decision, however, offers fans a different perspective of Ice T’s brief stint as a jewelry thief.
Think of it as A Tale Of Two Cities, but make it South Los Angeles instead of London. Split Decision is co-written with Ice T’s former partner in crime, Spike. While Ice T fell in love with Hip-Hop and decided to pursue a career as an artist after being discovered in an LA nightclub; not even a three year prison stint could pull Spike out of the game. Years later, these two men share a thoughtful, honest look at how the decisions they’ve made led them down completely different paths.
Speak: Finding Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Have you ever wished you could have a Peloton instructor pushing and encouraging you through your day-to-day life? Fitness star Tunde Oyeneyin has just the solution for you as she makes her authorial debut with Speak. This part memoir, part manifesto, part guide shares its name with a series Tunde launched on Instagram; and in both instances, that name is an acronym for Surrender, Power, Authenticity and Knowledge.
Prior to claiming her throne at the helm of a Peloton studio, Tunde navigated her way of grief, setbacks, and flaws, turning them into growth, self-confidence, and triumph along the way. As she walks readers through each of those four steps of her S.P.E.A.K. mantra, Tunde uses her own experiences with loss, love, and body image, to lay out a blueprint for creating an intentionally joyful life.
She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Can you believe it’s been over 20 years since Lauryn Hill dropped her groundbreaking solo debut? If you are a woman of a certain age, chances are The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was – and still is – a very important part of your life. And She Begat This is an exploration into the many ways in which Miseducation made an impact on, not just young Black women but The Culture as a whole.
Award-winning feminist author and journalist Joan Morgan naturally approaches the work of breaking down Lauryn Hill’s epic debut from an academic standpoint, banked with tons of research. But She Begat This taps into interviews with others who felt the deep connection so many of us felt with this project to adequately revisit the magical moment when a young, fierce, and determined singer-rapper-songwriter made music history.
Be sure to check out the full list of titles from the Books Like Us Holiday Gift Guide.
This editorial is presented in partnership with Simon & Schuster