Tom Hanks has written a book. Titled Uncommon Type: Some Stories, Hanksâ€™s book is a collection of 17 short stories, each in some way involving a typewriter. It will be released in October and â€“ if itâ€™s all to the same standard as Alan Bean Plus Four, the short story Hanks wrote for the New Yorker in 2014 â€“ itâ€™s going to be pretty good.
But letâ€™s be clear: even if Uncommon Type ends up as the most rapturously received work of printed fiction ever written by an actor, that will largely be because most books written by actors are dogmuck. Allow me to ignore the good ones (hello, Steve Martin and Hugh Laurie) and focus on the very worst.
Star: A Novel, by Pamela Anderson, 2004
Blurb: â€œPlayful, bawdy and curl-your-toes sexy, Star is an insiderâ€™s look at a world of inflated egos and inflated bodies.â€
Crimes committed against publishing: Like many celebrity novels, Star is a lightly fictionalized account of Andersonâ€™s rise to fame. Also contains a stretch where Star hits puberty and mistakes her breasts for cancer. In this stretch, her breasts are referred to as â€œpoisonous nodesâ€.
Amazon users said: â€œI thought this was a great book, i didnâ€™t really know what to think when i bought it, but i was honestly not disoppointed. I was a bit shocked, (If this really is about Pamâ€™s life) about how much she â€˜got aroundâ€™.â€
Paradise Alley: A Novel, by Sylvester Stallone, 1978
Blurb: â€œStar and author of Rockyâ€
Crimes committed against publishing: Hot on the heels of Rocky, Stallone decided to write, direct and star in a wrestling movie called Paradise Alley. The film performed disappointingly, but that didnâ€™t stop Stallone from releasing Paradise Alley as a novel. Thatâ€™s right â€“ he published his own novelization of a film that nobody liked.
Amazon users said: â€œThis is a great movie I saw this years ago and loved it good story and if you love wrestling you love this because this is the greatest wrestling movie and love story and just fun to watch.â€
TekWar, by William Shatner, 1989
Blurb: â€œJake Cardigan, a one-time high-flying policeman, is released from the Freezer many years before his term was up, to help track down a famous scientist and his daughter. Cardigan finds himself in the middle of a full-blown war.â€
Crimes committed against publishing: If you like relentlessly pulpy sci-fi, then TekWar actually isnâ€™t that bad. This might be because Shatner didnâ€™t actually write it; the books were all penned by prolific ghostwriter Ron Goulart. A bigger crime, however, is how baldly Shatner wanted TekWar to become a TV show, and how awful the results were when he succeeded.
Amazon users said: â€œGot this due to the mention in father ted, looks good in your collectionâ€
Propeller One-Way Night Coach: A Fable for All Ages, by John Travolta, 1997
Blurb: â€œWhen his actress mother decides to move to Hollywood, Jeff, an eight-year-old boy who dreams of flying in a plane, begins his journey with connecting flights, airline food, stopovers, and time spent in first class.â€
Crimes committed against publishing: This book was written and illustrated by Travolta, who has no real aptitude for either. He originally wrote it as a gift to 75 friends. Itâ€™s called A Fable for All Ages even though itâ€™s just a gussied-up kidsâ€™ book. And itâ€™s about airplanes. Of course itâ€™s about bloody airplanes.
Amazon users said: â€œFor a first time-way to go John! Your my favorite actor and now you can be one of my role models since you published a book(one of my all time goals!!)â€
Actors Anonymous: A Novel, by James Franco, 2015
Blurb: â€œHollywood has always been a private club. I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, look inside.â€
Crimes committed against publishing: Self-conscious to the point of inanity, Actors Anonymous is built on a towering stack on unwarranted pretension that sporadically attempts to undercut itself with a scene where a professor tells Franco that his book isnâ€™t very good. Also includes an oral sex scene in a public bathroom that ends with a character spitting semen on to an unflushed turd.
Amazon users said: â€œAnother great book by the delicious actor but not as good as his great smileâ€
The Justice Riders, by Chuck Norris, 2006
Blurb: â€œThe debut novel by Chuck Norris and friendsâ€
Crimes committed against publishing: Ah, â€œand friendsâ€. The cover for The Justice Riders is a thing to behold. â€œA novel by Chuck Norrisâ€ it reads, before adding in smaller letters: â€œKen Abraham, Aaron Norris & Tim Grayemâ€. Youâ€™ll buy it for Chuck Norris, but read it for the panicky committee tasked with scraping his words into some sort of shape.
Amazon users said: â€œWell it appears that Chuck Norris is a man of many hidden talents. Not only is he able to roundhouse kick a terrorist into a pile of boxes, and break the world landspeed record in a yacht, but heâ€™s also not bad with a typewriter.â€
Junior, or Oscar De La Mancha, the Wembling Warrior, and the People I Like the Least (Not A Novel), A Written Project from the Normal, Well Adjusted and â€˜No I Donâ€™t have Issues with my Father!â€™ Mind of â€¦ Junior (Meaning Me), by Macaulay Culkin, 2006
Blurb: â€œHis therapist says he has issues with closure. (Granted, this book has seven endings). This is not a novel. (Except for the bits that arenâ€™t true).â€
Crimes committed against publishing: Have a guess.
Amazon users said: â€œInteresting short stories, wasnâ€™t sure where it was going…then it ended. Perhaps my fault for expecting things to come together.â€