Memoirs provide unique glances at life

The phrase “summer reading” typically evokes one of two memories: that of forced, unwelcomed labor during otherwise free months or that of a relaxing pastime.

Either way, summer is generally regarded as an ideal time to catch up on literature, but as students know, that relatively care-free period has passed.

Whether you made it through a novel this summer, tried but failed or simply swore to never touch a book until the first day of class, casual reading is a much less desirable task now that a new semester is here.

Dense academic articles plague the syllabi of most USC students, making other forms of literature an unappealing choice to occupy free time.

But if you’re an overeager English student desiring to indulge in as much written word as possible, an engineering student fed up with equations and in need of a compelling story or somewhere in between, consider reading a memoir.

Memoirs vary greatly, from highly intellectual life-stories to Snooki’s A Shore Thing.

Though many readers might consider memoirs as part of a simplistic genre, many memoirs are simply highlighted with understandable language that’s easy to read, but still entertaining and didactic.

Here’s a list of upcoming and recently released memoirs for those looking for a relaxing, yet informative, addition to their literary education.

Each of these memoirs should provide further insight into the lives of already entertaining celebrities.

If you’re looking for a cultural education beyond a public figure’s Wikipedia page, consider picking up one of these books this semester.

No Regrets by Ace Frehley 

Ozzy Osborne’s 2011 memoir I Am Ozzy provided hilarious insight into the debauched lifestyle of the rock icon. Though Ace Frehley has often been overshadowed by his KISS bandmates such as Gene Simmons, his forthcoming memoir, No Regrets, is likely to include ridiculous stories of rockstardom similar to those from Osborne. No Regrets will also delve into the more personal relationships between the members of KISS, such as Frehley’s struggles with his fellow bandmates. Frehley was not always an active member of the band, and his memoir is likely to reveal the reasons behind the multiple disbandments.

A somewhat sad trend with rock star memoirs is they often deal with addiction. Anthony Kiedis’ Scar Tissue, the aforementioned Osborne memoir and several other autobiographies each follow this theme. Even when rock stars express regret for their past addictive actions, some still seem to project the sense that they would do it all again if given the chance. Frehley has been sober for five years, and his memoir is likely to describe his struggles with addiction. As its title suggests, however, Frehley is not ashamed of his past. Hopefully the book will offer something unique and will not follow the same formulaic path as memoirs from Frehley’s rock star peers. No Regrets is due out Nov. 1.

In My Time by Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney has been one of the most controversial public figures in recent history. Hated by many and beloved by a nearly equal amount, the former vice president has recently released his memoirIn My Time. The book is, at first glance, thick and intimidating, appearing to be along the same lines as the dull, complex writings by former members of the executive branch. In My Time, currently available, should be required reading just to find out if he mentions the quail hunting incident.

Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert is perhaps the most recognizable film critic in the country and has helped pioneer a certain style of criticism throughout his career. After contracting thyroid cancer and undergoing surgical complications however, Ebert was left unable to speak. As those who have ever followed the man on Twitter should know, this left Ebert desperate to find other modes of communication. His struggle for self-expression has resulted in a surge in output of written work, via both Twitter and his introspective blog posts. Admittedly, his prolific and opinionated writings have brought Ebert criticism through the years. Despite this, he still reigns as a giant in the world of film criticism. With his extended memoir available today, his fans and followers will be able to learn more about his personal life and contributions to the film industry.