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2012booksCelebrity Interviews

What Was The Last Book You Read? The Celebrity Edition

Over the years we’ve published hundreds of interviews with celebrities.  Each one is usually asked, what is now know as the The bookworm Troy Johnson question, “What was the last book you’ve read?”

The question can be quite revealing about the person being interviewed and the books given are usually worth checking out.  Actually two of the books mentioned below, The Alchemist and Standing at the Scratch Line are my personal favorites.

Here are a list of responses from celebrities we’ve interviewed recently.  Let us know, in the comments section, which book you last read and whether you’ve enjoyed it or not.

What Was The Last Book You Read?

Sheila C. Johnson, America’s First Black Billionairess
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann, Mark Halperin (Harper, January 2010)

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Crump Johnson
Philanthropist, Sheila Crump Johnson

In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clinton—and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama’s partner and America’s face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin.

Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

Tamala Jones, Film and TV Actress
The Alchemist (1987) by Paulo Coelho

This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. What starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Naomie Harris, Actress the Newest James Bond Girl in Skyfall
How to Leave Twitter by Grace Dent (Faber & Faber June  2011)

Three years ago columnist and author Grace Dent joined new social network site Twitter, mainly as a place to dump her surplus jokes, rant about garbage TV and post exclusive j-pegs of her hot new toenail-varnish. But as every ‘re-tweet’ and ‘Follow Friday’ saw her audience figures soar by tens of thousands, Dent found herself centre-stage in an all-consuming highly addictive social network revolution. One where the gags, gossip, scandal and backstabbing literally never stop. Here Dent takes a hilarious, acerbic look at what’s really going on in Twitterworld; who’s actually tweeting, who’s really reading your tweets and what’s behind the 140 character lies they tell. She looks at the highs and grotty lows of twitter addiction, the shameless social climbers, the friends you’ll make and the ones you can’t get bloody rid of, the barefaced bragging, the shameful celeb-stalking, and the truth about ‘twanking’, twitter cliques, angry ‘twitchfork mobs’ and dealing with trolls.

Yolanda Adams, World Famous Gospel Singer
Law of Confession: Revolutionize Your Life and Rewrite Your Future With the Power of Words by Bill Winston (Harrison House Inc., January 2012)

Yolanda Adams

Just like natural laws, there are spiritual laws with cause and effect. God set the universe in motion with the power of His words and established the law of confession, but many believers have suffered needlessly by misunderstanding the power of their words.

Dr. Bill Winston, pastor, Bible teacher, and host of the national television program Believer s Walk of Faith broadcast to over 100 million homes, reveals scriptural examples and vital teaching on the importance of the spoken word. Believers will uncover the enemy s deceptive plan to use their own words against them and what they can do to turn their situation around.

Toks Olagundoye star of the TV sitcom “The Neighbors”
Mockingjay The Final Book of the Hunger Games (Scholastic Press, August 2010)

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Sugar Ray Leonard, World Champion Boxer
The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring (Viking Adult, June 2011)

Of course this is Sugar’s memoir but this NY Times Memoir is worth a read.  In Washington, D.C., during the 1970s, a black man could get into the newspapers in one of two ways: crime—or boxing. “Sugar” Ray Leonard chose to fight. After winning a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics, Ray wanted to call it quits and go to college, but his family’s financial needs made him go pro. Boxing history was made. All the while, another, darker Ray—one overwhelmed by depression, rage, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and greed—battled for dominance. In The Big Fight, Ray comes to terms with both these men and shares a brutally honest and remarkably inspiring portrait of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of a true fighter—inside and outside the ring.

Kel Mitchell, Actor half of the famous Kenan and Kel Duo
How to Turn Your Faith Loose by Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin’s (Faith Library Publications, January 1980)

“With your mouth you are either going to give God dominion over you, or you’re going to give Satan dominion over you. Quit talking the devil’s language and start talking God’s language.”

Tyler Perry, Filmmaker and the Actor Behind the Madea Character
Standing in the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson (Random House, December 1998)

In this hard hitting and action-filled novel, Guy Johnson introduces LeRoi Boudreaux Tremain, one of the most complex and engaging African-American characters in fiction. From the forests of France in WWI to the streets of New York City to a black township in Oklahoma, “King” Tremain is the angel of vengeance wherever he sees injustice inflicted on his people, friends or family.

After murdering two white lawmen, LeRoi Tremain is on the run — straight into the army and the Great War, where he proves himself an able killer. The result is “a brief history of 20th-century black America in the guise of a testosterone-fueled adventure yarn in this fast-paced, intelligent, and extremely violent first novel.” The author comes by his talents naturally; he’s the son of Maya Angelou.

Ne-Yo, Singer/Songwriter, Actor
The 48 Laws of Power  by Robert Greene (Penguin Books, September 2000)

Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power in to forty-eight well explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as it is in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers.

Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded–or been victimized by–power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

Vernon Davis, Professional Football Player,  San Francisco 49ers Tight End
Our Daily Bread: 2012 Collection (Discovery House Publishers, September 2011)

For decades, countless Christians have turned to Our Daily Bread to help them grow in their relationship with God. Drawn from the pages of the beloved devotional, this new 2012 collection of choice writings brings readers an entire year’s worth of daily Bible readings and reflections to bring inspiration, guidance, and comfort to draw them closer to the Lord in prayer. Now in a deluxe keepsake edition, this book is an ideal gift for fans of Our Daily Bread or a great way to introduce new readers to this widely-read devotional.

Dante Brown 13 Year Old Actor, Recently Appeared in the film Won’t Back Down
The Barcode Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn (Scholastic, September 2004)

The bar code tattoo. Everybody’s getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.

But what if you say no? What if you don’t want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There’s no option but to run . . . for her life.

Oprah Winfree
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (Knopf, December 2012)

Well we did not actually interview Ms. Winfree, but we know she has recently read this book.  She selected it for her book club’s reading list.  Check out the video here, she does a great job describing the book — I may have to pick it up myself!



Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.