Let's Recall Some Celebrity Book Signings

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There are many wonderful time capsules scattered across the internet. However, for my money, nothing quite beats photographs from book signings by celebrities.

Listen, I like a juicy midcentury Hollywood memoir as much as the next woman, and I understand the publishing economics that lead publishers to sign celebrities to produce everything from novels to cookbooks. But it is still a very funny, very wild ride to look back at all the splashy signing events at, say, the Rockefeller Center Barnes & Noble and see just who was promoting what. Remember when Madonna wrote a string of kids’ books? Remember just how many celebrities were created by Americans’ early 2000s desire for somebody, anybody, to teach them how to dress? Plus it’s just fun to see celebrities 15 years younger and wearing what was, at one point, the height of fashion.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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Well, here’s Pam Anderson wearing sunglasses indoors

Well, here’s Pam Anderson wearing sunglasses indoors

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Here’s Pamela Anderson in 2004, signing copies of her novel Star at the Barnes & Noble in Rockefeller Center. From the back cover: “Playful, bawdy, and curl-your-toes-sexy, Star is a breathless romp through tinseltown and tabloids. An insider’s look at the world of inflated egos and inflated bodies, Star goes well beyond the clichéd air-kisses and casting couches of Hollywood to show what really happens when A-list meets D-cup, when girl becomes goddess.” It’s still available on Kindle for $14.99! It’s hard for me to imagine a more perfect example of the popular aesthetics of 2004; quite frankly, I miss seeing so much Malibu Barbie hot pink.

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The Sex and the City Industrial Complex

The Sex and the City Industrial Complex

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Here’s Kim Cattrall with Sex and the City costume designer Patricia Field, posing with her husband and the book they cowrote: Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a slim yet pensive guide to pleasing women in bed” and explained that—despite the fact this was clearly a way to capitalize on Cattrall’s SATC role—“This book is decidedly unflashy and its approach is not at all brashly sexual (like Cattrall’s TV character). Rather, it is a thoughtful manual on women’s orgasms.”

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My God, these jeans

My God, these jeans

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This is not to drag Carson Kressley specifically but simply to note what he was wearing for an event promoting his 2004 style guide Off The Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them. I cannot stress strongly enough to the young readers what a dark time the early 2000s were for clothing.

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Sister act

Sister act

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Here’s an extremely wholesome shot of Venus and Serena Williams signing Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving, and Winning in 2005. I had forgotten that precise style of necklace until this very minute and now it’s all flooding back, not to mention that type of formal tank top.

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Madonna again

Madonna again

Illustration for article titled Lets Recall Some Celebrity Book Signings
Image: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images (Getty Images)

One of the things that most fascinates me as a parent is just how many celebrities decide to grant out a kids’ book. You don’t even have to be a megastar—we have a very lovely book in our house by NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan, for instance. Perhaps this is thanks to Madonna’s decision in the early 2000s to write a string of children’s books, including the one she was promoting here, The English Roses. (It was 2003 and she was at the height of her Lady of the Manor phase.) Please look at the party they threw for her! We’re talking custom backdrop, polka dot stickers on the floor and, most incredibly, that pink satin tablecloth. Ultimately it was a big success and sold more than a million copies worldwide but, as per the Wikipedia page, “it received mixed reviews from book critics who did not find the story interesting and panned the characterizations and its moralistic tone.” Kids’ books are harder to write than anybody gives them credit for!

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Remember these chairs?

Remember these chairs?

Illustration for article titled Lets Recall Some Celebrity Book Signings
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I’m including this photo (“Star Search winner Jake Simpson attends Bob Eubanks signing of ‘It’s In The Book, Bob,’ October 8, 2004 at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA”) purely to remind everybody about these very good chairs they used to have at Barnes and Noble. Well, they looked nice, anyway; according to somebody on a Quora question about why they removed the chairs, “As a former BN bookseller, I’d guess that they were simply too unsanitary.” Good point.

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Do they release “official companion” books anymore?

Do they release “official companion” books anymore?

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Here’s Jennifer Garner promoting Alias Declassified in 2002. Speaking of fashion: remember that era of sweaters? Whew. Note the promise of “free exclusive Alias DVD.”

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Do people still buy calendars?

Do people still buy calendars?

Illustration for article titled Lets Recall Some Celebrity Book Signings
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Finally: Here are some firefighters. Not celebrities, but still.

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Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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