The Ten Most Interesting People I Met in Books in 2010
Sure, there are plenty of ten-best-books lists to go around, but not all of the most interesting people appear in the best literature. The ten people on this list are all real, and I made their acquaintance through nonfiction books that either they’ve written or were written about them.
I’ve also spent many evening with colorful fictional characters, but their adventures could not compare to the doings of such intriguing personalities as Frenchy Brouillet, Ruth Handler, Lek Chailert, Jeff Klima and the eight others listed here (in no particular order). Meet the people with whom I’ve spent many an engrossing evening...
Frenchy Brouillet is the kind of guy everyone should know, yet most people should avoid. In Mr. New Orleans: The Life of a Big Easy Underworld Legend, Frenchy introduces himself to those outside the Crescent City who might not know him. He also throws in lots of dirt about infamous mobsters, prostitutes, and—most importantly—he reveals who killed JFK. Mr. New Orleans: The Life of a Big Easy Underworld Legend is a joyride through “Nawlins,” and Frenchy Brouillet is a knowing guide.
Jeff Klima, author of The Dead Janitors Club: Pathetically True Tales of a Crime Scene Cleanup King, regales the readers with true-life tales of after-death tidying. Most of the homes he cleaned were crime and suicide scenes, but his stories of what he found in hoarders’ homes are astounding. As a college student badly strapped for cash who really hated retail, Klima jumped at the chance when a ground-floor opportunity in a crime scene clean-up company arose. His hilarious book is also morbid, dark, disturbing, creepy, and unsettling—therefore, highly recommended.
Stephen Schochet provides a glimpse into the daily business of being a Hollywood tour guide as well as lots of dirt on celebrities, both current and from the long past, in Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! While Schochet’s book may not inspire many to run out and take the same career path, its short pieces fascinate and entertain.
Pat Brown began her career as a profiler when she became suspicious of a young man who rented a room in her home. In The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths, Brown shares suspicions of her tenant and goes on to discuss some well-known cases. She also details the frustrations involved in her job and the need for comprehensive forensics training.
Ozzy Osbourne has had an awful lot to say, and most of it includes the repetitive use of “bad words.” In The Wit and Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne, author Dave Thompson uses Ozzy’s quotations to draw a portrait of a man who, more than anything else, doesn’t give a damn what we think of him. Full of Ozzy’s philosophies, complaints, and reminiscences, The Wit and Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne is crudely funny, sentimental, and outrageous.Continued on the next page