Celebrity memoirs and biographies can be irresistible—we’re all curious about the formative experiences of folks like Mariah Carey or Bono (and the promise of salacious gossip doesn’t hurt). Independently published true-life chronicles may not boast the highest-profile authors, but they can provide a window into fascinating lives and experiences unfamiliar to the general reader. The following Indie titles provide unique insights into some unusual professions. 

Leslie Y. Dawson’s Swindler (2022) recounts the history of her felonious father, an upright, successful insurance salesman who, after losing everything in the stock market crash of 1929, turned to selling stock in fictitious mining companies he had invented out of whole cloth. Our review calls the book a “mesmerizing biography, full of drama and subtlety.”

An Improbable Astronaut by Roy D. Bridges Jr. (2022) follows the author’s journey from Southern farm boy to space-faring explorer, a trajectory filled with seemingly insurmountable obstacles that the author overcame through sheer determination and force of will. Our reviewer concludes, “Even readers with just a casual interest in space travel and interstellar exploration will find much to savor in this admirable, inspiring, and heartfelt account.”

The 2022 memoir Attaboy by James Scurti traces the Emmy-winning cameraman’s five-decade career, which includes colorful encounters with luminaries, from screen legend Bette Davis to the fire-breathing rock band Kiss. In one memorable anecdote, pop star Lady Gaga forbids Scurti from eating doughnuts in her presence. Top that, Bono! Our reviewer concluded, “fans of celebrity culture, as well as on-set and backstage drama, will eat up Scurti’s sensational stories.”

Arthur Smith is an Indie editor.