NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reality television personality Snooki doesn’t read books much, nor magazines or newspapers for that matter -- unless she is in them.
But the popular 23 year-old castmate from hit MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” has written a book, and it’s not just the now ubiquitous memoir from B-list celebrities that are often successful these days. Snooki is taking a risk, releasing this week a novel, “A Shore Thing,” inspired by her exploits along New Jersey’s famed boardwalk in the U.S. summer.
“I didn’t want to do what everybody expected me to do, like an autobiography, or how to be a guidette,” she told Reuters, referring to one of the TV show’s signature slang words for a female Italian American.
“I wanted to surprise everybody, so I did a novel,” she told Reuters.
“Jersey Shore” landed on the U.S. pop culture map with a bang about one year ago, and its cast members in their 20s are now stars. The show puts the men and women in a house -- the first one in Seaside Heights, New Jersey town and for season two, in Miami -- and turns the cameras on as the group parties all night and looks to hook up with the opposite sex.
Their antics have made audiences laugh, applaud and, occasionally, drop their jaws in sheer wonderment. Season No. 3, in which the cast returned to Seaside Heights, debuted on MTV last week to the biggest audience ever for a series telecast on the youth-oriented network, 8.45 million viewers.
Snooki, whose real name is Nicole Polizzi, is a ringleader as a TV personality. As an author, she is equally adept at promoting her novel unlike some of her fiction-writing contemporaries. During a TV interview, she smiled and expertly showed off the cover that features her signature voluminous “poof” hairstyle she has worn from age 16.
In “A Shore Thing,” Snooki’s main character is based on Snooki. The author said she is a “pint-sized” and “carefree outspoken party girl,” who with partner in crime -- based on her “Jersey Shore” castmate Jenni “Jwoww” Farley -- cruises the Jersey Shore looking for fun and boys.
The book pokes fun at Snooki’s real-life arrest in July last year for public drunkenness while taping the TV show’s current season.
“It’s a scary thing,” She said about the incident, “especially for a little four-foot-nine girl, so I wanted to put it in the book but also have a silly side to it. Because I don’t want people to think it’s so serious, because it was just a little mistake. Lesson learned.”
To help write “A Shore Thing,” Snooki enlisted collaborator Valerie Frankel, who Snooki said, wrote “the good paragraphs and, like, the good sentences ... obviously I wrote her things that I wanted her to put in the book.”
The 4-ft. 9-in. Polizzi has no qualms that the world’s literati who are steeped in great American novels might scoff at her fiction. “I can’t please everybody, and as long as my fans love it and they are happy with it, that is all that matters,” she said.
But she admitted to some concern about being compared to other writers. “I am in like a whole new category, I am like a weirdo, so I don’t want to be compared to the greatest authors ever, so I was a little intimidated,” she said.
Her literary inspirations, she said, came from comedian Chelsea Handler, the “Twilight” series of teen vampire novels and Nicholas Sparks’ romance “Dear John.” She also loves cheerleading magazines, owing to her years as a cheerleader.
Asked if she reads newspapers, Snooki replied: “No, not really, not unless I‘m in them.”
On the success of “Jersey Shore,” Snooki said she and her castmates initially “felt like we were boring,” but after awhile they knew people could relate to them.
One day, she said, she may do her own TV show -- she has already tried to pitch some ideas -- but “it wouldn’t be what everybody is expecting. I am all about real.”
And she hoped to not stop at one book of fiction. “Maybe there is a sequel to this, I don’t know.”
Reporting by Christine Kearney and Kilmeny Duchardt, editing by Bob Tourtellotte