CRUSH book


Writers reflect on love, longing and the lasting power of their first celebrity crush

What people are saying …
“The seemingly lightweight premise of an anthology built around celebrity crushes yields an outstanding selection of poignant and thought-provoking stories.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Charming…The authors do a remarkable job collecting different types of crushes while keeping the reminiscences short and sweet…A book that balances heartbreak and relief, blind love and terror. ”
— Publishers Weekly

“This solid, legitimate anthology that reflects on a compelling and universal phenomenon will put readers back in touch with their younger selves.” — Library Journal

“There’s a lot to enjoy in these…pieces.”
— Washington Post

“Entertaining…Some stories are funny…others are inspiring…Reading these short, angst-packed essays about starting at movie screens and listening to transistor radios is like reminiscing with old friends…[A] reminder that first loves are always worth recalling.”
— Booklist

You never forget your first crush . . .

CRUSH brings together stories of heartbreak, humiliation, and hilarity from a roster of popular luminaries, including James Franco, Stephen King, Roxane Gay, Jodi Picoult, Emily Gould, and Hanna Rosin, who share intimate memories of that first intense taste of love. Here are funny, whimsical, sometimes cringe-worthy tales of falling head over heels for River Phoenix, Mary Tyler Moore, Howard Cosell, Jared Leto, and a host of other pop culture icons.

Swoon-worthy and unforgettable, the essays in CRUSH will leave you laughing, make you cry, and keep you enthralled—just like your first celebrity crush.


2016 CRUSH Calendar of upcoming events


2016 CRUSH Calendar of upcoming events

Check back here for the latest announcements on Cathy’s appearances!

April 19th, 7p – Washington DC, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Crush in conversation with Hanna Rosin

Even if you’re James Franco, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Roxane Gay, or Andrew McCarthy, you never forget your first crush. CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush is a star-studded collection of 38 original essays edited by memoirists Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton.

Contributors – including Alter and Singleton – share tales of the first time they swooned over a rock star, imagined their wedding to a television character, or, miraculously, met their idol. The crushes they reveal are eclectic, poignant, and sometimes surprising, from Tatum O’Neal and River Phoenix to Speed Racer.

Alter and Singleton revisit the feelings of falling for the unattainable in a conversation with contributor Hanna Rosin, and local contributors share the who and why behind their first celebrity crush.

Check availability: I want to go!


Sunday April 24th, 2p – West Hollywood CA, Book Soup

Group event presenting and signing CRUSH – with Cathy Alter, David Singleton, Caroline Kepnes, Jamie Brisick, Janice Shapiro and Nicola Yoon,

Cathy Dave _Credit Ben CarrdusA star-studded collection of essays from acclaimed and bestselling authors and celebrities that illuminates the lasting power of desire and longing, and celebrates our initiation into the euphoria, pain, and mystery that is our first celebrity crush.

You never forget your first crush . . . Crush brings together stories of heartbreak, humiliation, and hilarity from a roster of popular luminaries, including our guests Cathy Alter, Dave Singleton, Jamie Bisick, Caroline Kepnes, and Nicola Yoon. A few contributors channeled their devotion into obsessively writing embarrassing fan letters. Some taped pics in school lockers. Others decorated their bedroom walls with posters. Swoon-worthy and unforgettable, the essays in CRUSH will leave you laughing, make you cry, and keep you enthralled just like your first celebrity crush.

Check availability: I want to go!


May 21st, 10a-6p – Gaithersburg Book Festival

CRUSH with contributors Carolyn Pankhurst, Shane Harris, moderated by Executive Director of The Writer’s Center, Joe Callahan

Cathy Alter is a returning GBF author. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Washington PostWashingtonian,, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post, Smith Magazine, and McSweeney’s.

She is the author of “Virgin Territory: Stories From the Road to Womanhood,” the memoir, “Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over,” and the anthology, “CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush.” Cathy received a B.A. from Colgate University and a M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, where she is a faculty member and a non-fiction advisor. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their son.

Check availability: I want to go!

Washington Post articles archive


The Washington Post

In the Heart of DC’s Tony Georgetown, A Church That Communes With The Dead

The church sits perpetually in the shadows. Tucked back from Q Street NW, it is eclipsed by grand Victorians, including those of Bob Woodward and Realtor Nancy Taylor Bubes. Read more >>

How Do You Save A Lady’s Coronation Robe? Very Carefully

Tied to the front railings of Julia Brennan’s house are tattered handkerchief-size prayer flags from Bhutan, their former colors bleached to white. As the flags disintegrate…. Read more >>

Tommy McFly is the local Ryan Seacrest. But is L.A. calling?

DJ Tommy McFly was driving down I Street in January when he got the call. “It just rang 202,” he remembers. “When the White House calls, it just rings 202.” Read more >>

Party bloggers battle to run D.C.’s top social Web site

Kate Michael answers the door to her top-floor co-op wearing pre-party sweatpants and flip-flops, yet somehow managing to look like the beauty queen she once was… Read more >>

For radio-control plane enthusiasts, the sky’s the limit

Even though my husband and I have been happily married for only six years — newlyweds, practically — we have a “War of the Roses” situation going on in our bedroom. Read more >>

Groove Is In The Heart

Dancing was once my raison d’être. So why had I stopped? Read more >>

The Minor Makeover

Girls just want to have fun? Hardly. Image consulting for teens is serious business. Read more >>

What Lies Beneath

The art of toupee-making is on the wane, but there are still folks who want that custom thatch. Read more >>

Want to see even more links to Washington Post articles? Click here. Continue reading

Washingtonian articles archive



How I Got Through My Friend and Walking Companion Moving 2,400 Miles Away>>
When my friend moved to Canada, I didn’t just lose a walking companion. I lost my footing.

How a Lifelong Worrier Learns to Let Go>>
Living “in the moment” is one way to have a happier day. But can a serial worrier learn to press pause?

Pregnant, 45, and Learning to Drive>>
I was 45, pregnant, and terrified of driving. Could facing my fears behind the wheel help me navigate what lay ahead?

‘Tis the Season for Plastic Surgery>>
The holidays aren’t just about presents and family. For some, it’s the time to get peeled, lifted, or sculpted—and emerge new in the new year.

What’s the Deal with Daily Deals? >>
How Groupon and Livingsocial impact the businesses that run with them and the users who buy with them.

Antiques Roadshow in Washington: Behind the Scenes >>
The author was more excited to go to Antiques Roadshow than to her own wedding, but what she learned took the shine off her favorite TV program.

The Plastic Surgeon’s Wife >>
Being married to a cosmetic surgeon may have beauty benefits–such as free Botox—but does it also mean you’re always being scrutinized?

Great Hair 2011: Istanbul on the Potomac >>
Why do so many hairstylists come here from Turkey? And what makes them so good?

I’m Turning My Body Over to You >>
Writer Cathy Alter had three months to transform her body before a high-school reunion. Were the trainers at an elite gym up to it? Was she?

Being Beautiful Is Not For Wimps >>
Andrea Rodgers whitens her teeth three nights a week. She gets Botox and fillers. Is she way too high maintenance? Or is doing whatever it takes to stay young the new norm in Washington?

The Atlantic articles archive


Me, Myself, and MadonnaMe, Myself, and Madonna
In a new essay collection, women explore why they’re drawn to the Queen of Pop.… More »

What Happens When Parents Have No Parents?What Happens When Parents Have No Parents?

A look at the new book “Parentless Parents,” which explores the pain mothers and fathers feel raising their children after their own moms and dads have died… More »
'My Beautiful Mommy': How a Picture Book Explains Liposuction to Kids ‘My Beautiful Mommy’: How a Picture Book Explains Liposuction to Kids
Decoding the strange messages in a book that’s attempting to demystify plastic surgery for little girls and boys… More »
'Bohemian Rhapsody,' From Queen to 'Glee'‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ From Queen to ‘Glee’
It’s been covered by everyone from Mike Meyers to the Muppets. And now it will live on in a new generation, thanks to an appearance on ‘tweens’ favorite TV show.…More »

A Mother-Daughter Bond, Through Clothes
A Mother-Daughter Bond, Through Clothes
A new book by Jeannette Montgomery Barron explores an ailing mother’s life with the items in her closet… More »


Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Planet Oprah

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Planet Oprah
The Queen of Daytime elicits very different reactions from males and females—with one glaring exception… More »

The Price of Jessica Simpson
The Price of Jessica Simpson
The singer’s new television show is supposed to explore standards of beauty in cultures across the world. But it just highlights the shortcomings of its star.… More »

I Stole From Paul Simon and Elvis Costello--Or Did I?

I Stole From Paul Simon and Elvis Costello–Or Did I?
Is it OK for a writer to use another artist’s words? A new book explores the line between borrowing and stealing.… More »


Why Are There So Many Shows About Little People?Why Are There So Many Shows About Little People?
With tonight’s premiere of ‘Our Little Life,’ there will be a total of seven TV programs about the short in stature… More »

Slip Sliding Through Georgetown
The rich really are different from you and me … especially in their snow shoveling habits.

The Huffington Post articles archive



I Was the Victim of a Fake Boyfriend Hoax

For the past week, most of the gawking nation has been simultaneously captivated and baffled by Manti Te’o and the life and death of his fake girlfriend…. Read more

I Am Pregnant. Please Shut Up: An Etiquette Lesson

I was at a friend’s birthday party when it happened again. Word had got out that I was pregnant, and it didn’t take long for one of the guests, a woman I had only met twice in my life, to come barreling across the room, eyes shining with the unwavering… Read more

A Real Housewives Dream Come True

When I lived in Manhattan, I saw celebrities all the time. I drank vodka gimlets next to Harvey Keitel at a bar on Columbus, stood next to Matt Dillon at party for “Dazed and Confused,” grabbed for the same pair of shoes as Uma Thurman did at the Kenneth Cole… Read more

A Public Apology to Bruce Willis

In a recent interview with the German website, Bruce Willis said that he would never sign up for a social networking site because he finds the concept of online technology like Facebook and Twitter “disturbing.” I fear that I’m partially responsible for Willis’ aversion to the electronic format…. Read more

In Defense of Women’s Magazines

Liz Jones, former editor of Marie Claire, avid collector of Vogue magazines, and frequent target of Jezebel’s arch lambasting, wrote a column in the Daily Mail the other day documenting her long love affair with women’s magazines. A relationship, she laments, that has since come to an end, her former… Read more

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