by Bob Minzesheimer)
Before his breakout role as a teenage doctor in the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D., and before he moved on to another hit sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris worked in a bookstore.
At the age of 10, he started volunteering at a store in his hometown of Ruidoso, N.M., and ended up working while in high school.
Harris, now 40, appeared Thursday at BookExpo America, the annual publishing convention, where he described his love of pop-up books "and how they draw the audience in," and "choose-your-own-adventure-books" that pose questions to young readers and let them decide which way the story goes.
When it came to writing a memoir, he thought, "Why not let the reader be the star, to live my life? What if you were Neil Patrick Harris and had choices to make?"
That's the concept behind his interactive memoir, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, to be released on Oct. 14. Publisher Crown promises it will "put the u back in aUtopbiography."
Written in the second person, the book lets readers decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser back in 1989 and whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality, or as Harris put it, "the gay thing." (Harris confirmed he's gay in 2006.)
Instructions will ask readers whether they want to turn the page or go on to another part of the story in a different part of the book.
And if that's not enough, Harris also said his book will include magic tricks, recipes, and even a closing song.
Harris, who's currently starring in the Broadway production of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, ended his book preview by telling a ballroom full of 1,000 booksellers, librarians and publishing employees that his memoir "will be coming to fine bookstores everywhere in October, and -- God willing -- Costco."