Book Lovers Unite – 11th Annual Author’s Night A Huge Success
By Heather Buchanan
Think of it as a fantastic literary mosh pit. An enthusiastic crowd of 2,000 mingled last Saturday with 100 authors at the 11th Annual Authors Night Benefit for East Hampton Library under a tent of titans of words. Considered one of the nation’s leading annual literary celebrations, the night begins with guests interacting with their favorite and new authors to get books personally inscribed, take selfies, and ask one another in excited hushed tones, “Who’s your literary crush?”
You also might see Honorary Founding Co-Chair Alec Baldwin photo bomb Ed Burns as he signed his book Independent Ed: Inside a Career of Big Dreams, Little Movies, and the Twelve Best Days of My Life.
Amazing talents like Robert A. Caro, Nelson DeMille, Jules Feiffer, and Dick Cavett sit side by side Jeffrey Lyons, Fern Mallis, Judith Miller, Florence Fabricant, Simon Doonan, Jonathan Adler, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Guests walked around with arms piled high with books (the proceeds of the book sales go to the library). Better than a Rorschach test, it’s the fastest way to glean someone’s personality. Kill My Mother, Married Sex and 300 Sandwiches would be totally different from 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, I’ll Drink to That, and Russian Tattoo.
My personal pile included Garden Inspirations by Charlotte Moss, My Paris Dream by Kate Betts, and Hotel Moscow by Talia Garner. My theory is, if you read the life you want you may be able to manifest it. Its also great to see how the authors support each other, Charlotte assured me I would love Kate’s book.
Seeing all these literary luminaries in one place reminds us of the importance of books and the inspiration that the East End provides to so many talented authors. When asked if she would choose Paris or the Hamptons, Kate Betts said Paris or maybe the Hamptons 25 years ago. It’s true that much has changed, and the excitement of a child to go to the library to get the next in the Black Beauty series is now an obsession with Game Boy.
The historic East Hampton Library, now 118 years old, was founded on Ben Franklin’s theory that the rich and powerful should not be able to monopolize knowledge and books should be available to everyone. So while the rich and powerful of the Hamptons may be able to monopolize Further Lane, everyone can get a library card and enjoy not only the books, but the films, computers, classes and programs all offered for free.
Look I fell in love with a man once because he carried a library card. I took it as a sign of great intelligence.
After the cocktail hour about 600 of the guests go to private homes to enjoy intimate dinners with their favorite authors. How fun to have dinner at the home of Gayfryd Steinberg to discuss Michael Shnayerson’s book The Contender: Andrew Cuomo, a Biography or to have a place at the table of Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley with Dick Cavett and Nelson DeMille. That even beats a front row table at Nick and Toni’s on a Saturday night.
A special shout out to Alec Baldwin who not only lives here in the Hamptons but through his Alec Baldwin Foundation makes very generous donations to the cultural institutions of the Hamptons. He single handedly is helping to ensure that the East End is not just filled with expensive cars and yachts, but writers and artists who are the ones who put this place on the map. He also shows up in person and is extremely gracious to his fans. I bet he even has a library card.
If you didn’t get a chance to go – check out the authors to find your best summer reading list.