Author’s Night 2017: A Big Tent for All

On Author’s Night, the yearly festive fundraiser for the East Hampton library, writers sit in rows under an enormous tent, alphabetically, or so the signs say. This year, with books by Alec Baldwin (Nevertheless: A Memoir) and Ann Coulter (In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!), the tent could not have been big enough. By some feat of strategic seating, B and C were on opposite ends of the space, with each end drawing huge lines. Fortunately, fisticuffs avoided, the event remained politically correct, with each celebrated at his/her own private dinner following the group book signing.

Always a happy meeting of fiction, non-fiction, presidential biographies, Kennedyfamily lore, garden andcookbooks alike, Author’s Night was abuzz with book-lovers. NY Times columnist James Barron had an esoteric book, The One-Cent Magenta: The Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World, April Gornika book of her charcoal drawings. Montauk was well represented by Martin London, Martha Rogers, and her husband Dick Cavett. Regulars Robert Caro. Erica Abeel, Florence Fabricant, and the colorful team of Amy Zerner andMonte Farber with their new astrology cookbook signed their work for fans as their stacks dwindled down. 

By the time I got to Robyn Lea, her books were gone. The photographer and writer of Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe: Recipes, Art, Landscapes, a gorgeous coffee table sized book featuring the artist’s career and life in Santa Fe, had flown in from Australia for this event and the after-dinner, hosted by Hamptons Magazine at the home of Michael Braverman with its amazing book lined library.

All six authors honored there were women so Hamptons publisher Debra Halpertand editor-in-chief Samantha Yanks exhorted the men to step up their game.Elizabeth Vargas with her book, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, had been seated beside the sunny Jessica Seinfeld in the tent. A high-profile tv anchor, she wrote about her alcoholism. Laurie Gelman’s novel,Class Mom, about the infighting in the dangerous world of parenting is informed by her experiences in New York schools, while the fictional drama is set in Kansas City. Cookbook heavy, the dinner also showcased food tomes by Annie Falk, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Marissa Hermer. I was fascinated with the idea that the rice krispie treat could yield as many as 93 recipes in Jessica Siskin’smillennial favorite. FYI, her Treat Yourself is Barbie pink.

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