For the 13th Annual Authors Night fundraiser on Saturday, August 12, the East Hampton Library welcomed a particularly impressive group of participants, as well as over 2,000 guests who mingled with the featured authors and left with the personally inscribed books of their choice, at the Field at 4 Maidstone Lane. We caught up with several of the fêted literary stars.
Founding Honorary Chair Alec Baldwin signed copies of Nevertheless next to wife Hilaria Baldwin, who penned copies of The Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles for a Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful Life.
“It was really tough because you want to be honest but you don’t want to hurt other people so you really have to pull your punches and figure out where that balance is,” Alec told Hamptons.com about deciding what to include in his memoir.
Hilaria imparted some words of wisdom for those looking for a life change. “Have a sense of humor, don’t take it too seriously,” she shared. “When we look at our health or changing our body, changing the way that we eat, it can feel very overwhelming, but a lot of people are trying to do the same thing and it’s quite possible. It’s simple, it might not be easy, but it’s simple solutions.”
“It’s all the things I like to eat every single day to stay on program and feeling good about life and it’s all the things I love to indulge in that keeps me equally feeling good about life,” Jessica Seinfeld told us about Food Swings: 125 Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue and Vice. “The chocolate cake is my absolute favorite in the book because I make it for people all the time on their birthdays and it makes them so happy when I walk in with a beautiful cake, so I have such great feelings about that recipe.”
But, when asked if anyone (like maybe hubby Jerry Seinfeld) has made it for her, it was a resounding no. “That does not happen at my house,” she explained.
Alex Guarnaschelli had a long line of fans who were excited to leave with a signed copy of Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. “I have a new book coming out in the fall called The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart, which has 180 recipes in it, which is a collection of everything my mom made my entire childhood,” the chef and Food Network star shared. “She had a stack of like five cookbooks in the kitchen that she would reference constantly, and I always promised myself that I would write a book that was one of those five. So that’s the goal of this book and it’s curated for my mom.”
We spoke with Florence Fabricant about Wine With Food: Pairing Notes and Recipes from the New York Times and City Harvest: 100 Recipes from Great New York Restaurants. “Wine with Food was kind of a no-brainer because we had all of these recipes that had I created to go with the wine and they were sitting in files and we hadn’t published them. So it was a question of Eric Asimov, who writes the column with me, deciding which wines and from there I was able to select the recipes to go with. It was really a nice task and easy task and very gratifying,” she explained. “For the City Harvest book, we gathered recipes from probably 250 restaurants that support City Harvest, which is the agency that collects unused food from restaurants, caterers, and so forth to distribute to soup kitchens and the homeless. I went through the recipes that were submitted in order to create a balanced cookbook. In other words I didn’t want six recipes for beets with goat cheese. When I got all of the recipes I looked over them and focused on those that seemed the most doable for home cooks and the ones that I could create a balanced cookbook of appetizers, main courses, desserts, and there were a certain number of recipes that I was familiar with from these restaurants that I really wanted – like the coconut cake from Commune restaurant, which is no longer in existence, so here you have this coconut cake recipe that is complicated but so worth the effort.”
And that delicious dessert is among the longtime The New York Times contributor’s most beloved recipes from the City Harvest cookbook. “I’d say the coconut cake is certainly among my favorites,” she shared. “There’s a bouillabaisse style chicken preparation in Wine with Food that I really like as well.”
Author Holly Peterson, who set her latest book It Happens in the Hamptons in the Hamptons, was thrilled to be a part of the benefit. “I love Authors Night because I love anything that supports writers and books and authors,” Peterson explained. “This tent gets completely heated up with all kinds of celebrities and writers and average people who are willing to support literature, people who wake up at 4 a.m. to try to write books, and just the whole thing makes me happy. I’m very grateful to be included.”
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House author Alyssa Mastromonaco spoke about her time working with President Barack Obama. “I’m really glad that we wrote this book now because it gives people a real window into what it is like to truly value and appreciate public service, and we also wanted to show people that the Obamas really are who you wanted them to be and that they are as kind and thoughtful and generous with their time as we could have imagined,” she explained.
For SoulCycle Senior Master Instructor Stacey Griffith, author of Two Turns from Zero: Pushing to Higher Fitness Goals–Converting Them to Life Strength, the book started in class. “I was trying to see how we could get everything we do in the spin room outside of the spin room, so we recorded over 100 classes and transcribed them all and took the best nuggets out of there and basically went from there,” she explained. “It’s also part memoir, part motivation, a lot of action and intention.”
As for those looking to get their fitness goals back on track, Griffith has some advice. “Usually you have to have some purpose, so a goal or dream or a heartbreak or you’re trying to find love,” Griffith noted. “There’s always a reason why you want to get in shape or feel better so you start there, and then you put one foot in front of the other, read the book, obviously, eat right, and get some sleep – do the right thing.”
For Class Mom author Laurie Gelman, whose husband Michael Gelman was proudly documenting the evening, it was all about writing what you know. “Somebody suggested it to me and I’ve come to realize that you don’t really know what your story is until somebody listens to you and says, ‘You either have to write about this or stop talking about it to everybody because we’re all sick of listening to you,'” she shared. “It’s about a 47-year-old woman who had two children when she was 19 and 20, and as I said she’s 47 and she has a five-year-old who’s going into kindergarten so she’s got to do the whole class mom, trip through school once again. It’s her journey and how she’s decided to not take it so seriously this time.”
Proceeds from Authors Night support the East Hampton Library, a private, not-for-profit organization that offers library services to the East End community free of charge.
For more information, visit easthamptonlibrary.org.