More than 2,000 guests gathered under a grand tent in Amagansett to meet with nearly 100 celebrated literary legends during the 14th Annual Authors Night. The benefit for the East Hampton Library raised over $400,000, a new record, which will support essential community programs and services that the Library offers at no cost.
“You go there and there’s always tons of kids there. It’s just such a great Center for everybody,” Honorary Co-Chair Hilaria Baldwin, who was signing copies of The Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles for a Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful Life, told us about East Hampton Library.
“We have found that libraries in general are very, very important to us. We have been targeting even more lately. We got tipped off about some libraries in Iowa that were struggling,” Alec Baldwin, Authors Night Founding Honorary Chair, added. “We contacted them and they very oddly told us they don’t want money for books, they want money for food because the kids that come there aren’t getting fed at home and the kids are sometimes asking them for food. It was absolutely one of the most eye-opening things for me. So we’re trying to help them.”
When we asked Alec, who was signing copies of You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody), if we could expect a follow up, he responded with a laugh, “I don’t want to look down that dark tunnel ever again.”
We chatted with Geraldo Rivera about his latest memoir, The Geraldo Show.
“I wrote a memoir in 1990, which covered my early years at Eyewitness News and how I got to be a national celebrity and my talk show years. It kind of ended with the brawl, my infamous brawl with the skinheads in ’88. This book really chronicles from 9/11 on,” Rivera explained. “It was such a dramatic, uprooting event in so many people’s lives and it had a big impact on my life, my family’s and the country’s. I went to war and that’s basically the story.”
Rivera also revealed the topic that has personally been the most gratifying to cover. “The most important stories I’ve done have to do with the developmentally disabled,” he told Hamptons.com. “I exposed the big institutions for the population that we used describe as mentally retarded, now they’re called developmentally disabled. I helped close down the institutions and it was very historic. It was my proudest achievement.”
As per usual, there were many Authors Night regulars, like Honorary Co-Chair Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer.
“This time I have two books, one is From You to Two – because I’m very concerned about people being lonely and the other one is called Stay or Go – that’s for people in a relationship that’s questionable,” she noted. “I like Authors Night. I’m going to eat at Patti Ferrin, she’s on the board.”
There were also several excited first timers. “I’m very pleased,” Daniel Mallory (who pens under the pseudonym A.J. Finn), an Authors Night newbie, told us about being there. “My parents live out in Amagansett and I’ve been out to East Hampton every summer of my life.”
Mallory, who also served as an Honorary Co-Chair, was there to support his tremendously successful first novel, The Woman in the Window. “The book is one of the biggest selling novels of the year and the biggest selling debuts,” he noted. “It’s a psychological thriller in the vein of Rear Window. The film version just started shooting in New York.”
Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World author Joanna Coles dished about dating in the modern world.
“I think people find apps potentially exciting, but they don’t come with operating instructions,” she told us. “The book is a very practical guide on how to get the best out of dating apps, which in theory are great ways to connect with people you might have a lot in common with. But they can also leave you feeling a bit disposable and interchangeable. So it’s really about finding the best apps for you and the best ways to use them.”
Coles also relayed a fascinating tip for those looking for love on a dating app. “I think to look for people who you really have something in common with and be specific in your own profile,” Coles advised. “Also, the data shows that if your first photo is just you and you’re wearing white, you’ll get more matches on it than if you’re wearing any other color – odd, but true.”
Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel, The Midnight Line, includes an unusual plotline for the author – who also served as an Honorary Co-Chair. “Very rarely for me it concerns a modern day story in the news – so it’s got current affairs in it, as well as adventure,” he noted about The Midnight Line. As to why he decided to include current affairs, “It was just random, I never decide anything. It’s just whatever’s on my mind at the time,” Child told us.
Emily Jane Fox shared the most interesting tidbit she uncovered while researching Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family.
“I’ve had been covering the family for about a year-and-a-half when I decided to write a book, and I thought to myself, there’s a façade and an image that the family wants to project, and I wanted to get underneath that image that they wanted to project and really get at the truth of who they were to really understand where they could possibly go and some of the things that were going on right now,” Jane Fox said. “I would say the most interesting thing I learned was how the children were stuck with very bad parents and understanding the depth of that very twisted relationship was fascinating to me.”
“I interviewed about 150 people for the book, people who are as close as you could get to the family – all the way down to the people who played tennis with Ivanka in boarding school,” Jane Fox added. “So, I really feel like I got a full picture of their childhood and growing up and their relationship among the siblings and the parents as well.”
Former White House stenographer and author of From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir, Beck Dorey-Stein shared a piece of wisdom imparted by U.S. President Barack Obama that has stuck with her. “The biggest takeaway I learned from working for President Obama was just to be really kind to everyone,” Dorey-Stein told us. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the president or the stenographer or someone folding towels in the hotel that we’re walking past. It’s just really important to treat everyone with respect and kindness.”
Local author Jeffrey Sussman returned to Authors Night for the third time. This time in support of Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame, and Fortune.
“This is the first biography of Rocky Graziano in 60 years and he was an immensely popular person who had a very interesting life,” Sussman shared. “He started out as a juvenile delinquent that aspired to be a criminal and became not only a successful middleweight boxing champion, but a star on television and the movies, and became a one-man philanthropic organization in his old age. He was kind and generous and a wonderfully colorful character.
Additional 2018 Honorary Co-Chairs included Robert A. Caro and A.M. Homes, and other notable authors in attendance included Amy Chozick, Tom Clavin, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Elliott Erwitt, Florence Fabricant, Jules Feiffer, Wendy Goodman, Michael Gross, Michael Isikoff, Steve Israel, Dave Itzkoff, Ndaba Mandela, Wednesday Martin, Glynnis MacNicol, Malcolm Nance, Bob Roth, Jill Santopolo, Nathan Turner, Piper Weiss, and Chris Whipple.
East Hampton Library is located at 159 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, visit easthamptonlibrary.org.