"Non-fiction for sale here," hawked comedian Robert Klein, seated in a row of writers under the Author's Night tent at Gardiner's Farm this past Saturday. Readers crowded about, one wanting to know whether the location in his memoir's title, The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue, was in Brooklyn or the Bronx. The Bronx, said Klein, selling soft. Jeffrey Lyons was back with the paperback of his book; Dr. Ruth attended for the first time with -- what else? -- sex advice; other authors included David Margolick, Martin Amis, David Baldacci, Robert Caro, Dava Sobel, Ken Auletta, Sam Talbott and Lynn Sherr with Swim: Why We Love the Water.
Dr. Bonnie Jacobson had a stack of self-help books including one on overcoming shyness. Those who weren't thumbing pages were sampling oysters, sushi rolls and sliders. Tovah Feldshuh chatted with writers, not finding Alec Baldwin. That's funny. He was everywhere, strolling about mugging with authors, a founder of this yearly event with Barbara Goldsmith to benefit the East Hampton Library.
Writers then dispersed, to be feted in private homes. (Patrons buy a seat at the table.) I went to Michael Braverman's East Hampton home with its ample grounds and two-tiered library reminiscent of the one the Beast built for Belle in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. After parking on Montauk Highway, diners were driven in golf carts along a lengthy path to the house. Never making a more splashy entrance, I shared the ride sandwiched between Alec Baldwin's new wife Hilaria and her friend Michelle; Baldwin and posse stopped here for photos before going elsewhere for dinner honoring Dick Cavett.
The dinner, hosted by Hamptons Magazine, which this week features a cover with one of the authors, comedian Ali Wentworth, celebrated several more: Scott Annan, the novel-writing team, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, a party planner, Jennifer Gilbert, Robert Klein, and Stewart F. Lane, a theater producer; the writer of Jews on Broadway told me his passion for Broadway began when he was growing up in Great Neck, when he saw his childhood friend's father, Sid Caesar, acting on Broadway in a matinee of Little Me.
Over petit fours in the library, Robert Klein reminisced about Marvin Hamlisch; they worked together at a recent event also featuring Lucie Arnaz, where it was apparent the songwriter was frail. Looking forward to his performance at Bay Street Theater Monday night, Klein raced back to NYC for Tuesday's memorial at Temple Emanuel.
As to other books: On Sunday, in an interview with Florence Fabricant at Guild Hall, Marcus Samuelsson, chef and author of the much acclaimed memoir Yes, Chef, recounted his journey from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem. He remembered Sylvia Woods, of Sylvia's in Harlem, where he now serves his signature dishes at The Red Rooster. Recently deceased, Sylvia was a neighborhood hero.
Offering cooking wisdom, he stressed the importance of home cooking for developing taste for good food in children. Prepare a dinner party based on your heritage. Be spiritually conscious, attuned to seasons, and let the ingredients shine. Extolling the virtues of pressure cookers, woks and steamers, the celebrity chef clad in plaid shorts and red high tops recommended washing fine knives by hand: "Care for them as if they were Manolo Blahniks."
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