Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tracey Talks

Hello ...
by Tracey Jackson

Every summer East Hampton Library
has an event where it gathers all the writers who live in the various Hamptons, sticks them under a tent with a pile of their books and sells tickets so folks can come meet the writers, buy their books, get them to sign them and raise money for the library in the process.

Finding published authors in the Hamptons is about as difficult as collecting animals at the zoo, not that I'm comparing the two species.

I am in fact deeply honored to be a part of this event for the second year in a row. A little history for those of you who did not know, and I did not know until I read the program for last night.

In 1732 a young Ben Franklin, and his friends formed the Library Company of Philadelphia to improve themselves and their community. He believed the rich and powerful should not be able to monopolize knowledge as had been done for centuries in Europe. Books should be available to everyone. That was probably the first library in the country.
Under the tent at East Hampton's Library 8th Annual Authors Night. Photo: Lisa Tamburini.
So the rich and powerful of East Hampton honor this tradition and keep their library going. Now that was just me attempting to be funny and it might have come out a bit on the the snarky side; which could mean I would never be invited back. The library here is a wonderful institution.

And just because the Hamptons has a the highest per capita income rate in the country does not mean there should not be a library. And my guess is if Ben were alive he might have a house here nestled between Steven Spielberg and Gwyneth Paltrow. Ben did like the good life.
Here I am my little pile of Jackson books. But really my favorite part is getting to spend some fun hours with A.J. Jacobs. Feel free to order my book, here!
This is his new book DROP DEAD HEALTHY — A MUST READ. Really buy it now, on your Kindle, at a store. Go to the Library if you must, but read it.
But meanwhile back to the event. We all gathered in the tent, alphabetically placed, our little pile of books donated by our publishers, Thank You Harper Collins for mine, and we set about trying to sell. Or we sat and chatted.

Now I'm blessed as my name is Jackson and that means I get to sit next to one of my favorite authors, and I'm not just saying this, he is too funny, he has had three bestsellers, maybe four, why does this sound like I'm announcing him for the Jimmy Fallon show? A.J. Jacobs.
This is A.J. and his lovely wife Julie. And if your are familiar with his work you know that along with Glenn she is the best sport in the world of writer's spouses.
I can't make this all about A.J., but I mean it ... buy the book. Here we have Martin Amis, or at least his name tag. I think he was there. I think Glenn spoke to him. Or I am imagining that.
Did I mention you should buy A.J. Jacobs book DROP DEAD HEALTHY. He's not paying me, I promise.
This big popular guy, David Baldacci, sells a ton of books at Walmart. I'm not being disrespectful here. Trust me, we would all love to sell a lot of books at Walmart. Most authors have thirty of their books there to be purchased. I guess they knew David Baldacci would sell a lot more than thirty.
Here he is — he looks like a very nice man, and he was very busy signing books.
This is A.J. talking with some of his many fans. A lot of them young, pretty girls. Right, this is not all about A.J. I just love his books. His book YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY is great, too.
The big literary draw of the night was local writer Robert Caro, who was signing the latest installment of his biography on LBJ. Bob Caro happily signing away. He is a lovely man and an extraordinary writer.
Bob Caro is not the only talented member of the Caro clan; his wife Ina writes wonderful books about Paris. She was there signing too.
This is a writer called Hilary Knight, who despite the fact I had never heard of him, is very popular. Notice he is out of books. I did find out he illustrated all the Eloise books. A lady came up to me breathless and said, "Where is Hilary Knight?" He is the only reason I came. I said, "you look over fifty," and held out my book. Actually, I didn't. I told her to buy A.J.'s book. I don't think A.J. knew who Mr. Knight was either, and he has read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He wrote a book about that.
There were people there who were not writers. This is former hot-shot literary agent Ira Silverberg, who is now Literature Director for The National Endowment for the Arts. I was so happy to meet TV comedy writer Nell Scovell IRL. We are Facebook friends and have been messaging for a few years now. I'm a big fan of hers.
Valerie Heller, widow of Catch 22 author Joe Heller, was hanging out with comedian and author Robert Klein.
Author Bob Morris was there covering it for The New York Times. This is Anne-Marie Belli, who is one of my favorite people as she works at Crawford Doyle Books and keeps my book in the window. Thank you Anne-Marie!
Made my night — maybe my week. My favorite inscription ever. Means a lot coming from him. Did I tell you to buy his book?
Tracey can be reached at tracey@traceyjacksononline.com. Visit her website here.