Cristina Alger’s upcoming novel, The Darlings, first came to my attention when I saw that it was being published under the editorial leadership of the Pamela Dorman imprint (the same group which brought us Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Alice Bliss). Then I saw an early review from Library Journal, citing a positive comparison “to the novels of Dominick Dunne and Tom Wolfe.” … and the hunger grows …
I’m going to tease and leave you there … come back Friday for more about The Darlings and, ahem, a giveaway announcement!
In the meantime, read Alger’s wonderful “Spotlight on Bookstores” post about BookHampton. Although she tends to visit in the summer, it seems that “simple, family-oriented, creative, warm” side of the Hamptons exists year-round at BookHampton!
Back in the 1980’s, the Hamptons weren’t as ritzy as they are now; or perhaps I simply don’t remember them that way because I was only a kid. My childhood summers out there were filled with simple pleasures: swimming in the ocean, riding my bike, reading on our porch. A visit into “town” (either East or Southampton, depending on how adventurous we were feeling) meant shuffling reluctantly behind my mother as she browsed through an antique shop or garden supply store. I could usually be bribed into accompanying her with the promise of either fudge (from a candy store which I still refer to as “the Fudge Place”) or books from BookHampton.
BookHampton is a true Hamptons institution. These family-run bookstores (there are three locations, one in East Hampton, one in Southampton, and one in Sag Harbor) have been a mainstay for over forty years. The spaces are all cozy but well stocked, and every BookHampton staff member that I’ve ever encountered is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. In the summer, the stores are so popular that they stay open until 10 p.m., sometimes even later, making them a wonderful pre- or post- dinner or movie destination. They’re also a great haven on a rainy summer afternoon when the beach isn’t an option.
These days, I stop into BookHampton whenever I have the chance, and usually walk away with a book that I hadn’t expected to buy but can’t wait to crack open. I’m also a big fan of their legendary readings, signings and discussions with authors. The Hamptons have a rich literary history (John Steinbeck, James Fennimore Cooper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Plimpton, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway and Truman Capote have all frequented the area) and BookHampton has become part of that tradition, hosting luminaries like E.L. Doctorow, Kurt Vonnegut, Edward Albee, Nelson DeMille, Adam Gopnik and James Salter, to name a few. It’s not uncommon to see local writers (far more noteworthy than me), filmmakers and artists in the audience at BookHampton events. The stores may be small, but they are a large part of the community’s creative life. If ever I have summer guests, I make a point of bringing them by BookHampton, and they almost always want to linger for longer than they planned. There’s something there for everyone, from pre-schoolers to cinema buffs to cookbook aficionados. It’s the side of the Hamptons that I remember from childhood and am always glad to see still exists: simple, family-oriented, creative, warm. I can’t imagine a summer weekend without them.
Books and fudge … sweet childhood memories that satisfy into adulthood!