Alan Alda @ a workshop for the Alan Alda Medical Experience
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I have Learned (2005) This is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself (2007) In an audiobook that is candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda amuses and moves us with his unique and hilarious meditations on questions great and small.
Communicating with Others, from the Boardroom to the Bedroom (2017) “From iconic actor and best-selling author Alan Alda, an indispensable guide to communicating better - based on his experience with acting, improv, science, and storytelling."
- Along these lines, Alda has won several awards from science groups for his work in science communication - “for his extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public."
- This resonates with me particularly in this age of science denial, and also because my father was a scientist who sought to communicate ideas.
- Definitely listen to Alan Alda read his own books on the Audible Version!
Alan Alda and his wife Arlene, long time Sag Harbor and, more recently, Wainscott residents, are familiar figures in the Hamptons. Alan is often seen on stage at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor of which he is an Artistic Associate.
In 1985 he was honored by the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts recognizing lifetime achievement by artists, creative professionals, and individuals who passionately support the arts in the Hamptons community. This year (2018) he was awarded the Hamptons International Film Festival’s Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award.
Alec Baldwin Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Nevertheless: A Memoir (2017) According to the NY Times Review - “A thorough and sophisticated effort to answer an interesting question: How did an indifferently raised, self-flagellating kid from a just-making-ends-meet, desultorily functioning Long Island family, in Massapequa, turn into Alec Baldwin, gifted actor, familiar public figure, impressively thoughtful person, notorious pugilist?
Beautifully written and unexpectedly moving . . . Baldwin writes with great knowledge about old films, the art of acting, what he has learned from other actors, and about the differences among television, film and theater . . . “He’s a highly literate and fluent writer" says the New York Times.
Alec Baldwin is a familiar figure in the Hamptons, often to be seen on the sidewalk outside of Book Hampton in East Hampton, and in the local restaurants. He serves on the boards of Guild Hall and the Hamptons International Film Festival and is noted for his philanthropy, including the donation of $1 Million to the NY Philharmonic (for which he also served on the Board of Directors), sponsoring (and acting as moderator for) the Guild Hall Hamptons Institute, and donating bookstore gift certificates to Long Island libraries to support literacy programs and fund-starved local schools.
We recommend listening to Alec reading his autobiography on the Audible Version!
Carl Bernstein on CNN 2017
Although best known for his collaboration with Bob Woodward on All The President’s Men (1974) - the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalism that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon, Carl Bernstein also wrote a fascinating autobiographical book called Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir (1989).
The book recounts the tense and intimidating McCarthy era and his own leftist family's persecution in the name of patriotism - family life under forty years of FBI surveillance. My father was also blacklisted, but I was too young (10 years younger than Mr. Bernstein) so I was not really aware at the time. This book brought it all home.
Carl Bernstein is a frequent commentator on CNN and can be seen broadcasting from the study in his North Haven home. He can also be found lecturing or participating in round tables at various venues such as the Hampton Library, Guild Hall and the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center.
Jimmy Buffett at the Marquis Theater on Broadway 2018
Photo Credit Aaron Richter, The NY Times
A Pirate Looks at Fifty (1998) “For the millions of fans of Jimmy Buffett's music as well as his bestselling books, Tales From Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant, here is the ultimate Jimmy Buffett philosophy on life and how to live it."
As hard as it is to believe, the irrepressible Jimmy Buffett hit the half-century mark 20 years ago. In A Pirate Looks at 50, he takes us along on the remarkable journey which he took through the Southern hemisphere to celebrate that landmark birthday. The book headed the New York Times Bestseller List for non-fiction in June 1998, making him the sixth author in that list's history to have reached #1 on both the fiction and non-fiction lists.
Jimmy Buffett occasionally leaves his private bayfront compound in North Haven to sit in unannounced at local music venues such as the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett and Montauk’s Surf Lodge. Over the years, we have also seen him performing solo at Bay Street Theater in a benefit for the local Montessori School, at a Southampton College “All For the Sea" benefit, and at one of Rusty Leaver’s Back at the Ranch benefit concerts at the Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk. Jimmy’s life has changed a bit but . . .
- NY Times: Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle
- “You know Death will get you in the end but if you are smart and have a sense of humor, you can thumb your nose at it for awhile." - Jimmy Buffett
Billy Joel Piano Man
Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography by Fred Schruers (2014)
In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than one hundred hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon.
Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel’s memories and reflections—as well as those of the family, friends, and band members who have formed his inner circle, including Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, Jon Small, and Steve Cohen—this is the definitive account of a beloved rock star’s epic American journey.
Billy Joel is strongly connected to the Hamptons:
- Here is Billy Joel’s Sagaponack Beach House after Sandy in 2012. It sold for $19 million in 2014!
- His Sag Harbor House is across the street from the Dock where he keeps the Downeaster Alexa, which he designed with Coecles Harbor Marine on Shelter Island.
- In August 2001, we were lucky enough to get tickets to a Billy Joel Master Class at Southampton High School - sitting in the two front rows in metal folding chairs. We (the grown ups) were treated, as he took questions from the audience of high school students, to solo performances of some of his biggest hits, as well as a piano duet (2 grand pianos) with English-South Korean pianist Hyung-ki “Richard" Joo playing from Joel’s recently released “Classical" album: Fantasies and Delusions (2001). Wow!
Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Mick Jones at Back to the Ranch Concert 1990
Courtesy of Hamptons Magazine
Paul Simon: The Life (2018) A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation—but without his editorial control—by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn
Here is a Review from the East Hampton Star. The book was preceded by Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon (2016) by best selling rock biographer Peter Aimes Carlin.
Paul Simon has called Montauk home at least since the early 1980s. He performed (with Billy Joel) at the first Back to the Ranch Concert in 1990, raising (in that concert) over $270,000 to help prevent the erosion-imperiled Montauk Lighthouse from toppling into the sea. That was a lot of money then . . .
As host of the subsequent Back to the Ranch fundraisers, Paul Simon helped recruit many big stars including:
- Jimmy Buffett
- James Taylor
- Carly Simon
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
- Johnny Cash
- Willie Nelson
- Allman Brothers
They all helped raise money for local causes, including the Nature Conservancy and the Lighthouse Preservation Fund.
Just this August, Paul Simon made an unannounced appearance at another fundraiser for the Lighthouse. Unannounced - but rumors quickly got around Montauk, and at least 3,000 people showed up for the concert.
In addition to fundraising for local causes, Paul Simon is active in:
- Promoting music education for children
- Raising money for the Children’s Health Fund
- Supporting Richard Leakey’s research institute in Africa
Cover of ‘America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
It is no wonder that Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, born in Southampton and summering in East Hampton as a child, should have so many biographies written about her. Here are just a few:
- America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (2000) by Sarah Bradford - NY Times Best Seller. “Acclaimed biographer Sarah Bradford explores the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the woman who has captivated the public for more than five decades, in a definitive portrait that is both sympathetic and frank. With an extraordinary range of candid interviews--many with people who have never spoken in such depth on record before--Bradford offers new insights into the woman behind the public persona . . . from the aristocratic milieu of Newport and East Hampton to the Greek isles, from political Washington to New York's publishing community.”
- Mrs. Kennedy and Me (2012) by Clint Hill (Jackie’s personal Secret Service Agent during and after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.)
- A Woman Named Jackie: An Intimate Biography of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (2000) by C. Davis Heymann
- Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story (2015) by Barbara Leaming
- And, since we are blogging about biographies, I found it interesting that, during her time in the publishing world Jackie had a hand in several popular books including the Michael Jackson autobiography Moonwalk.
There are so many more . . . Please let me know if I have overlooked your favorites, and check out our other Hamptons Reading List posts:
- Our Hamptons Reading List: Newspapers, Magazines and Blogs
- Our Hamptons Reading List: Non-Fiction Edition
Until next week . . . read great books, listen to great music and don’t forget to Call us or email us to book your stay.