Friend of BookHampton Alec Baldwin arrived at our East Hampton store on Saturday just before 4:00 to read from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, saw the mass of eager readers who showed up to hear him, and made a quick and generous offer: he would do two events that day.
He then extended his hand toward the group of young readers at his feet: would anyone like to read with him?
Three lucky girls read aloud with Baldwin on Saturday, beginning with Arianna. The two alternated passages, Arianna picking up where Baldwin left off, reading the first part of Chapter One. Then Nina, a fifth grader, was invited to take her seat next to Alec and complete the chapter with him. He then signed copies of Huckleberry Finn for kids who promised to finish the book and adults who agreed that another reading of the sometimes controversial novel was in order.
After the first crowd dispersed, those remaining in the line that still stretched down Main Street were seated, and the second reading began. Alec chose Cecilia to read with him; she had attended the first reading and enjoyed herself so much that she lingered for the second. To her surprise, it paid off, as Baldwin kept Cecilia at his side for the entire reading.
"She even has the inflections down!" he exclaimed as the audience cheered for the sixth grader. Cecilia's parents were shocked to see her beside Baldwin when they arrived after the reading began. "No one will ever believe this!" her mother exclaimed.
Baldwin then graciously signed more copies of Huckleberry Finn along with his own book A Promise to Keep. "It's always fun for me to read to the kids at BookHampton. Charline has a great bookshop, and I hope her program of readings for children grows even bigger."
This Saturday February 26, the BookHampton Winter Lecture Series presents "Writing Your Own Story" with Lou Ann Walker, the author of A Loss for Words and Hand, Heart and Mind and a recipient of the Christopher Award. She'll share insights and practical advice on the art of self-observance and memoir writing. The event will take place at 5:00pm at BookHampton in East Hampton.