Book Markers for 9.29.16

Local Book Notes

Achievement Award for Caro

Robert Caro is the author of just five books in his 80 years, but what books — from 1974’s “The Power Broker,” about the urban planner Robert Moses, practically required reading for anyone interested in the history of New York City or the art of biography, to the monumental “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” series: “The Path to Power,” “Means of Ascent,” “Master of the Senate,” and “The Passage of Power.”

The part-time East Hampton resident has now added to his accolades a National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement, given for a “distinguished contribution to American letters,” it was announced last week. 

“Caro’s in-depth and long-term exploration of the lives of two prominent men makes a much larger contribution to American letters than it might seem at first glance,” Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation, said in a release. “His life’s work, and his stunning prose, teaches us to better understand political influence, American democracy, and the true power of biography.”

He will receive the award on Nov. 16 at the National Book Awards ceremony, dinner, and benefit in Manhattan, at which awards in poetry, children’s literature, nonfiction, and fiction will be given out, the latter category including Colson Whitehead, of the Sag Harbor family, for his novel “The Underground Railroad.” 

Mr. Caro joins Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, and Ursula K. Le Guin in winning the lifetime achievement award. He is at work on the fifth installment in his L.B.J. series.

 

Boo! It’s “Ghost Hampton”

The title might recall a stroll down a South Fork Main Street post-Tumbleweed Tuesday, or a visit to one of our beaches just now — deserted despite waters still plenty warm for a dip — but in reality “Ghost Hampton” is what the title says it is, a ghost story set here. Bridgehampton, specifically, where a real estate lawyer is ethically challenged (no surprise there), down on his luck and alcoholic (adding to his sympathy quotient), and in possession of newfound paranormal abilities (the novelistic twist). 

The haunting comes by way of Jewel, a fetching but long-dead girl from Victorian times who tells the lawyer his daughter, a Southampton Town police detective, has four days to live. He is thus moved to save an old Victorian house on behalf of the specter. Enter a parasitical TV reporter and . . . 

Want more? The author, Ken McGorry, will appear at two local libraries to read from his debut tale of mystery, first in East Hampton on Saturday at 1 p.m., and then at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton on Tuesday night at 7. 

 

Flash Fiction at the Parrish

The idea is to prowl the polished floors of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill in search of inspiration from its permanent collection. You write a bit of short, very short, fiction based on what you see, and then gather in a studio to read it and talk. So whaddaya say?

One Jennifer Senft, who teaches in the English and humanities departments at Suffolk Community College, will lead such a class on Friday, Oct. 7, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The cost for the single session is $40, or $30 for museum members, and registration is by phone with the Parrish. 

Ms. Senft, please note, will be back at the museum to lead a poetry class (villanelle, haiku, or free verse) on Nov. 18, which is also a Friday, also from 1:30 to 4, and also for $30 or $40, depending. This time the inspiration will come from the collection, yes, but additionally from the potato barn-like building itself and the wild-growing grounds surrounding it. 

But wait, looking to indulge an urge for ever-popular memoir? Look no further than the Hampton Library, because Eileen Obser, East Hamptoner and veteran writing instructor, will return there for a $75 six-week series starting Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. Registration is by phone with the library.