The best way to read the New York Times's Week In Review section is: On the beach, clad in just a Speedo, whilst smoking a cigar. Certainly the man pictured, an awesome snowbird named Dick Stern, agrees. On Sunday, we checked out the beach, as they say "out there." (For non-snobs, that means we went to Main Beach, which is pretty much an extension of East Hampton's Main Street.) Awkward photographer of the rich Laurel Ptak and I hit the dunes to find out what East Hamptonites read.
Reading fell into four major categories. Since we went on a Sunday, nearly every towel was accompanied by a copy of the New York Times. With the exception of Dick here, the Week in Review went mostly untouched, as did the Metro section. People went deep on Sunday Styles. But, as one man told us, you can only read the Sunday Times once. (True, but it takes like 20 whole minutes!) After the Times, most people turned to the peculiar genre of magazines devoted solely to living in the Hamptons. Per capita, the Hamptons probably has more magazine titles per reader then anywhere else. You have Hamptons, Hamptons Style, Dan's Hamptons Paper, Social Life, and Hamptons Cottage and Gardens, to name just the big ones. The value of these magazines, as far as we could tell, is that they are full of pictures of the very people who are reading them.
But for those who find the Times or themselves too boring, there was always Harry Potter. And for those who thought themselves above J.K. Rowling's masterpiece, there was Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns," which let others know that the reader was a serious person with intellectual heft and a liberal interest in "minorities."
And then there were those for whom no books were needed. The beach is why God made BlackBerries.