Homes in Hoboken will be transformed on Oct. 13 for Novel Night, a gastronomical literary adventure that raises money for the Hoboken Public Library. The book-themed evening, which is organized by the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library, begins at 7:30 p.m. followed by dessert and coffee at 10 p.m. at the library.
As a special treat, several of the locations will include the authors of the books that are being discussed.
Cuisine that adds character
In its fourth year, this storied culinary affair draws close to 200 people. Dinners range in style and setting from Swedish specialties inspired by “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” to a bit of Paris and “damn fine wine” appropriate to “A Moveable Feast.” Guests can choose their food dinner choices from a list of books pre-selected by the hosts. For those who have an affinity for the undead, one host will serve up a New Orleans-styled feast ala “The Vampire Lestat,” while “The Red Tent” host will offer vegetarians mid-east cuisine and pre-dinner drinks served in none other than a red tent.
“Everybody enjoys putting on these dinners but it is a lot of work,” said Melanie Best, member of the Friends of the Hoboken Library. She has been involved in the planning of Novel Night since it first began five years ago. She noted that some hosts get outside help or join together with friends to cook. Despite the work involved to put together the evening, 13 of the 20 participating hosts this year are repeat hosts.
“The hosts are an eclectic group of people.” – Melanie Best
“Every host is different,” said Best. “Hosts may decorate their dining room in a style that matches the theme of the dinner…some of them go to quite elaborate extremes to decorate.”
The organizers keep the names of the hosts private to avoid queries. Novel Night guests won’t know the exact location of where they are dining until a week before the event.
Dining with local authors
In addition to a special-themed dinner, some Novel Night guests will have the opportunity to sit down to dinner with the book’s actual author.
“That is another great bonus,” said Best about authors joining in for the dinners.
Longtime Hobokenite and novelist Mark Leyner will appear at the dinner where his book “The Sugar Frosted Nutsack” will be featured and guests may encounter some nutty fare. Another Hoboken resident – author and New York Times contributor Diana Henriques –will be present for a dinner-themed around her nonfiction book “The Wizard of Lies,” which is about the Bernie Madoff scandal.
“The menu makes reference to the places where [Madoff] had homes,” noted Best.
One of the authors of “The Jersey Sting” will join for a dinner that offers up samples from a number of Hoboken restaurants.
Supporting the library
Best said the event is a popular fundraiser and a way to get more of the community involved in the library’s activities.
The idea for Novel Night was proposed by Amanda’s Restaurant owner Joyce Flinn who had attended a similar event in Westchester County and thought it would be a great idea as a fundraiser for the library.
“She thought it was a terrific concept,” said Best. “It has really caught on.”
“That everybody has a wonderful time, makes new friends – who may even turn out to be their neighbors,” said Best about what would make the event a success.
“That guests come away with a greater awareness of the importance of the library in town,” she added.
While Best did not disclose any specific goal for the amount to be raised, the proceeds from the event will go toward replacing the library’s front door with one that fits the architectural style of the building as part of ongoing renovation efforts.
Tickets are $100 and tax-deductible. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (201) 618-7849.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.