Who chose these books? PHOTO: Melanie Dunea/ cpi

You Are What You Read

Sylvia Weinstock, Cake artist to the stars 

Tell me about the books you gathered — how do they define you?

Voila it’s Sylvia! photo: Melanie Dunea/ CPi

I have very eclectic tastes and I love to lose myself in books. I love art books, reference books, mysteries, cookbooks, gardening books, and current political and historical books.

Is there any book that you despise?

I have no time for trashy or self-help books.

Which books made you fall in love?

Titles about art deco jewelry are something I have fallen in love with.

Is there one book that you return to over and over?


Sylvia in the spot in her living room where she loves to read. photo: Melanie Dunea/ CPi

Do you remember reading any naughty books under covers at night with a flashlight?

No. If they didn’t have it in the Massapequa library then I didn’t get to read it. Now that you mention it, I do remember reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover as a pre-teen. It was titillating.

What is your first memory of books?

Babar the Elephant.

Self-portrait of Laurent de Brunhoff, author of the Babar books. Photo: Melanie Dunea/ CPi

What are you reading now?

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. Her language is beautiful; it’s a story of sorrow and warmth.

Is there a book that’s hanging over you that you feel you must read?

I think I should re-read some of the classics. Perhaps some of the Russians. I would have such a different perspective on those books now. But it’s hard to keep up with so many new books that keep coming out.

Do you read regularly?

We subscribe to the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and National Geographic.

Do you like to loan your books out?


A stack of books sent to Sylvia from pal Betty Halbreich, the legendary personal shopper. Photo: Melanie Dunea/ CPi

Do you have an electronic reader?

Yes, I use it to read at night in bed and when I travel.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Something like: Keep Going.

Life is a great adventure and age doesn’t stop me!

How do you select which books you are going to read?

Book reviews and word of mouth.

What are you going to read next?

I might try the new le Carré or Robert Caro’s Lyndon Johnson books.

Syliva’s books are organized according to theme — cookbooks, art books, reference books, mysteries and gardening books. Photo: Melanie Dunea/ CPi

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I like all books! Hey, that’s like asking me which kid I like best.

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