Trigiani featured at luncheon for Manatee library

mclear@bradenton.comMarch 17, 2013 

Like every author, Adriana Trigiani wants people to read her books. Unlike most, she doesn't care whether you buy them.

"Tell people to go get them from the library," she said. "I don't care about sales. Go to the library."

Lots of people do indeed buy Trigiani's books. Her novels, from her debut "Big Stone Gap" and its sequels "Big Cherry Holler," "Milk Glass Moon" and "Home to Big Stone Gap," on to her most recent work, "The Shoemaker's Wife," almost always hit the New York Times best-sellers list and usually stay there for a long time.

But she's genuinely passionate about libraries, and if you borrow her latest novel instead of buying it, that's just fine with her.

"Having a best-seller is about your book starting a fire and then having that fire spread through the community," she said. "The fire starts in the library. The libraries, they're our community centers. They're what we have left in a culture that doesn't value culture."

Trigiani, who lives in Greenwich Village, N.Y., will be in Bradenton on Friday for the Manatee County Library Foundation Author Luncheon. She said she's thrilled to be able to support libraries, especially Manatee County libraries.

"For many years I came to Circle Books in Sarasota," she said. "It was an independent bookstore and it's now closed and that's a real loss. But I got to know the library system of Florida and the librarians do wonderful work. You have a center, a place that's run by professionals who can help you on any path. Libraries have even become the center for finding employment."

Bradenton lawyer Lori Dorman, the president of the Library Foundation, echoed Trigiani's sentiments.

"The library is such an amazing resource," she said.

"We're fortunate to have a library like ours in Manatee County."

The foundation helps raise money for the county library system, or as, Dorman puts it, "fill the gap" between the library system's budget and its needs.

"And, unfortunately, that gap is growing all the time," she said.

The annual Author Luncheon, now in its 26th year, is not a big fundraiser for the foundation, she said. Most years it just breaks even. But it draws attention to the work of the foundation.

Even before Dorman knew of Trigiani's passion for libraries, she knew she wanted her to be this year's guest.

"One of our board members saw Adriana in Sarasota and said 'You've got to get her,' " Dorman said. "Then I saw her on Youtube and I said 'Holy cow, she's amazing.' "

As soon as local residents started hearing Trigiani would be this year's guest, tickets sold out quickly. Trigiani is the most popular author at the luncheon since Carl Hiaasen.

"We wish we had 700 tickets," Dorman said. "We had 450 and we managed to squeeze in another 20 seats. But that's it. It's sold out."

Because the luncheon -- at the Fete Ballroom at Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch -- is sold out, local Trigiani fans who don't have tickets will have to be content with reading her books, most of which are available in Manatee County libraries.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-749-0411 ext. 7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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