SHRUB OAK, N.Y.-On Feb. 10, book lovers of the John C. Hart Library were treated to an early Valentine’s Day gift: a visit by best-selling author Adriana Trigiani.
The evening program and reception was a fundraiser held by the Friends of the Hart Library. Trigiani is not only the author of 17 books published in 36 countries, but a playwright and a TV producer. She also directed the film version of her novel, “Big Stone Gap.”
To say the audience was charmed by Trigiani’s talk is an understatement. Her delivery ranged from stand-up comedian to home-grown Italian philosopher. She joked about her big family, and about hoping she wouldn’t have a boy when she was pregnant with her daughter, Lucia, because she hated sports. She cried when she remembered her recently deceased mother. Trigiani captivated the audience with tales of Italy, where church bells woke her to the awesome view of the “unchanging mountains.” Trigiani transitioned to problem-solving in her career using her mother’s skills for coping with family while she directed her movie. Her mom’s advice: “The answers to everything can be found in a book.” Trigiani said, “Librarians know a little bit about everything.”
Ellen Tannenbaum, head of adult services at Hart Library, brought the author to Shrub Oak. The two met at a library conference and became friends. Tannenbaum said they shared many good times and several bittersweet moments and have become very close. Trigiani’s mother was a librarian, so she is a library enthusiast and wants to be part of Hart Library.
The audience featured men, but comprised mostly women. Her books might be considered “chick-lit,” but the males of the group said they enjoy her work. Trigiani shared a message for women who often take a back seat to praise and recognition for their accomplishments. She told the fans that the first screenplay at MGM was written by a woman, as was the first episodic TV programming, yet no one knows their names. However, the highest paid screenplay writer in early Hollywood was a woman named June Mathis. She expressed her displeasure with reality TV housewives’ stereotyping, especially Italian women. Trigiani’s advice to women: Get yourself a fancy notebook and write your own history. Create a “dream board” from magazines or any source that inspires you. “Everyone has a story to tell, if only to their family,” she said.
Trigiani spent the rest of the reception chatting with fans and signing her book, “Kiss Carlo,” which was included in the price of the ticket. Her cookbook, “Cooking With My Sisters,” containing family recipes and lore, was also available. The guests were treated to refreshments prepared and served by volunteers (friends and library staff) as well as local businesses.