It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
It is Westchester Wednesday, that special time when this writer gives back to a community she knows and loves.
Today, BookOrBust spotlights the White Plains Public Library.
Sunday morning, Oct. 14, 2012.
It was noon when I stopped by the White Plains Public Library to attend its first annual book group and author brunch. A group of more than 75 men and women were already seated by the time I had arrived. If you were lucky enough to reserve a seat for this event, and I was, then you know about the giveaways, lively book discussion, candid author interview with novelist Jonathan Tropper, and spirited time enjoyed by all. If anyone was seeking a mentally healthy respite from election year hoopla, then this happy gathering of avid book readers at the White Plains Public Library, was certainly the place to be.
How does this writer find right words to write about Library Director, Brian J. Kenney, PhD, his cheerful staff, an excellent program, great author interview --and more, and get it right -- without gushing?
What can I say?
I can say that I was greeted warmly.
I can say that there was a scrumptious buffet of fresh fruit, assorted bagels, celery cream cheese, muffins, jams, jellies, hot coffee, tea, ice cold juices and more, enough for every hungry attendee to sate a hearty appetite.
I can say that along with a good cup of coffee, I got a canvas tote bag filled with books, pen and bookmarks. Everybody did!
What I want you to know is that I got to hear librarian, Barbara Wenglin speak.
Wenglin opened the program and welcomed guests, sharing her "Top 5 Tips for Book Groups."
I like how she advised her audience to be open to others.
"Reading by yourself is lonely," Wenglin said. Then she encouraged individuals to seek out other readers and book groups, saying, "It only takes two people to form a group."
Wenglin listed her recommended book list for book clubs. Among them:
"Three weeks in December," by Audrey Schulman
"Hotel on the Corner of bitter and Sweet," by Jamie Ford
"The Sense of an Ending," by Julia Barnes
As Tropper stepped onto the stage, Librarian Wenglin commented how within the local community, Tropper was being compared to, and had become known as, the "Chekhov of Westchester," prompting Tropper to tell the story about his first published book and his first book reading. "I was inexperienced," he said. "My mother and several of her friends were in the audience. I opened the book and read the first chapter. It was about oral sex." To which, a red-faced Wenglin asked, "Do you allow your children to read your books?"
Said Tropper, "I do not allow my children to read my books?" Adding, "I kinda' wish my mother didn't read my books."
I found Jonathan Tropper, dry, smart and funny, necessary ingredients for a good novel. I can't wait to read his books.
My favorite question and answer was when Wenglin asked Tropper, a former Professor and teacher of creative writing at Manhattanville College the magical question, "Can you teach creative writing?"
"You can't teach anyone to write fiction," Tropper said. "It comes from inside. It's intuitive. You either have that or want that."
The interview progressed and I learned that Jonathan Tropper does not use an outline for his novels; he works on whatever deadline is due first, and that he is bi-coastal, splitting his time between here, Westchester, NY, and California.
"One Last Thing Before I Go" is a success. Already, it is wanted by a celebrity film maker. At this time Tropper is busy turning it into a screenplay.
There is more to tell about Jonathan Tropper, his interview, and his method of writing five novels. I found interesting his revelation about takiing one year off from writing to just read.
Jonathan Tropper is Author of four additional novels:
After the interview, Jonathan Tropper did a book signing.
Thank you Brian J. Kenney, PhD, White Plains Public Library Director and your marvelous staff for a wonderful program, good food, great giveaways. Thank you Barbara Wenglin, White Plains Public Library Librarian for your "Top 5 Tips for Book Groups" and excellent author interview. And, thank you, author/novelist Jonathan Tropper, wherever you are, for sage words of wisdom.