Jennifer Weiner Keeps 'Em Laughing At Library Foundation Luncheon

March 17th, 2011 Bradenton
New York Times best-seller Jennifer Weiner is guest of honor at ‘Book and Author Luncheon.’
By JoAnne Klement
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Government budgets may be tight, but Manatee County readers turned out to help support The Library Foundation at its “Book and Author Luncheon” on Wednesday at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium. And readers lined up with stacks of books for visiting author Jennifer Weiner to autograph.

Diana Wilkerson leaned over to Weiner with four books for her to sign and said, “I am still laughing” about one particular book.

“She has a quick, clever sense of humor but also handles serious topics well,” Wilkerson said about Weiner, whose first attempt at novel writing, 2001’s “Good in Bed,” made The New York Times best-seller list.

Both Foundation President Eileen Hoffner and Vice President Lori Dorman reminded the filled auditorium, “If you love reading, tell your legislators you care about the library.” A list of elected officials was included in the program, and attendees were reminded the list was also on

Because of tight budgets, funds raised by the Foundation have been used to purchase books, DVDs, CDs and other materials normally included in the library’s operating budget.

“Our projects have also included funding for the Bookmobile, purchasing computers and wireless networks in the branches and digitizing all the photographs in the Manatee County Historical Library,” Dorman said.

“Unfortunately, with Florida’s depressed economy, more and more people depend on the library for resources and technological services, including Internet access,” she added. “Library use is up substantially, but state and local government funding have been significantly reduced. The Library Foundation can’t make up all the shortfall, but our annual contributions help fill a small part of the gap by providing funding for materials and technology.”

Weiner continued the theme of love for reading in her humor-filled talk, punctuated with many bursts of laughter from the audience.

“Before I became an author, I became a reader” she told the 400-member audience. Adding that her parents permitted her great freedom in selecting her books from their personal collections, she said, “I started with my father’s medical books because they had pictures of naked people.”

She answered a question popular with readers by saying, “I get my ideas at Target because they have everything there.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Weiner worked as a journalist for 10 years before her first book was published. In trying to get her book printed, she wrote 25 letters to 25 agents and received 24 rejections. The one who accepted her had many changes she wanted Weiner to make, so Weiner moved on and finally found an inexperienced agent who took her on.

The secret of her success: “I know how to tell a good story.”