Hillary Clinton appeared at Book Expo on Thursday evening to promote her memoir forthcoming with Simon & Schuster in September, and the surprise reveal was that she was interviewed by author Cheryl Strayed. (The audience of booksellers and others oohed when S&S cep Carolyn Reidy introduced her.) The book is an “emotional catharsis” structured around inspirational quotes that have helped Clinton through particularly difficult times.
After a headline-making appearance at the Recode conference in California the day before in which Clinton criticized the Democratic National Committee, the tone of the Book Expo interview was mostly light and inspirational. Strayed and Clinton joked about the prospect of naming the book “Wilder” and setting up pop-up bookstores together along the Pacific Crest Trail. But Clinton turned more serious when she addressed the way forward from the divisive election. “I am hopeful, but hope needs to be linked to a strategy,” she said. She added that recent events “could cause lasting damage to our institutions” and that she had lost an election before, but had never been left worried about her country. As for the memoir writing process, she described it as “painful” and noted that she was “going a lot further with this book than she’s ever gone before,” making herself more vulnerable. She suggested, “you may think you know what happened [in the election], and you may be right to a certain extent … but I’m going to tell you how I saw it and what I felt and what I thought because you can not make up what happened.” (After the election Clinton took solace in murder mysteries, from authors including Louise Penny, Jacqueline Winspear and Donna Leon.)
Turning back to books in general, she lauded the revitalization of indie bookselling, noting especially the role book stores have played in providing a home for the resistance. She concluded on a positive, if worried note: “I am going to do everything I can to support the resistance…I’m not going anywhere.”