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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hillary Clinton at the Book Expo

I was very excited to hear that Hillary Clinton was going to be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Book Expo. I was looking at my email when the announcement came through and I was able to snag a much-coveted ticket to the event.

There was a huge crowd lined up an hour and a half early to get into the venue. The program began right on time (probably because CSpan 2 was carrying it live), and author Cheryl Strayed, author of the mega-smash, Wild, was in conversation with Ms. Clinton.

Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster, publisher of the upcoming Hillary Clinton memoir, introduced her, joking that introducing is a relative term when talking about the first female presidential candidate of a major party, former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, since we all know her. She also got a laugh when she said that if only a small portion of the 65 million people who voted for Clinton buy her upcoming book, it will be a massive bestseller.

Clinton received a long standing ovation as she entered, waving to the crowd. Strayed began by asking if Clinton "knows how much we love you, how much you mean to us?" Clinton replied "I hope you know how much you mean to me." Her love and respect for booksellers, librarians and readers choked her up and brought tears to many eyes in the room.

Strayed asked Clinton what her upcoming book would be about, and Clinton replied that it would be about "resilience, where you find the courage to get back up after a painful, really painful experience."

She said that on the campaign trail so many people shared their stories with her. She's learned that "resilience is one of the great gifts to be given in the form of family, friends and faith." She spoke of two people she has been in contact with for years, victims of the 9/11 attack.

One woman was burned so badly, she has had a decade of painful surgeries. Another man was hit by the landing gear of one of the planes. She has kept in close touch with both of these remarkable people, and she said she is "honored and humbled to see how they handle it." That is true resilience in her opinion.

Since this occured at the Book Expo, there was a lot of talk about books. Clinton has always loved reading, and she read every Nancy Drew book as a girl. She liked that Nancy Drew was "such a go-getter- smart, brave, a real role model for me and my friends. She took care of the house, went to school, and solved mysteries."

Clinton also mentioned that she keeps a book log, which contains "every book I ever read as an adult." She read a lot of mysteries after the election- Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, Donna Leon's books and Louise Penny's mysteries set in Three Pines. Clinton gushed about meeting Penny, just like all us book nerds do when we meet a favorite author.

Clinton's talk was captivating and the rapt audience was sad to see it end, but we all look forward to reading her book when it publishes this fall. She even left us a gift on the way out- a signed notecard that now graces my refrigerator.

You can view the entire interview here.

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