Hillary Clinton wins over crowd with humor while promoting her upcoming book

Hillary Clinton spoke about her upcoming book at the Association of American Publishers' annual gathering. The work is scheduled to be released this June.

J Pat Carter/AP
Hillary Clinton's new book is due out this summer.

Hillary Clinton’s next book is about “our rapidly changing and increasingly interdependent world, and the challenges facing us in the 21st century from Crimea to climate change.”

In other words, she said, “just another light summer read.”

The former secretary of state addressed the Association of American Publishers’ annual gathering in New York Wednesday to discuss her next book, which is about her experiences in the Obama administration and is due out in June. And if her keynote speech is any indication, her forthcoming book should be cataloged under ‘humor.’

While details about the forthcoming book were scarce, as well as any information on whether Clinton plans to run in the presidential primaries in 2016, the witty politician spent much of the 15-minute speech cracking joke after joke. 

“Now I’m still mulling over various titles,” she told the crowd. “But helpfully about a year ago the Washington Post asked readers to send in suggestions.” 

“For example,” she said, eliciting laughter before she even revealed potential titles.

“One possibility was ‘It Takes A World' – a fitting sequel to “It Takes a Village.’” 

“Another plays off my love of all things Tina Fey: ‘Bossy Pantsuit.’”

She cited another title that had been suggested, “Scrunchy Chronicles,” adding her own clever subtitle: “112 Countries and It is Still All About My Hair.”

In all seriousness, the as-yet-untitled book to be published by Simon & Schuster will be about Clinton’s experiences in the State Department as well as her thoughts about the country’s future, she said.

Clinton didn’t say much more about the forthcoming book, but she did reveal a few lessons she’s learned from her previous books.

One lesson: Watch out for foreign translations. Chinese editions of her 2003 bestselling memoir “Living History” deleted passages critical of the government.

And in Bill Clinton’s 2004 memoir “My Life,” a passage about his birth in Arkansas was comically revised, according to Hillary Clinton. Where Bill Clinton writes that he was born “under a clear sky after a violent summer storm in a town called Hope,” the Chinese edition reads “The town of Hope, where I was born, has very good Feng Shui.” 

The biggest lesson, which she said she learned spending nights writing “Living History” while she was serving as New York’s senator – “quit your day job.”

This time, Clinton said she is writing “in the peace and quiet of our farmhouse in Chappaqua.”

As USA Today noted, Clinton also used the talk to promote a literary program the Clinton Foundation is sponsoring, “Too Small To Fail,” which aims to get “real books in the hands of low-income children.”

Clinton said 60 percent of low-income families have no books in their homes, leading to a “word gap” among kids that transforms into “an achievement gap down the road.”

A final joke, as reported by USA Today, touched on a poignant memory from Hillary Clinton as a mother.

Clinton said she often read and sung to young Chelsea at night before bed – books like “Good Night, Moon,” and “Runaway Bunny.”

She would also sing to her daughter, usually “Moon River,” until an 18-month-old Chelsea put her fingers on her mom’s lips one night and said, “No sing, Mommy, no sing.”

That, said Clinton, “made me more of a reader.”

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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