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Book News: Chinese Importer Talks About Why Clinton's Book Was Dropped

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book <em>Hard Choices</em> earlier this month at a Barnes & Noble store in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book Hard Choices earlier this month at a Barnes & Noble store in Los Angeles.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • An employee of the importer Shanghai Book Traders spoke to The Associated Press about the reasons Hillary Clinton's book Hard Choices was blocked in China, a country Clinton refers to in the book as the "epicenter of the antidemocratic movement in Asia." The employee, who gave only his surname Hua, told the AP that the importer considered the material too sensitive to bring into the country. A Simon & Schuster press release last week said no Chinese publishers bought the translation rights and that the English version will not be sold on Chinese Amazon. The publisher said it's the result of fear of punishment from the Chinese government. Simon & Schuster President Jonathan Karp told Buzzfeed in an interview, "There's no formal written explanation for why, except for the obvious reason that, in the past, we've been told that the import agencies don't want to risk the wrath of the Chinese government." He added, "It's a pretty clear indication of the low level of intellectual freedom in China right now." AP notes that Clinton's 2003 book Living History was published in China, but was recalled after the publisher realized it had been significantly altered without approval, with passages critical of China excised.
  • Lisa Lucas has been named the publisher of Guernica, a small online literary magazine that punches way above its weight class. The magazine is run by unpaid volunteers, but Lucas will be "the magazine's first full-time, paid employee," according to a press release. Lucas had been working as the magazine's volunteer publisher. (Guernica's latest special issue is on class in America, and it's glorious.)
  • "The high drama of noir suits how a 13-year-old girl's mind tends to work." — Megan Abbott, in The Guardian, on writing teen fiction.
  • Raymond Chandler will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • "We live and spawn and want — always there is this ghastly wanting — and we have done irredeemable harm to so much. Perhaps the novel will die and even the short story because we'll become so damn sick of talking about ourselves." — writer Joy Williams in The Paris Review [subscription required].
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    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.