Last night in Manhattan, legendary rock star Patti Smith received the nonfiction prize at the National Book Awards ceremony for her memoir “Just Kids.” The book recounts Smith’s coming of age as an artist in New York in the 60s and 70s with her dear friend and lover Robert Mapplethorpe. The memoir serves a counter-culture history lesson, a tender love story, and an evocative meditation on art, and any bump in sales it receives as a result of winning the award is well deserved.
Smith became emotional while accepting her prize. She recalled her days as a clerk at Scribner’s Bookstore, where she shelved the National Book Award winners and dreamed of one day writing a story of her own. And she made a case for analog literature:
Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.