It’s been a longish Wednesday. But something told me I would be rewarded if I just stuck it out and hung on Twitter obsessively refreshing the #nba10 hashtag for a while. Sure enough, I’m quite pleased with the National Book Award choices: Patti Smith in the Nonfiction category for Just Kids, and for Fiction, dark horse (no pun intended, honest) Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule. Score one for eternally fine punk icons and one for small presses—in this case McPherson & Company, who haven’t been on my radar but obviously deserve to be.
I’m also very happy for Kathryn Erskine, who took Young People’s Literature with Mockingbird, and Terrance Hayes who won for Poetry with Lighthead. But those first two, each in their own way, are close to my heart. In her acceptance speech Patti Smith talked about having wanted a book of her own since she’d worked in a bookstore long ago, and said, “There is nothing more beautiful in our material world than the book.” And she cried. Now that’s punk rock.