award ceremony at the National Book Foundation's website.) You can read about the finalists for the National Book Award on our blog.
Patti Smith's memoir offers a glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, in which a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art and devotion. Joan Didion called the book "so honest and pure as to count as true rapture."
Jaimy Gordon is the author of three previous novels, Shamp of the City-Solo, She Drove Without Stopping, and most lately Bogeywoman, which was on the Los Angeles Times' list of Best Fiction of 2000. Born in Baltimore, she now lives in Kalamazoo, and teaches at Western Michigan University and in the Prague Summer Program for Writers.
Other award winners that would make great gifts include this year's Booker Award winner, The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson; the Pulitzer winner for fiction, Tinkers, by Paul Harding; The winner of the Orange Prize for fiction, The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver; and the book that has hit just about every Top Whatever List of 2010, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.