November 22, 2010

Patti Smith talks books with Jonathan Lethem


Here’s an interesting interview with Patti Smith, hosted by the PEN America Center back in May. Smith, who just won the National Book Award in non-fiction for Just Kids, her memoir about her early life in New York City rooming with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, talks with Jonathan Lethem about book collecting, book foraging, and her cool collection of cool stuff, some of which she admits, gets cut up into collages… She discusses her love of Roberto Bolano, Moby Dick, and William Blake, and how she wrote Just Kids keeping in mind that Mapplethorpe didn’t really read books, and she wanted him to be interested in hers….

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.