Search for books, people and lists
Read This Twice
HomePeopleBooksSonaLibrariesSign in

Best Books About New York City

From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the historical depths of the boroughs, discover the most beloved books about New York City, ranked and aggregated from prominent literary sources.

Recommendations from 32 articles, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and 64 others.
74 books on the list
Sort by
Number of Articles
Here is New York book cover
Here is New York
E. B. White - 2000-01-01 (first published in 1948)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the heart and soul of New York City through the eyes of one of America's most beloved writers in this timeless classic. With humor and insight, E.B. White takes readers on a stroll through Manhattan, capturing the essence and energy of the city in every page. "Here is New York" has been hailed as one of the greatest books ever written about the metropolis, a must-read for anyone looking to understand the magic of this iconic city.
The Power Broker book cover
The Power Broker
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert A. Caro - 1975-07-12 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Power Broker, uncovers the untold story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of 20th-century New York City and State. Robert Moses, the single most powerful man of his time in New York, led urban renewal efforts with a political machine that was virtually the fourth branch of government. By mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, and even the press and the Church, Moses created an empire, living like an emperor and completing public works costing $27 billion. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the inner workings of power in American cities.
The Catcher in the Rye book cover
The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger - 2001-01-30 (first published in 1951)
Goodreads Rating
This coming-of-age novel follows Holden Caulfield, a complex and conflicted teenager from New York, as he navigates his way through society, grappling with love, fear, and uncertainty. J.D. Salinger's masterpiece has been widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and for good reason. With poignant and introspective prose, The Catcher in the Rye explores themes of rebellion, angst, and the struggle to communicate in a rapidly changing world. This classic novel continues to captivate readers, sparking discussions of societal norms and the complexity of adolescence.
Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories book cover
Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories
Truman Capote - 1993-01-01 (first published in 1958)
Goodreads Rating
Step into the glamour and intrigue of 1940s New York City with a heart-breaking, perplexing, and irrepressible heroine named Holly Golightly. Chased by dangerous men and wealthy bachelors alike, she is the subject of Truman Capote's iconic novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's. This edition also includes three additional stories that offer new insights into Capote's incredible talent for captivating prose.
The Island at the Center of the World book cover
The Island at the Center of the World
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Russell Shorto - 2005-04-12 (first published in 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Uncover the lost world of New Netherland, the Dutch colony that predated the original thirteen colonies of America. With 12,000 pages of recently declared national treasure, author Russell Shorto uses a gripping narrative to transform our understanding of early America. Discover the cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic capital of New Amsterdam, its citizens' values of free trade and individual rights, and the conflicts between progressive lawyer Adriaen van der Donck and the autocratic Peter Stuyvesant, which shaped American culture and laid the foundation for New York City. The Island at the Center of the World offers a surprising new perspective on our own world.
Recommended by
Alice Korngold
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay book cover
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
A Novel
Michael Chabon - 2001-01-01 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
"Join two Jewish artists as they embark on a thrilling journey through the Golden Age of comics, from before World War II and beyond. Follow Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay as they rise to fame in the industry and navigate the challenges of their personal lives along the way in this captivating novel."
Recommended by
Stewart Brand
Motherless Brooklyn book cover
Motherless Brooklyn
Jonathan Lethem - 2000-10-24 (first published in 1999)
Goodreads Rating
This book follows Lionel Essrog, a man with Tourettes who works for a small-time mobster's detective agency with three other veterans. But when their boss is fatally stabbed, things change. One colleague goes to jail, another two vie for the position, and the victim's widow disappears. Lionel, who struggles to even converse, must try to solve the case and keep his mind straight. This is a unique take on the classic detective novel and a tribute to the genre.
Recommended by
Tim FerrissAdnan Virk
American Psycho book cover
American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis - 1991-03-01
Goodreads Rating
Wall Street, psychopathy, and America's dark side collide in this biting black comedy. Follow Patrick Bateman, a charming and intelligent young man who also happens to be a psychopath, as he navigates his life in the world of finance. American Psycho is a sharp commentary on the American dream and the nightmare it can become.
Just Kids book cover
Just Kids
Patti Smith - 2010-01-19
Goodreads Rating
This book takes you on a journey through the captivating story of two young artists who made a pact to take care of each other during the hungry years of late sixties and seventies New York City. It is a love story, an elegy, a historical snapshot, and a tribute to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions, and their ascent to fame. Written by Patti Smith, an influential artist herself, it serves as a salute to the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics, all colliding and exploding in this unforgettable milieu.
Low Life book cover
Low Life
Lures and Snares of Old New York
Luc Sante - 1991-01-01
Goodreads Rating
The book explores the chaotic and crime-ridden slums of America's greatest city, Manhattan. Through four different perspectives, readers are taken on a journey from the city's actual topography in the mid-1800s to the forces of law and order that tried to contain the illegalities. Low Life isn't just a book about New York, it's an intriguing commentary on urban life, making it one of the most compelling works on the subject ever written.
Recommended by
James Gunn
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning by Jonathan Mahler
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell
Open City by Teju Cole
Another Country by James Baldwin
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
Gotham by Edwin G. Burrows
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Works by Kate Ascher
A History of New York in 101 Objects by Sam Roberts
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
New York by Edward Rutherfurd
Eloise by Kay Thompson
When Brooklyn Was Queer by Hugh Ryan
The Encyclopedia of New York by The Editors of New York Magazine
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The New York Nobody Knows by William B. Helmreich
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
Fireboat by Maira Kalman
The Gentrification of the Mind by Sarah Schulman
Vanishing New York by Jeremiah Moss
This Is New York by Miroslav Sasek
The Bowery Boys by Greg Young
Greater Gotham by Mike Wallace
I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles
All the Buildings in New York by James Gulliver Hancock
Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper
The Other Islands of New York City by Sharon Seitz
Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Cookbook by Sandy Ingber
Playground of My Mind by Julia Jacquette
Underworld by Don Delillo
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Long-winded Lady by Maeve Brennan
The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
Speedboat by Renata Adler
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Group by Mary McCarthy
So Little Time by John P. Marquand
97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman
American Chinatown by Bonnie Tsui
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
AIA Guide to New York City by Norval White
Forgotten New York by Kevin Walsh
Eloise in Moscow by Kay Thompson
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz
Mannahatta by Eric Sanderson
The Encyclopedia of New York City by Kenneth T. Jackson
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Jazz by Toni Morrison
New York Diaries by Teresa Carpenter
Stories By American Authors V. A Light Man. By Henry James. Yatil. By F.D. Millet. The End of New York. By Park Benjamin. Why Thomas Was Discharged. By George Arnold. The Tachypomp. By E.P. Mitchell by Et al James, Henry
Stuart Little by E. B White