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Best Books About New York City

Recommendations from 8 articles, Emma Watson, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and 12 others.
17 books on the list
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Here is New York
E. B. White - Jan 01, 1999
Goodreads Rating
Perceptive, funny, and nostalgic, E.B. White's stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America's foremost literary figures. The New York Times has named Here is New York one of the ten best books ever written about the metropolis, and The New Yorker calls it "the wittiest essay, and one of the m...
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
A Novel
Michael Chabon - Sep 19, 2000
Goodreads Rating
The novel follows the lives of the title characters, a Czech artist named Joe Kavalier and a Brooklyn-born writer named Sam Clay—both Jewish—before, during, and after World War II. Kavalier and Clay become major figures in the nascent comics industry during its "Golden Age."...
Just Kids
Patti Smith - Nov 02, 2010
Goodreads Rating
"Patti Smith has graced us with a poetic masterpiece, a rare and privileged invitation to unlatch a treasure chest never before breached." - Johnny DeppIt was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation. Patti Smith would e...
Up in the Old Hotel
Joseph Mitchell - Jun 01, 1993
Goodreads Rating
Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a 93-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the people that Joseph Mitchell immortalized in his reportage for The New Yorker and in four books—McSorley's Wonderful Saloon, Old M...
Low Life
Lures and Snares of Old New York
Luc Sante - Nov 24, 2003
Goodreads Rating
Luc Sante's Low Life is a portrait of America's greatest city, the riotous and anarchic breeding ground of modernity. This is not the familiar saga of mansions, avenues, and robber barons, but the messy, turbulent, often murderous story of the city's slums; the teeming streets--scene of innumerable cons and crimes whose cramped and overcrowded hous...
The Fortress of Solitude
Jonathan Lethem - Aug 24, 2004 (first published in 2003)
Goodreads Rating
The Fortress of Solitude is the story of Dylan Ebdus growing up white and motherless in downtown Brooklyn in the 1970s. It's a neighborhood where the entertainments include muggings along with games of stoopball. In that world, Dylan has one friend, a black teenager, also motherless, named Mingus Rude. As Lethem follows the knitting and unraveling ...
Recommended by
Bryan Callen
The Power Broker
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert A. Caro - Jul 12, 1975 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of o...
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes - Oct 31, 1995 (first published in 1994)
Goodreads Rating
"The ultimate book for both the dabbler and serious scholar--. [Hughes] is sumptuous and sharp, playful and sparse, grounded in an earthy music--. This book is a glorious revelation."--Boston GlobeSpanning five decades and comprising 868 poems (nearly 300 of which have never before appeared in book form), this magnificent volume is the definitive s...
The Great Bridge
The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
David McCullough - Jan 12, 1983
Goodreads Rating
The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough.This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nati...
The Island at the Center of the World
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America
Russell Shorto - Apr 12, 2005
Goodreads Rating
When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a...
Recommended by
Alice Korngold
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
E. L. Konigsburg - Sep 25, 2007 (first published in 1967)
Goodreads Rating
After reading this book, I guarantee that you will never visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or any wonderful, old cavern of a museum) without sneaking into the bathrooms to look for Claudia and her brother Jamie. They're standing on the toilets, still, hiding until the museum closes and their adventure begins. Such is the impact of timeless nove...
Recommended by
Celeste Ng
The Works by Kate Ascher
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning by Jonathan Mahler
Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman
New York Diaries by Teresa Carpenter