If you’ve never been to New York before, there’s no better way to see the Big Apple than through the imagination of an author.
These 15 books tell tales of New York in the days of Jewish tenements, the Beatnik Generation, and modern day Upper East Side affluence.
We consider these books some the greatest New York stories ever told, as they show the city in all its history, culture, grandeur, and disillusion.
Have a suggestion for a great book about New York? Let us know your pick in the comments.
All Capote's disillusioned character Holly Golightly wants in life is to make a real life place for herself where she feels as at home as she does at Tiffany's, the place where nothing bad can ever happen to you.
But her luxurious 1940s 'American geisha' lifestyle is unravelled, through the eyes of the narrator whom Holly calls 'Fred,' and her realisation that perhaps her life has no meaning unless she gives up all her frivolity.
Likely the best book you can read with a chapter told through PowerPoint slides, 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' is an often-maddening masterpiece filled with distinctive characters like ageing music-exec Bennie and his troubled former bandmate Scotty.
Shifting across decades at seemingly every turn, Egan's novel covers everything from often-idealised 1980s underground cultures to an imagined post-9/11 future.
Finney's 'illustrated novel' contrasts the anxiety of 1970s city life with the relative innocence of New York before the 20th century.
When Si Morley travels from 1970 to 1882, he encounters a world peppered with old New York landmarks like the Dakota apartment building and the titans of industry who dominated the age.
'The Great Gatsby' tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a young, lovesick millionaire, as told by his friend and next door neighbour Nick Carraway.
The novel progresses as Gatsby tries to rekindle his love with Daisy Buchanan, who is also Nick's cousin. Through Gatsby's shady business dealings and his extravagant wealthy lifestyle on Long Island, Fitzgerald reveals a world in New York that is both terribly beautiful and terribly corrupt.
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell narrates this post-9/11 novel about a boy who loses his father in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Oskar deals with his grief by hunting for a man named Black who is supposed to have the lock to a key owned by Oskar's father.
The events of 9/11 and the ensuing recovery of the city and the Schell family are seen through the eyes of a child, and give the reader a unique view of a tragic time in New York's contemporary history.
Not only do the child protagonists of 'From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' run away to the big city, they do so by finding refuge in one of the city's most icon places -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Konigsburg's masterwork is escapism fantasy at its finest and will make any reader ponder the possibilities of spending a night in one of America's greatest museums.
When Nanny, our heroine, meets Mrs. X in the park one afternoon, it leads to her getting a job as a caretaker for Mrs. X's young son Grayer. But Nanny also gets mixed up in a world of Upper East Side wealth, 16-hour work days, and the lives of her employers which, though seemingly perfect on the outside, are far from what they appear to be.
Amidst drama, romance, and the vast divide between New York City's socioeconomic classes, McLaughlin and Kraus depict Nanny's rude awakening in the novel 'The Nanny Diaries.'
Set in an alterna-New York where superheroes helped change the course of history, this groundbreaking graphic novel simultaneously displays the city's appeal and atrocities.
While the overarching story deals with the fate of the world, the subplots of 'Watchmen' show both the anonymity and interconnectedness that comes with living in America's most populous city.
The title of this poetry collection allegedly comes from O'Hara's penchant for writing poems during his lunch hour while working as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art.
Arguably the leading figure of the New York school of poets, O'Hara infuses his works with imagery from around his city and a strong sense of the increasing informality of the 1960s.
Potok depicts two boys growing up in the Jewish Brooklyn neighbourhood of Williamsburg in his epochal novel 'The Chosen.'
Danny Saunders is a Hasidic teenager growing up under the strict oversight of his rabbi father who struggles not only to remain friends with Reuven Malter, who is Jewish but not Hasidic, but to pursue his dream of becoming a psychologist rather than follow in his father's footsteps.
Set during the end of World War II and the creation of the state of Israel, Potok reveals that even in the middle of a neighbourhood divided by religious, political, and social differences, friendships can grow.
Bushnell began writing her 'Sex and the City' stories as a series of personal essays loosely based on her and her friends' lives. While at the time these were tales of fun, fearlessness, and being fabulous, most New York women these days know at least one person like the iconic four main characters -- Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte -- or have identified with them herself.
Bushnell's musings on sexuality in one of the busiest and most neurotic cities in the world become akin to a girl's modern-day bible on how to be single and how to find love.
Full of teenage angst, rebellion, and heartbreaking coming-of-age drama, Holden Caulfield is expelled from his elite Pennsylvania boarding school and runs away to New York City.
As Holden faces solitary life in New York's sleazy Edmont Hotel, he is forced to deal with issues of sexuality, growing up, and coming to terms with his younger brother's death.
Covering five different chapters in each of the characters' lives, 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' follows Francie Nolan, a young girl coming of age in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the early decades of the 20th century.
Francie uses books, penny candy, and her imagination to escape the reality of what used to be one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City, and the flaws of her family members.
Not only does Patti Smith delve deep into her life as a musician and poet in this 2010 memoir, but she delves into life in Beatnik New York, where rent is $US60 a month, where prostitutes still linger on every corner of Times Square, and where an artistic life in The City was romanticized to no end.
Smith captures our attention with intimate details of her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who guided Smith through New York and her own artistic journey.
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