The Best Fiction Books About NYC As Chosen by NYPL Librarians

Looking to spend a little more time in New York City through the pages of a book? From Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned to The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine, the Big Apple has been the home to great works of literature for generations. We worked with our friends over at the New York Public Library has put together a list of recommendations for those looking to stick their nose in fiction books about the city that never sleeps:

1. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
beautiful-and-damned-nypl-articleNYPL’s Wayne Roylance recommends this classic tale, whose protagonist “willingly and whole-heartedly allows himself to be swept up and overtaken by the great metropolis.”

 

2. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parkerportable-dorothy-parker-nypl-article“To me, Dorothy Parker is the quintessential New York author, known for her sarcastic wit and her place at the Algonquin Round Table,” says Lois Moore of the Mid-Manhattan branch.

 

3. The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schinenew-yorkers-nypl-article“My all time favorite New York books,” says Danita Nichols from the Inwood branch of the NYPL. “It’s the story of one New York City block and the connections people make-especially through the Canine residents. You’ll recognize your neighbors in this one.”

 

4. Open City by Teju Coleopen-city-nypl-article“This is a collage of memory, image, and heartbreak starring our great city … read this in the park after a long walk,” says Nancy Aravecz of the Mid-Manhattan branch library.

 

5. The Contract With God Trilogy by Will Eisnercontract-with-god-nypl-article“One of the earliest graphic novels (published in 1978), it addresses the grit and poverty of urban life, but ultimately affirms the feeling of community one finds within the city,” says librarian Thomas Knowlton.

 

6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foerextremely-loud-incredibly-close-nypl-article“I first read this book about three or four years ago, and I still find myself thinking about Oskar all the time. He is one of my all-time favorite book characters,” says Ronni Krasnow from the Morningside Heights branch.

 

7. Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshallbrown-girl-brownstones-nypl-article“It is a great tale of Barbadian immigrants who move to Bed Stuy, Brooklyn where the parents’ desire to keep their Caribbean culture intact struggles against the culture shock that has affected their two daughters,” says Sherise Nicole Pagan of the Grand Concourse branch.

 

8. New York Trilogy: City of Glass, Ghosts, the Locked Room by Paul Austernew-york-trilogy-nypl-article“It’s a haunting meditation on identity, language and New York as entropic, postmodern city,” says librarian Thomas Knowlton.

 

9. The House of Mirth by Edith Whartonhouse-of-mirth-nypl-articleNYPL’s Miriam Tuliao says this classic novel is a “fascinating characterization of New York high society.”

 

10. Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackeychildren-of-the-night-nypl-articleSuggested by Stephanie Whelan of the Seward Park branch library, “This supernatural adventure full of vampires (good and bad), rock music and magic takes place right in the heart of Manhattan.”


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