The most recommended books about the Bronx

Who picked these books? Meet our 28 experts.

28 authors created a book list connected to the Bronx, and here are their favorite Bronx books.
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What type of Bronx book?


A Contract With God

By Will Eisner,

Book cover of A Contract With God

Mat Tonti Author Of The Book of Secrets

From the list on graphic novels about Jewish themes.

Who am I?

My love of comics and characters goes back to when I was very young. I remember falling in love with Snoopy to the point that I would draw a snoopy head on my worksheets in first grade, and my teacher knew it was from me! Once I got older, and began exploring my Jewish heritage in a more mature way, I was astounded by how many deep and meaningful stories I kept encountering. It was my natural inclination to retell these stories in a comic book format. Part of my mission was to find like minded souls who had a love for comix and a love for Jewish stories.

Mat's book list on graphic novels about Jewish themes

Why did Mat love this book?

Will Eisner not only invented the term “Graphic Novel” but he innovated much of the art and craft of comix. He is one of the pioneers whom I have studied to learn how comix work. Contract is also amazing because it deals with Jewish New York of the mid 20th century which is where my parents grew up. I connect to the tales of how to balance being American while celebrating my Jewish heritage, and the many challenges that came with living amongst other cultures in the “Melting Pot."

By Will Eisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Contract With God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

€œEisner was not only ahead of his times; the present times are still catching up to him.€€”John UpdikeA revolutionary novel, A Contract with God re-creates the neighborhood of Will Eisner's youth through a quartet of four interwoven stories. Expressing the joy, exuberance, tragedy, and drama of life on the mythical Dropsie Avenue of the Bronx, A Contract with God is a monumental achievement, a must in the library of any graphic novel fan.

The Book of Jose

By Shaheem Reid, FAT JOE,

Book cover of The Book of Jose: A Memoir

Sam Ita Author Of Fun with Origami Animals Kit: 40 Different Animals! Includes Colorfully Patterned Folding Sheets!

From Sam's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Paper engineer Origamist Cartoonist

Sam's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Sam love this book?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks these days. Mostly in the background while I'm doing something else. The investment, in terms of time and attention, is low enough that I abandon many halfway through. After a while, they begin to sound the same, but not The Book of Jose.

Undoubtedly, Fat Joe is an icon, largely due to his character and outsized personality. By his own account, he was more like a drug dealer/entrepreneur who found his way into music. He was not afraid to put himself in the right place at the right time. I'm not sure if there's much of an overlap between Fat Joe fans and Audiobook listeners, but there ought to be. He shines as a narrator.

I take much of what Fat Joe says with a grain of salt, but he's undoubtedly the craziest, funniest, most intense character on the stoop. We all…

By Shaheem Reid, FAT JOE,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Jose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum–selling artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Fat Joe pulls back the curtain on his larger-than-life persona in this gritty, intimate memoir about growing up in the South Bronx and finding his voice through music.

“An adrenaline rush . . . buckle up and lean back.”—Spin

Fat Joe is a hip-hop legend, but this is not a tale of celebrity; it is the story of Joseph Cartagena, a kid who came of age in the South Bronx during its darkest years of drugs, violence, and abandonment, and how he navigated that traumatizing landscape until he found—through art, friendship, luck, and will—a…


By Charles Rice-Gonzalez,

Book cover of Chulito

Carla Trujillo Author Of What Night Brings

From the list on queer teenage love by and about people of color.

Who am I?

I wrote my first novel in a quest to create a story about a girl who loves girls surviving a violent, repressive world. Reading novels pertinent to the life I’ve lived was both affirming and life-saving. After graduate school, I developed a class at UC Berkeley where I focused on novels written by and about women of color, knowing compelling stories gave the students a chance to live in someone else’s universe. I still believe books can change hearts and minds, and reading them propels me to continue seeking well-told stories by authors—particularly writers of color—who have the courage to put their words on the page. 

Carla's book list on queer teenage love by and about people of color

Why did Carla love this book?

I liked this novel because it is rough, heartfelt, and engaging. This story is unusual in that the protagonist, Chulito, a 16-year-old Puerto Rican high school dropout, lives in the South Bronx and is in love with his childhood friend Carlos, but with the barrio’s rampant, ongoing homophobia, he attempts to play straight. Chulito is recruited by a local dealer to sell drugs, and though he acts the tough guy, his love for Carlos persists, even though he struggles to keep his true desire secret. Everything changes when Carlos comes home for the summer after his first year of college and Chulito’s life breaks free.

Their love for each other rises above the trove of hostile masculinity surrounding them, bringing vibrancy to their lives. Yet the struggles persist, as Chulito needs to negotiate the options available for a queer high school dropout caught between limited choices. I enjoyed Rice-Gonzalez’s vibrant…

By Charles Rice-Gonzalez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chulito as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty."-Junot Diaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block. Chulito, which means "cutie," is one of the boys, and everyone in his neighborhood has seen him grow up--the owner of the local bodega, the Lees from the Chinese restaurant, his buddies from the corner, and all of his…

Tilting at Mills

By Lis Harris,

Book cover of Tilting at Mills: Green Dreams, Dirty Dealings, and the Corporate Squeeze

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From the list on if you want government to work better.

Who am I?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Why did Greg love this book?

My friend and co-author Aubrey Fox recommended this book to me not long after we met. 

I liked it so much that I think it is actually one of the reasons we became friends in the first place. Tilting at Mils is the story of an innovative effort by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental nonprofit, to create a paper mill in the Bronx in the 1990s. 

The initiative attracted millions of dollars and high-level political support, both in New York City and Washington DC. But the project never happened.

Tilting at Mills is a gripping story of failure, not due to malfeasance or incompetence, but because achieving anything is difficult and lots of things can go wrong, including rotten luck and bad timing. 

By Lis Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tilting at Mills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Describes the efforts of Allen Hershkowitz to build a large, environmentally friendly paper mill in the South Bronx, and the local politics, neighborhood activists, corporate greed, and other obstacles that derailed the project.


By Rose Ross,

Book cover of Lila

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From the list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Who am I?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Why did Ruth love this book?

Lila tells the story of two WW11 survivor families whose daughters are born on the same day in a Displaced Persons Camp, who immigrate to the United States around the same time, and take apartments in the same building in the South Bronx, New York. The immigrant neighborhood, full of busybody characters, is beautifully rendered. Everyone expects the two girls to be as close as sisters, their lives and fates happily intertwined. However, their growing-up years veer into dangerous territory. While one family manages to establish a home of love and caring, the other morphs into a den of dysfunction and perversion. Upending everyone’s expectations, the two girls embark on a path of jealousy and hatred. As secrets are revealed, their paths diverge, ending in tragedy. The novel is a shattering portrait of how trauma of the Holocaust and inherited trauma passed on to the next generation can destroy lives.

By Rose Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lila as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah and Lila both born in 1946, 11 months after the war, on the same day, minutes apart, in a displaced persons camp in Germany, were seen by their parents, Holocaust survivors, as a miracle, and their lives destined to have a bond that would never be broken. They were ... wrong.Both families relocate to the United States, and settle in the South Bronx, in the same neighborhood and building, to start their new lives. By the end of the summer of 1960, everyone finds themselves in the turmoil of love, friendship, and competition. Secrets are disclosed; accusations are made…

Las Madres

By Esmeralda Santiago,

Book cover of Las Madres

Jasmin Iolani Hakes Author Of Hula

From Jasmin's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Runner Compulsive feeder Mom on the verge of an empty nest Middle of the night list maker

Jasmin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Jasmin love this book?

Las Madres is a story that centers around a horrible tragedy and two devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico. But for me, what it captured so perfectly was the familiar experience of being a part of an impermeable collective, where even the deepest grievances and secrets do not need to be shared to be felt, where love is fierce and unyielding, and where nothing happens without the community being involved.

Photo albums of my early childhood are filled with photos of me and a sea of cousins, mostly at the beach where I grew up. I think our moms took turns keeping an eye on us, but for the most part, I remember running around barefoot, showering en masse, fighting for a fair share of the food on the table – basically one hair-brushing shy of feral. In a community like ours, no one and everyone was keeping an eye on…

By Esmeralda Santiago,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Las Madres as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning, best-selling author of When I Was Puerto Rican, a powerful novel of family, race, faith, sex, and disaster that moves between Puerto Rico and the Bronx, revealing the lives and loves of five women and the secret that binds them together

They refer to themselves as “las Madres,” a close-knit group of women who, with their daughters, have created a family based on friendship and blood ties.Their story begins in Puerto Rico in 1975 when fifteen-year-old Luz, the tallest girl in her dance academy and the only Black one in a sea of petite, light-skinned, delicate swans,…


By Coe Booth,

Book cover of Tyrell

Paul Volponi Author Of The Great G.O.A.T. Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science

From the list on for fearless readers.

Who am I?

I spent 16 years teaching in NYC public schools, six of them on Rikers Island the world's biggest jail where I helped incarcerated teens improve their reading and writing skills. That experience helped to launch me on my own writing career. The job of the author? To hold up a mirror to society and reflect upon the page what the reader may not have experienced yet or missed seeing in the world outside the borders of a book.

Paul's book list on for fearless readers

Why did Paul love this book?

Booth is an extraordinary writer and Tyrell is her signature story. Tyrell is a young man living under incredible pressure with a family that needs him to have both feet on the ground. But he's always on the verge of going the wrong way. Will the need for fast money put him in prison like his father? Booth is in complete command of her characters, story and pacing here. A marvelous book that will make you grateful for your own choices in life.

By Coe Booth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tyrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An astonishing new voice in teen literature, writing what is sure to be one of the most talked-about debuts of the year.

Tyrell is a young African-American teen who can't get a break. He's living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father's in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn't feel good enough for her -- and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There's another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels…

The Bronx Nobody Knows

By William B. Helmreich,

Book cover of The Bronx Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide

Paul Levinson Author Of It's Real Life

From Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Singer-songwriter Professor Podcaster Time travel fan

Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Paul love this book?

I was born in the Bronx and lived there with my wife and kids until we moved to the suburbs in my mid-40s. I swam with the carrots in the water at Orchard Beach, roamed the NY Botanical Gardens, went to Yankee games, sang harmony under the El on Allerton Avenue and White Plains Road, and have been a professor at Fordham University since 1998. 

William Helmrecih, who succumbed to COVID-19 in 2020, left us this wonderful walking guide to the Bronx, in which he goes into neighborhoods and side streets and nooks and crannies even I didn’t know about.

By William B. Helmreich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bronx Nobody Knows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to New York City's northern borough, from the award-winning author of The New York Nobody Knows

Bill Helmreich walked every block of New York City-some six thousand miles-to write the award-winning The New York Nobody Knows. Later, he re-walked most of the Bronx to create this one-of-a-kind walking guide to the city's northern borough, from Mott Haven to City Island. Drawing on hundreds of conversations he had with residents during his block-by-block journey through this fascinating, diverse, and underappreciated borough, Helmreich highlights hundreds of facts and points of interest that you won't find in any other guide.…

Becoming Maria

By Sonia Manzano,

Book cover of Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx

David Kamp Author Of Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America

From the list on coming of age in New York City.

Who am I?

“You spend your first 18 years as a sponge and the rest of your life using those early years as material.” Martin Short said this to me when I collaborated with him on his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. My own writing bears this out. My nonfiction books The United States of Arugula and Sunny Days are not first-person books, but they examine two significant cultural movements that defined my formative years: the American food revolution led by the likes of Julia Child and Alice Waters and the children’s-TV revolution defined by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of my journalism finds me chasing down the cultural figures who captured and shaped my young imagination, e.g., Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Charles Schulz.

David's book list on coming of age in New York City

Why did David love this book?

Manzano played Maria for more than 40 years on Sesame Street, but this isn’t a book about that show. A sort of next-gen, nonfiction companion to Dominicana, it tells the story of Manzano’s hard-knock childhood in the South Bronx, and how her gifts as an actor and storyteller propelled her out of a rough neighborhood and troubled home (her father physically abused her mother.) Manzano doesn’t paper over the anger she felt and still feels about the systemic forces that ghettoized Hispanic kids like her. But she succeeds in offering hope and modeling Nuyorican success to latter-day versions of her young self.

By Sonia Manzano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Maria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpre Honor winner for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and one of America's most influential Hispanics--'Maria' on Sesame Street--delivers a beautifully wrought coming-of-age memoir.

Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving--and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors.…

Book cover of Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History: The Turning Points, the Memorable Games, the Incredible Records

W. Nikola-Lisa Author Of The Men Who Made the Yankees: The Odyssey of the World's Greatest Baseball Team from Baltimore to the Bronx

From the list on the early years of the New York Yankees.

Who am I?

I grew up a Yankee fan during the Mickey Mantle era, traveling to the Bronx in my uncle’s canary-yellow Chrysler Imperial. Those early experiences set me on a trajectory to want to play baseball every chance I got, starting with Little League and ending up on my high school’s varsity squad. Fortunately, my high school was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where my family had moved in 1962, the same year that the Yankees began playing their pre-season games in the city, which meant when I wasn’t playing baseball at school, I was hanging around Ft. Lauderdale Stadium watching the Yankees. Yes, the Pinstripe Nation was in my blood. 

W.'s book list on the early years of the New York Yankees

Why did W. love this book?

Fischer’s Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History is aptly divided into five parts, the first of which—“Birth of a Dynasty”—is the most relevant for the current topic. It covers the “Hilltop Highlander” years (1903-1913), the Yankees’ decade at the Polo Grounds as tenants of their arch-rival, the National League’s New York Giants (1913-1922), the sale of the Yankees to Ruppert and Huston (1914-1915), the acquisition of Babe Ruth (1919-1920), and their move to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and their first World Series title (1923). But Fischer’s Miracle Moments has much more to offer than these early days as it provides a panoramic view of the entire Yankees’ franchise from 1903 to the present. 

By David Fischer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout its illustrious history, the New York Yankees have produced some of the most memorable highlights in baseball annals. Babe Ruth's "called shot" home run, Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Derek Jeter's amazing "Flip Play." Most Yankees fans have seen newsreel footage of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, watched highlights of a young Mickey Mantle, and have heard the story of Billy Martin's five managerial hirings and firings. But what makes the Yankees the world's most celebrated sports franchise goes beyond sheer headlines? it is the stories of the men behind the headlines who have thrilled and enchanted New York fans…

Billy Bathgate

By E.L. Doctorow,

Book cover of Billy Bathgate

Anthony Schneider Author Of Lowdown: A Mafia Romance Thriller

From the list on character-driven gangsters.

Who am I?

Growing up on a diet of The Godfather, The Sopranos, thrillers, and gangster novels, and living in New York City with eye-opening trips to Sicily, I became slightly obsessed with the Mafia. I came to see the American Mafia as a quintessentially American fabric, woven of family, power, immigrants, money, history, loyalty, legacy, and, yes, crime.  

Anthony's book list on character-driven gangsters

Why did Anthony love this book?

Few writers inhabit history, distill it, and convey the feeling of an era with the verve or immediacy of E.L. Doctorow.

In Billy Bathgate, he trains his lens on the 1930s and introduces us to Billy Behan, a fatherless Irish-Jewish kid from the Bronx, who has a chance encounter with New York gangster Dutch Schultz and decides “whatever my life was going to be in this world it would have something to do with Mr. Schultz.”

Add a love triangle, a colorful cast of mobsters, murder, blackmail, a special prosecutor, and you have the propulsive plot and rich characters that power this unforgettable novel.   

By E.L. Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Billy Bathgate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I was living in even greater circles of gangsterdom than I had dreamed, latitudes and longitudes of gangsterdom'

It's 1930's New York and fifteen-year-old streetkid Billy, who can juggle, somersault and run like the wind, has been taken under the wing of notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. As Billy learns the ways of the mob, he becomes like a son to Schultz - his 'good-luck kid' - and is initiated into a world of glamour, death and danger that will consume him, in this vivid, soaring epic of crime and betrayal.

Finding Jimmy Moran

By Tom McCaffrey,

Book cover of Finding Jimmy Moran: Codicil to The Claire Trilogy

Joe Barrett Author Of Managed Care

From the list on people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Who am I?

I read Lolita as a college freshman and laughed out loud as Nabokov made me love the goofy, intelligent, and clearly sociopathic Humbert Humbert. Nabokov’s fun was palpable; it made me want to write. And knee-jerk criticisms of Lolita drove me crazy – how can people take themselves so seriously as to be offended by fictional characters? To me, an author’s ability to inspire genuine empathy for characters with distorted, irreverent, or socially unacceptable perspectives is both genius and riotously fun (something that people too busy looking for a reason to be offended will unfortunately never appreciate). Hope you enjoy this book list for people who don’t take themselves too seriously!

Joe's book list on people who don’t take themselves too seriously

Why did Joe love this book?

I loved all of McCaffrey’s The Claire Trilogy books and recommend reading them first, but Finding Jimmy Moran will always occupy a special place in my heart.

McCaffrey is a born storyteller – he pulls you into his world and makes it feel like your own. The book is gritty, hilarious, sometimes gut-wrenching and (while allegedly fiction) it is also one of the most accurate representations of the wild west reckless abandon enjoyed by New York kids growing up in the 1970s and ’80s.

It’s the type of book that makes you want to break out a bottle of good Irish whiskey and read in a single sitting.

By Tom McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Jimmy Moran as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Prequel to the bestselling novel, The Wise Ass.

"The Claire Trilogy gives us Jimmy Moran, resurrected mob lawyer turned alien godfather of a crew of mystical misfits, including Claire the Mule. Finding Jimmy Moran shows the world the magical origins that make Jimmy tick. Don't miss this." -Ivy Logan, author of Broken (The Breach Chronicles)

Who is Jimmy Moran? It starts with a lucky penny. Then a muse who bestows a mystical gift. Or maybe a curse? Family, friends, and fights abound as Jimmy breaks the law, looks for love in all the wrong places and experiences loss that transforms…

Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese,

Book cover of Cutting for Stone

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From Jeanne's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Intense Funny Violinist Book hoarder

Jeanne's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Jeanne love this book?

There are so many wonderful themes in this book: colonialism, the synchronicity of twins, the ethics of medical care, and the powerful bonds of families created by blood or by choice.

Verghase weaves all of these ideas together in a marvelous tapestry set in the exotic location of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the more familiar locale of New York City. Set against the backdrop of major historical events in Ethiopia, the novel sweeps you into a world where every decision has unexpected consequences.

By Abraham Verghese,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cutting for Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed. To begin at the beginning...

A Princess for Christmas

By Jenny Holiday,

Book cover of A Princess for Christmas

Stacy Juba Author Of Fooling Around With Cinderella

From the list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the Storybook Valley chick-lit series, which includes Fooling Around With Cinderella and Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. I love reading and writing lighthearted novels about young women finding their Prince Charming—and also themselves. Setting is also important to me as a writer. To create my Storybook Valley novels I spied on Cinderellas at amusement parks and discreetly watched employees head off into off-limits areas. I watched hours of YouTube interviews with former Disney World princesses, behind-the-scenes videos with other amusement park employees, and listened to podcast interviews with managers of theme parks. All the novels I chose had well-developed settings that were an integral part of the book.  

Stacy's book list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face

Why did Stacy love this book?

I absolutely love Hallmark Christmas movies! Much to my husband’s chagrin, I fill up our DVR with Hallmark movies every November and December and never manage to watch them all. Many of those movies have a royal theme with a prince or princess wanting some normalcy and finding love with an American “commoner.” I originally saw this book on a shelf at Barnes & Noble and knew it would be an enjoyable holiday read. The author didn’t disappoint as she spun the tale of a NYC cab driver and his younger sister who cross paths with Princess Marie of Eldovia.  

By Jenny Holiday,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Princess for Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A perfect combination of sweet and sexy moments makes A Princess for Christmas an unputdownable read!"--Mia Sosa, USA Today bestselling author

From USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday comes a modern fairy tale just in time for Christmas about a tough New Yorker from the other side of the tracks who falls for a princess from the other side of the world.

Leo Ricci's already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a "princess" in a gown…

Like a Sister

By Kellye Garrett,

Book cover of Like a Sister

Elizabeth Amber Love Author Of Full Body Manslaughter: A Farrah Wethers Mystery

From the list on women starting over.

Who am I?

I’ve spent my life recreating myself as many times as Madonna. If things aren’t working, I move on to something new. I’ll go to classes, learn something else, change careers, and struggle the whole way as I look for pieces of life that fit the puzzle of me. It takes me a lot longer to read so when I try to diversify my bookshelf and don’t always stick to my genre (as the professionals tell an author to do). What I “stick to” is finding female characters who struggle and want to give up, but somehow, something deep inside them makes them move forward one step at a time.

Elizabeth's book list on women starting over

Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Kellye Garrett takes the fake world of reality TV, hashtags, and influencers to circle her reluctant protagonist, Lena Scott. Life and actions are judged to only have value if you have video of it to get clicks. That’s the message that stuck with me.

Lena Scott and her sister Desiree may share a father, but they could not be more different. That father is hip-hop mogul Mel Pierce known in the business as Murder Mel. The family members are in and out of each other’s lives with the same kinds of drama a blue-collar family would have; there are just bigger price tags. Lena steps out and opts for a modest life away from the family fortune and her father’s name.

When Desiree suddenly dies as a fallen from grace celebrity who appears to have overdosed, Lena doesn’t buy it. Even two years without speaking doesn’t erase how well she…

By Kellye Garrett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Like a Sister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this "crackling domestic suspense" filled with "wry humor and deft pacing" (Alyssa Cole), no one bats an eye when a Black reality TV star is found dead—except her estranged half-sister, whose refusal to believe the official story leads her on a dangerous search for the truth.

“A mystery that has everything I love most: an intriguing set up; an absorbing storyline that kept me guessing; a satisfying ending; and, most of all, incredibly well-developed characters I kept thinking about long after I finished the book.” ―Jasmine Guillory, Today Show

“I found out my sister was back in New York…

Breaking Night

By Liz Murray,

Book cover of Breaking Night

Traci Medford-Rosow Author Of Unsheltered Love: Homelessness, Hunger and Hope in a City under Siege

From the list on homelessness and poverty.

Who am I?

In March 2020, in the middle of a pandemic that had all but crippled New York City, my husband and I became homeless advocates. For months, we woke up each morning, made dozens of sandwiches, and walked the deserted city streets trying to feed the homeless, who were struggling to survive. Deserted streets meant no panhandling, which in turn, meant no food. In doing so, we became friends with many of the homeless men and women in our neighborhood. Fear and suspicion were replaced by trust and love, and our eyes and hearts were forever opened to people who had once been objects to be avoided.

Traci's book list on homelessness and poverty

Why did Traci love this book?

Liz Murray’s riveting memoir tells of her unlikely rise from homelessness to being accepted to Harvard. It is another classic triumph over adversity story of someone beating the odds. I picked this book because of my own personal experience with homelessness. During the pandemic, my husband and I walked the deserted New York City streets helping to feed the homeless in our neighborhood. This led to the writing of my third book. Like Westover’s story, my book also tells the story of one woman’s rise from living on the streets of New York City to becoming sheltered, employed, and admitted to college. 

By Liz Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breaking Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Liz Murray never really had a chance in life. Born to a drug-addicted father who was in and out of prison, and an equally dependent mother who was in and out of mental institutions, she seemed destined to become just another tragic statistic; another life wasted on the brutal streets of New York.

By the age of 15, Liz found herself homeless with nowhere to turn but the tough streets, riding subways all night for a warm place to sleep and foraging through dumpsters for food. But when her mother died of AIDS a year later, Liz's life changed…

The Vibe History of Hip Hop

By Vibe Magazine, Alan Light (editor),

Book cover of The Vibe History of Hip Hop

Sowmya Krishnamurthy Author Of Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion

From the list on learning about hip-hop.

Who am I?

I’ve loved hip-hop since, as Biggie Smalls would say, “the public school era.” For over 10 years, I’ve been a journalist and on-air host covering all facets of hip-hop from breaking emerging acts to interviewing superstars. Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion is my first book and the culmination of my expertise in fashion and pop culture. These books served as the bedrock for me—as inspiration, research, and motivation—and one day, I hope that my book will do the same for the next writer.

Sowmya's book list on learning about hip-hop

Why did Sowmya love this book?

Vibe has been the preeminent publication for hip-hop culture since its inception in 1993. I remember running to the grocery store to pick up each month’s issue and flipping through it’s glossy pages.

The Vibe History of Hip-Hop chronicles the rise of hip-hop from some of the magazine’s sharpest and most esteemed journalists, editors, and photographers. You know the bylines: Danyel Smith, Greg Tate, Anthony deCurtis, dream hampton, Neil Strauss, and Bönz Malone. As Smith writes in the preface: “A history? No. A story, really. A tale from the dark side.”

By Vibe Magazine, Alan Light (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vibe History of Hip Hop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Music, fashion, dance, graffiti, movies, videos, and business: it's all in this brilliant tale of a cultural revolution that spans race and gender, language and nationality. The definitive history of an underdocumented music genre, The VIBE History of Hip Hop tells the full story of this grassroots cultural movement, from its origins on the streets of the Bronx to its explosion as an international phenomenon. Illustrated with almost 200 photos, and accompanied by comprehensive discographies, this book is a vivid review of the hip hop world through the eyes and ears of more than 50 of the finest music writers…

Shooting Midnight Cowboy

By Glenn Frankel,

Book cover of Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic

Jon Burlingame Author Of Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring

From Jon's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Journalist Historian Film-music professor

Jon's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Jon love this book?

This is far more than a making of the movie book. The author delves deeply into the backgrounds of those responsible for making the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy and into the sociocultural climate of the times that led to such a groundbreaking film.

Frankel's previous books, The Searchers and High Noon, explored important films in equal depth, but the Midnight Cowboy saga seems to have greater relevance to our time, especially as it relates to LGBTQ people and their lives.

I remember seeing Midnight Cowboy in college in 1971 and wasn't sure how to interpret it; I've seen it many times since and feel it's a masterpiece of American cinema, and yet Frankel's book has given me even more to think about.

By Glenn Frankel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shooting Midnight Cowboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Glenn Frankel's Shooting Midnight Cowboy tells the story of a modern classic that, by all accounts, should never have become one in the first place. Much more than a history of Schlesinger's film, Shooting Midnight Cowboy is an arresting glimpse into the world from which it emerged. By turns madcap and serious, and enriched by interviews with Hoffman, Voight, and others, this is not only the definitive account of the film that unleashed a new wave of innovation in American cinema but also the story of a country (and an industry) beginning to break free from decades of cultural and…

Bronx Primitive

By Kate Simon,

Book cover of Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood

Pamela S. Nadell Author Of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today

From the list on memoirs through the voices of women.

Who am I?

I am a professor of history and Jewish studies at American University and author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, winner of the National Jewish Book Award – 2019 Jewish Book of the Year. Since childhood I have been reading stories of women’s lives and tales set in Jewish communities across time and space. Yet, the voices that so often best evoke the past are those captured on the pages of great memoirs.

Pamela's book list on memoirs through the voices of women

Why did Pamela love this book?

In this evocative memoir, the first in a series of three and a New York Times 1982 best book of the year, Simon, a travel writer, captures the world of an immigrant child growing up in the Bronx in the 1920s. Their fathers were harsh disciplinarians; mothers knew abortion to be the most effective birth control; and daughters saw poor scores in math crush their dreams. A story of triumph over the odds, of female rebellion, and of the many ways of learning, this memoir evokes a bygone world that also feels very contemporary.

By Kate Simon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bronx Primitive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"As an account of growing up female, it is a fit companion piece to Mary McCarthy's classic Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood." Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times.

Bigfoot in the Bronx

By Hunter Shea,

Book cover of Bigfoot in the Bronx

Nick Sullivan Author Of Zombie Bigfoot

From the list on Bigfoot to satisfy your creature feature cravings.

Who am I?

My writer’s journey has been circuitous. Originally, I’d intended to become a screenwriter, until I was bitten by the acting bug. Appearing often in film, television, and on Broadway, I found myself drawn to audiobook narration. After so much exposure to so many genres from so many authors, I decided to return to writing. Zombie Bigfoot is a novelization of a screenplay of mine, inspired by SkyMall magazine I read during a scuba diving trip. One page had a Bigfoot garden statue… the adjacent page had a garden flagstone with a zombie coming up out of the ground. I looked at those two images and thought: “How has nobody done this?”

Nick's book list on Bigfoot to satisfy your creature feature cravings

Why did Nick love this book?

A good friend and fellow writer introduced me to Hunter Shea at a brewpub in New York City, and I quickly discovered he was a titan in the realm of creature features. The Jersey Devil, a mutated megalodon, the Loch Ness monster… Shea loves his cryptids!

Hurling the ultimate wilderness creature into the urban jungle was inspired, and this story is just as fun as you’d expect. Packed with humor and over-the-top mayhem, this book is a hoot and I tore through it in a day.

By Hunter Shea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bigfoot in the Bronx as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Hunt

It’s hunting season for best friends Shay and Vito. This year, with a bad economy and Shay out of work, it’s more important than ever to bag a deer so they can feed their families. Tucking their truck in their secret spot outside a state park in the Catskills, they settle down, waiting for a deer to come to them.


What they get is a giant creature that outruns a speeding deer and savages it with its bare hands and jagged teeth. Someone hidden in the woods shoots it with a tranquilizer dart. Shay knows what the…