The most recommended books about New York City

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,012 experts.

1,012 authors created a book list connected to New York City, and here are their favorite New York City books.
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Book cover of My Name Is Asher Lev

Joie Davidow Author Of Anything But Yes: A Novel of Anna Del Monte, Jewish Citizen of Rome, 1749

From my list on Jewish historical novels without Nazis.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I recommend have stayed with me years after I read them. I’ve always been fascinated by my Jewish heritage and the rich traditions of my forebearers. I’ve incorporated some of that heritage in my own work as an author. Most recently, I published a historical novel about the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, which took me down a rabbit hole of research into Jewish literature. I revisited books I’d loved for decades and discovered new books I loved. 

Joie's book list on Jewish historical novels without Nazis

Joie Davidow Why did Joie love this book?

I loved this book when I read it years ago, and I immediately started reading anything I could find by this compelling author.

Through his fine writing, I was able to live in the world of Asher, a young artist grappling with the conflict of being true to his work without defying the tenets of his religion. 

By Chaim Potok,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Name Is Asher Lev as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this modern classic from the National Book Award–nominated author of The Chosen, a young religious artist is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels, even when it leads him to blasphemy. 

“A novel of finely articulated tragic power .... Little short of a work of genius.”—The New York Times Book Review

Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. He grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual…


Book cover of The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

Jeffrey S. Gurock Author Of Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend

From Jeffrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Jewish Historian Sports Fan

Jeffrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jeffrey S. Gurock Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I love New York City and enjoy walking its streets and neighborhoods. Helmreich produced the consummate walking tour guide to the metropolis.

Helmreich, a great sociologist and a prolific writer was a dear friend and colleague. Sadly, I can no longer share my feelings about the city we love because of his untimely death during the pandemic. I read through this book with tears  in my eyes and use it in my peregrinations through four of the five boroughs—I never get the Staten Island.

Book cover of Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

Julie Chavez Author Of Everyone But Myself: A Memoir

From my list on to feel less alone in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and elementary librarian living in Northern California. My mind is a busy neighborhood: there are all sorts of thoughts and feelings running around up there like hordes of naughty unsupervised children. I need books to ground me, to encourage me to slow down, to help me feel and release those emotions. As an elementary librarian, I’m a voracious reader, but I only choose to return to the most necessary, beautiful books. These authors comfort me through their words, pulling forth laughter, tears, and the knowledge that I’m not so crazy after all. Or, if I am, I’m not the only one.

Julie's book list on to feel less alone in the world

Julie Chavez Why did Julie love this book?

When my depression was intense, I was continually worried that something would happen to me or my family. It was a visceral fear, one that ranked up there with a child’s belief that something was hiding under the bed.

To read this story of the author’s experiences with her son’s epilepsy diagnosis was surprisingly comforting for me. She too was terrified, and yet she made her way through, as moms so often manage to do.

I loved this book’s tender, funny, well-crafted words about how little we really can control in our lives. It reminded me that worry won’t make the future brighter, but it will make the present darker.

By Mary Laura Philpott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Editors' Choice
One of NPR's Best Books of the Year

"A beautifully wrought ode to life...a precious gift to the world." -The Washington Post

From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink comes a poignant and powerful new memoir that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

As a daughter, mother, and friend, Mary Laura Philpott considered herself an "anxious optimist"-a natural worrier with a stubborn sense of good cheer. And while she didn't really think she had any sort of magical protective powers, she believed…


Book cover of New York: Confidential!

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

The cover is what I most love about this book, which I picked up in a second-hand bookshop. In my edition, “The Big City After Dark" is emblazoned in large yellow letters across the top. Beneath it, there’s a deliciously louche illustration of two people standing against the backdrop of Manhattan at night. One is a man in a trilby hat and a cheap brown suit. The other is a blonde woman in cinched black dress and pearls, twirling her pearl necklace and looking alluring. Both appear to know a thing or two about New York’s seediest hangouts. This is a gripping noir guidebook to the twentieth century’s most exciting nighttime city, written as if it’s pulp fiction. 

By Jack Lait, Lee Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


Book cover of Big Sexy Love

Kathy Strobos Author Of Love Is an Art

From my list on romantic comedy to encourage you to pursue your dreams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to read about people pursuing their dream because that’s not an easy thing to do. When I was working as a lawyer at a corporate law firm, I was sure I wanted to become a partner. But eventually I realized that being in-house counsel at a company was a much better fit for me so I changed jobs. And similarly, I’d always wanted to write a romantic comedy and so, after many years as a lawyer, I started taking courses at night, and eventually I found the courage to quit my legal job and pursue this passion. The underlying theme of all of my books is to encourage readers to pursue their dreams. 

Kathy's book list on romantic comedy to encourage you to pursue your dreams

Kathy Strobos Why did Kathy love this book?

This romantic comedy is hilarious, and yet also so emotional.

Olive is scared to try anything new, ever since her parents divorced and her world fell apart. She took a temporary job as a fishmonger to help pay for university, but nine years later, she’s still there. But now her best friend, Birdie, is dying, and Birdie has one final wish: deliver Birdie’s goodbye letter personally to her first love.

Only Birdie doesn’t know where he is—and so Olive has to venture out of her comfort zone and find him somewhere in New York City. But what Olive discovers is herself again—and her own love. This book will have you laughing out loud and crying, but a good crying, and it will definitely leave you with a happy feeling. 

By Kirsty Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Get ready to laugh, cry and feel incredible with this NEW laugh out loud funny romance! It's brimming with hysterical feel good moments, heart-melting romance and a friendship you'll never, ever forget! If you like Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Suzy K. Quinn or Joanna Bolouri, then you'll LOVE the hilarious, bestselling books of Kirsty Greenwood.Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn't do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no…


Book cover of Underworld

T.L. Sturgis Author Of Flirting with Darkness

From my list on paranormal stories that takes a new a fresh approach.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Tyeshia Sturgis, aka T. L. Sturgis. I’m an American author of horror, thriller, and fantasy. In the fantasy genre, I wanted to write something that I enjoyed reading about, and who doesn't like vampires right? My passion came from both newer and older authors and I wanted to write my vampire series but with a new world. Through hard work and dedication, I believe that I've accomplished just that. I knew it would be a challenge… but it helped me become a better writer. I write/read 6-8 hours a day and love what I do and also help mentor other authors and try to motivate people to read and write more. 

T.L.'s book list on paranormal stories that takes a new a fresh approach

T.L. Sturgis Why did T.L. love this book?

You're seeing I'm a vampire fanatic right? This is just another one of my favorite books and author. It's also another book made into a movie but trust me when I say the book is so much better than the movie itself. I loved the descriptions in this book and how another talented author created a brilliant world of vampires. It was thrilling and exciting. Another book that put me through a whirlwind of emotions. Not only was it action packed but there was romance topped with unbelievable betrayal. It will keep your interest just like it did for me. I recommend you don't watch the movie before you read the book.

By Greg Cox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The centuries-long battle between vampires and werewolves has reached a new intensity under the streets of New York City. One young werewolf called Michael is determined to end the conflict, but high-ranking vampire Selene has the strength of ten men, and plans to use it to destroy the werewolves.


Book cover of Concrete Evidence

Savannah Kade Author Of Crash & Burn

From my list on steamy romantic suspense for savvy readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a contemporary romance writer who does some series in paranormal romance and some in romantic suspense. I know lots of romance is about the fantasy and I write to that, but I want each of my romances to have you walking away believing in real-life love, too. I want heroes and heroines who could walk right off the page! I want to acknowledge smart women finding men who love a snappy comeback and a sharp brain. My favorite stories come together when our heroine is the only one who could solve this crime or mystery. I was first invited to write RS in the Dark Falls series and I shockingly won a Maggie for my first book. I loved the genre so much that I went on to build a whole series of my own!

Savannah's book list on steamy romantic suspense for savvy readers

Savannah Kade Why did Savannah love this book?

The Evidence series will pull you under from the first page. This is the kind of romantic escapism that we love, but with the smartest, most reliable heroines. These women are scientists, always prepared and making the best choices. They are pulled from their everyday work into a maelstrom of intrigue and romance. And the heroes? Exactly the kind of men smart women love!

By Rachel Grant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Full of secrets, deadly intrigue and steamy romance. A MUST read." - Elisabeth Naughton, New York Times Bestselling Author

A year ago she lost everything. Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She's finally closing in on her goal when she's distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He's looking for the…


Book cover of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Jake Bittle Author Of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration

From my list on modern society’s relationship with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Jake Bittle, and I’m a staff writer at the environmental magazine Grist, where I cover climate change and energy. I’m also the author of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration, published by Simon & Schuster. In that book I try to explore how human beings interact with nature, and how we try to control nature by building a systematic and inflexible society. This is a theme that has always captivated me, ever since I moved as a teenager to a Florida subdivision built on the edge of a swamp, and it’s something I’m always on the lookout for in fiction as well as nonfiction.

Jake's book list on modern society’s relationship with nature

Jake Bittle Why did Jake love this book?

This book was a significant inspiration for my own book, and remains one of the best and deepest accounts of how climate change is affecting the United States, in any medium.

Moving from the wetlands of the Eastern Seaboard to an eroding village in coastal Louisiana to a Pensacola neighborhood burdened by high flood insurance costs, Rush shows in intimate detail how sea-level rise alters individual lives and transforms small communities, displaying a patience and compassion that too few journalists have.

By Elizabeth Rush,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN GENERAL NONFICTION

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD

A CHICAGO TRIBUNE TOP TEN BOOK OF 2018

A GUARDIAN, NPR's SCIENCE FRIDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, AND LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2018

Hailed as "deeply felt" (New York Times), "a revelation" (Pacific Standard), and "the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing" (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.

With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change…


Book cover of The Economy of Cities

Katrina Gulliver Author Of Modern Women in China and Japan: Gender, Feminism and Global Modernity Between the Wars

From my list on the history of cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in cities through my research on culture in Asia. I came to appreciate how much cities generate culture - and are the exchange points for different ideas. I’ve hosted a podcast on urban history, edited a book (Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience), and written about urban space for various magazines and websites.

Katrina's book list on the history of cities

Katrina Gulliver Why did Katrina love this book?

This book discusses how the first cities formed, and how they operated. We assume they had to be centers of trade and production, but Jacobs really drills down into how that worked. In contrast to other scholars who argue cities emerged as agriculture grew, Jacobs suggests cities were the driving force behind agricultural development. Don’t be put off by the term “economy” if you’re not a numbers person, this isn’t a discussion of tables and percentages, but about the earliest cities would have created culture.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this book, Jane Jacobs, building on the work of her debut, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, investigates the delicate way cities balance the interplay between the domestic production of goods and the ever-changing tide of imports. Using case studies of developing cities in the ancient, pre-agricultural world, and contemporary cities on the decline, like the financially irresponsible New York City of the mid-sixties, Jacobs identifies the main drivers of urban prosperity and growth, often via counterintuitive and revelatory lessons.


Book cover of Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession

Timothy D. Wilson Author Of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

From my list on self knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most adolescents, I was deeply concerned with what others thought of me and how I fit in. Unlike most adolescents, I sometimes did little experiments to test others’ reactions--such as lying down on a busy sidewalk, fully awake, to see how passersby would react (mostly with annoyance). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire discipline--social psychology--that does real experiments on self-knowledge and social behavior. I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan and have spent my career as a professor at the University of Virginia, where I have had great fun conducting such experiments.

Timothy's book list on self knowledge

Timothy D. Wilson Why did Timothy love this book?

Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis have cast a long shadow over our understanding of the human mind. Most research psychologists today find Freud’s ideas to be oversimplified, exaggerated, or simply wrong. It is important to understand his legacy, however, and there is no better way to do so than to read this entertaining, gossipy book about psychoanalytic theory and treatment. Malcolm provides a rare peek into the consulting room of the psychoanalyst, with insightful critiques of the practice and theory of psychoanalysis. What is Freud’s legacy, exactly? I discuss that in Strangers to Ourselves, in a chapter entitled, “Freud’s genius, Freud’s myopia.”

By Janet Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through an intensive study of 'Aaron Green,' a Freudian analyst in New York City, New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm reveals the inner workings of psychoanalysis.