The best books about New York City 📚

Browse the best books on New York City as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Summer in Williamsburg

Summer in Williamsburg

By Daniel Fuchs

Why this book?

An immersive, impressionistic snapshot of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as it was in the 1920s and early 1930s, when it was known not for hipsters, craft beer, and creative facial hair but as a Jewish slum rife with yentas and gangsters. Fuchs published this book in 1934 and swiftly followed it up with two more novels, Homage to Blenholt and Low Company. The books didn’t sell, but Fuchs catapulted himself out of the ghetto and into a respectable West Coast life as a Hollywood screenwriter. Only after Fuchs had all but stopped writing fiction did these early books receive a warm…

From the list:

The best books about coming of age in New York City

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Book cover of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar

Why this book?

In this story about Pura Belpre, the Puerto Rican librarian, we learn about her journey of planting story seeds throughout the country. It all starts when she moves to the United States. Working as a bilingual librarian assistant, she notices there are no Puerto Rican stories. So, she writes her own and plants also dream seeds. This is a sparse, lyrical book with vivid and sweet illustrations. 

From the list:

The most fabulosos Latinx picture books

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Book cover of Little Nemo in Slumberland: 302+1 full-page weekly comic strips (October 15, 1905 - July 23, 1911)

Little Nemo in Slumberland: 302+1 full-page weekly comic strips (October 15, 1905 - July 23, 1911)

By Winsor McCay

Why this book?

Now c’mon, was this guy Winsor fer-real? This stuff is off the charts other-realm, lucid sleeping material. His work was done as comic strips, but can now be found in book form in a variety of volumes. It may be the century between us, but these images and text make me feel a little tilted, off-center, and in the best way possible.

From the list:

The best picture books for adults, children, and other dreamers

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Book cover of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

By Holly Jackson

Why this book?

Told through interviews, prose, and text messages, we watch a small-town murder mystery come to life when the Nancy Drew-esque detective resurrects a murder case that happened years ago that doesn’t quite sit right with her. I love the characters and it was intriguing to dive into a YA Mystery that doesn’t quite read like all the others. Highly recommend the second one in the series as well.

From the list:

The best books that are just the right flavor of experimental prose

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Book cover of Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin

Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin

By Sonja Dümpelmann

Why this book?

Maples, magnolias, oaks, and ailanthus: from the native to the exotic, from the carefully cultivated to the weedy and unwanted, Dümpelmann tells the history of the trees that line our city streets in two complementary case studies. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, trees became yet another technology of urban planning, bent to human designs by tree surgeons, dendroscopes, and all manner of other fantastic inventions. Dümpelmann avoids the pathos of the solitary tree sandwiched between asphalt and concrete. Instead, her story is one of flourishing mutualism: as trees became urbanized, cities became naturalized. Urban trees tell very human stories…

From the list:

The best books on nature in the city

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Book cover of The Body

The Body

By Stephen King

Why this book?

I watched the faithful movie adaptation, Stand by Me, before I read this novella. The movie was amazing, and I didn’t see how the short novel could compete. However, this is one of those cases where the book is better than the movie…and an even rarer case where the book is better than a really good movie, as Stand by Me is an excellent film. If you’ve seen the flick and enjoyed it, definitely check out the novella. I think the four kids that King writes about are some of his best-developed characters, and that’s saying a lot as…

From the list:

The best coming-of-age horror novels

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