The most recommended books about New York (state)

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778 authors created a book list connected to New York State, and here are their favorite New York State books.
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What type of New York State book?


Gone Tomorrow

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Gone Tomorrow

Susan Fleet Author Of Guilty

From the list on crime with a quirky series character.

Who am I?

My print-journalist father covered the crime beat. He often took me with him to the police station and I got hooked on crime. My background is eclectic, a professional trumpet player with a BA in Mathematics and a Masters in Fine Arts. While teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I discovered my dark side and began writing crime thrillers. Most are inspired by actual events or news reports about stalkers, domestic homicides, or serial killers. In 2001, I moved to New Orleans. My crime thriller series features NOPD Homicide Detective Frank Renzi. I'm fortunate to be able to consult three former NOPD homicide detectives who advise me on police procedures and investigations.

Susan's book list on crime with a quirky series character

Why did Susan love this book?

Picture Jack Reacher on an NYC subway car at 2 AM with a suicide bomber. Will she blow up the car and everyone in it? I love how Lee Child keeps us in suspense, not just for a page or two, for twenty-seven pages! Reacher finds out the woman had a dangerous secret, but everyone he talks to lies to him. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger and more questions. 

But many people want Reacher to stop asking questions: a former Delta Force operative running for the US Senate, two Al Qaeda agents, NYC cops, and FBI agents. They want Reacher to get lost and forget the suicide bomber. Fat chance! The complex plot will intrigue you. The climactic ending will terrify you even more than the suicide bomber.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Enhances his status as a mythic avenger. . .You'll be left with a thumping heart and a racing pulse but, be warned, Chapter 63 will give you nightmares." (Evening Standard)

Suicide bombers are easy to spot.
They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs.There are twelve things to look for.No one who has worked in law enforcement will ever forget them.

New York City.The subway, two o'clock in the morning.
Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers.Four are OK.The fifth isn't.
The train brakes for Grand Central Station.

Will Reacher intervene, and save lives?
Or is he wrong?Will his intervention cost…


By Claire Oshetsky,

Book cover of Chouette

Jennifer Savran Kelly Author Of Endpapers

From the list on queer people on the edge.

Who am I?

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s resilience—how we hold onto life and find meaning in it when everything seems to be falling apart. As a queer and genderqueer author, I especially love to see stories about queer characters in all of their human messiness, characters who aren’t forced to be models of perfection in order to earn readers’ empathy, stories that show us queer people don’t deserve dignity because we’re perfect; we deserve it because we’re human. These five novels have affected me deeply because they don’t shy away from the complexities of grief, love, parenting, trauma, sex, social justice, gender identity, and more. 

Jennifer's book list on queer people on the edge

Why did Jennifer love this book?

Using the surreal premise that a human woman named Tiny gives birth to an owl, Chouette paints one of the truest and most beautifully messy portraits of motherhood I’ve ever encountered.

Chouette is not like other babies, and Tiny is nothing like other mothers. Holding tightly to her dream/memory of the female owl lover who impregnated her, Tiny embraces her life as the wild mother of a wild child, as she both struggles to contain Chouette’s most violent impulses and loves and protects her fiercely from everyone’s perceptions of what she’s supposed to be.

Chouette challenged my ideas and made me think more deeply about what it means to be a woman and a mother—as well as an atypical child—amid society’s rigid expectations.

By Claire Oshetsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When Chouette is born, Tiny's husband and family are devastated by her condition and strange appearance. Doctors tell them to expect the worst. Chouette won't learn to walk; she never speaks; she lashes out when frightened and causes chaos in public.

Tiny's husband wants to make her better but Tiny thinks their child is perfect the way she is. In her fierce self-possession, her untameable will, Chouette teaches Tiny to break free of expectations - no matter what it takes.


The New York Trilogy

By Paul Auster,

Book cover of The New York Trilogy

Peter Guttridge Author Of City of Dreadful Night

From the list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by long stories where things aren’t exactly as they seem. Most crime fiction is secrets and lies and their eventual uncovering but most ‘literary’ fiction is too. For what it’s worth, I was a book reviewer for all the posh UK papers for about 15 years, including crime fiction critic for The Observer for twelve (so I’ve read far more crime novels than is healthy for anyone!). I’m a voracious reader and writer and I love making things more complicated for myself (and the reader) by coming up with stuff that I’ve then somehow got to fit together.  

Peter's book list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators

Why did Peter love this book?

This is post-modern crime fiction thematically linked and all with increasingly unreliable characters—because they’re each going insane.

In City of Glass private investigator, Daniel Quinn, goes mad sinking deeper into an investigation about identity. Who is telling his story and can they be relied on? Is it any of these characters who appear: ‘the author,’ ‘Paul Auster the writer,’ ‘Paul Auster the detective’?  Whoosh.

I love this stuff but understand it’s an acquired taste!

By Paul Auster,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The New York Trilogy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Auster's signature work, "The New York Trilogy," consists of three interlocking novels: "City of Glass," "Ghosts," and "The Locked Room" - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller."City of Glass" - As a result of a strange phone call in the middle of the night, Quinn, a writer of detective stories, becomes enmeshed in a case more puzzling than any he might hace written"Ghosts"Blue, a student of Brown, has been hired to spy on Black. From a window of a rented house on Orange street, Blue stalks his subject, who is staring out…

Dear Exile

By Hilary Liftin, Kate Montgomery,

Book cover of Dear Exile: The True Story Of Two Friends Separated (For A Year) By An Ocean

Christine Herbert Author Of The Color of the Elephant

From the list on serving in the Peace Corps.

Who am I?

I am a returned U.S. Peace Corps volunteer who served as a community health worker and educator in Zambia from 2004-2006. My highly-anticipated debut memoir, The Color of the Elephant: Memoir of a Muzungu, a Zola Award finalist, releases January 2022. As an avid reader of adventurous, fish-out-of-water tales, I’ve read dozens of memoirs by fellow Peace Corps volunteers who’ve served all around the world from the 1960s to the present day. These are my top picks based on literary merit, engaging storytelling, and pure heart.

Christine's book list on serving in the Peace Corps

Why did Christine love this book?

This story is told in a series of letters exchanged between two former college roommates, one who marries and joins the Peace Corps in Kenya with her husband, the other striking out on her own in New York City. Each writer has a magic in her writing style that is all her own, which would make either of their tales a standalone success, but the “secret sauce” of this book lies in the juxtaposition of their two very different lives. Each writer’s tales of triumph and woe—lifestyles that could not be more polar opposite—play off one another in the most hilarious and tender way. With acerbic wit and disarming candor, this offbeat correspondence is bound to delight even the most jaded Sex-in-the-City-ish Manhattanite’s heart.

By Hilary Liftin, Kate Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A funny and moving story told through the letters of two women nurturing a friendship as they are separated by distance, experience, and time.

Close friends and former college roommates, Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery promised to write when Kate's Peace Corps assignment took her to Africa.  Over the course of a single year, they exchanged an offbeat and moving series of letters from rural Kenya to New York City and back again.

Kate, an idealistic teacher, meets unexpected realities ranging from poisonous snakes and vengeful cows to more serious hazards: a lack of money for education; a student body…

What the Dead Leave Behind

By Rosemary Simpson,

Book cover of What the Dead Leave Behind

Dianne Freeman Author Of A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

From the list on female sleuths of the Gilded Age.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. I’ve been fascinated by the Gilded Age/Victorian Era/Belle Epoque since reading my first Edith Wharton novel, The Buccaneers, which followed the lives of four American heiresses of the late 19th century, who crossed the Atlantic to marry British lords. Love and marriage almost never went together in Wharton’s world, but with all the loveless marriages, the social climbing, and the haves and have-nots, I find it makes an excellent setting for a mystery.

Dianne's book list on female sleuths of the Gilded Age

Why did Dianne love this book?

Frances lives in the Victorian Era in London, but in her hometown of New York, it’s the Gilded Age. This is her background in all its glittering and horrifying glory. 

Crime novels fit quite naturally in this era. I love a loathsome villain and Rosemary Simpson serves up some of the worst in her Gilded Age series. She uses actual events, like the great blizzard of 1888, as catalysts for some heinous crimes. If you needed to dispose of a body, what better place than a snowdrift? 

Prudence MacKenzie, the dead man’s fiancé and our sleuth, doesn’t seem to realize the danger she’s in. I spent the entire read on the edge of my seat wondering if she’d make it to the end of the book alive. This is historical noir in elegant Gilded Age style.

By Rosemary Simpson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Dead Leave Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set amidst the opulent mansions and cobblestone streets of Old New York, this enthralling historical mystery by Rosemary Simpson brings the Gilded Age to life—in a tantalizing tale of old money, new love, and grave suspicion . . .  

As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiancé’s safe return. But the fearsome storm rages through the night. With daylight, more than two hundred people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Among them is Prudence’s fiancé—his body frozen,…

Invisible Child

By Andrea Elliott,

Book cover of Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City

Roxanna Asgarian Author Of We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America

From the list on how our systems are failing vulnerable children.

Who am I?

I’m an investigative journalist and author, and a decade ago I began digging into the child welfare system—what we call the patchwork web of child protection agencies around the country. The more I learned, the more I realized how this system, which is ostensibly to help children in need, is actually perpetrating deep and lasting harm on generations of children and families. These books have helped me understand how we punish poor people instead of helping them, and how our racist systems harm Black and Indigenous children. They’ve also helped me to sit with the reality of child abuse, and begin to see a different way of preventing harm and healing those who’ve been hurt. 

Roxanna's book list on how our systems are failing vulnerable children

Why did Roxanna love this book?

Andrea Elliott, a New York Times reporter, spent nearly a decade reporting on Dasani Coates, a Black child growing up in a New York City shelter, and the result is a deeply humane look at a family in poverty.

This Pulitzer-winning book makes clear that the child protection system is a downstream solution to problems that begin with the failure of our society to meet families’ basic human needs.

As Dasani’s journey becomes public in a front page New York Times series, she is afforded an opportunity to escape poverty and become educated in an elite institution, but Elliott shows that plucking a favored child out of her family—even for the most positive of reasons—is still painful for the child.

By Andrea Elliott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A “vivid and devastating” (The New York Times) portrait of an indomitable girl—from acclaimed journalist Andrea Elliott

“From its first indelible pages to its rich and startling conclusion, Invisible Child had me, by turns, stricken, inspired, outraged, illuminated, in tears, and hungering for reimmersion in its Dickensian depths.”—Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, Library Journal

In Invisible Child, Pulitzer Prize winner…

Manhattan Beach

By Jennifer Egan,

Book cover of Manhattan Beach

Priscilla Gilman Author Of The Critic's Daughter: A Memoir

From the list on loving and losing a complicated father.

Who am I?

I'm the daughter of a charismatic and complicated father, the late theater and literary critic and Yale School of Drama professor Richard Gilman. My memoir, The Critic's Daughter, tells the story of how I lost him for the first time when I was ten years old and over and over in the ensuing months and years; the book is my attempt to find him. I'm a former professor of English literature at Yale and Vassar, the mother of two boys, a book critic for the Boston Globe, and a literature, writing, and meditation teacher.

Priscilla's book list on loving and losing a complicated father

Why did Priscilla love this book?

Manhattan Beach is less experimental and more conventional than Jennifer Egan's A Visit From The Goon Squad and The Candy House, but it is every bit as moving, rich, and textured as those justly celebrated novels, and it contains one of the most touching father/daughter relationships that I've ever encountered in fiction.

A historical novel set in Depression and World War II-era New York City, Manhattan Beach begins with almost 12-year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanying her rakish father, Eddie, on a mission to a wealthy gangster. A few years later, Eddie disappears after abruptly walking out on his family with no warning or explanation.

Has he been killed? Is he in hiding?  Why did he abandon a family he ostensibly loved? Plucky, brave Anna devotes herself to the search for her missing father with the ingenuity and zeal of the detectives she reads about in fiction.

I reviewed Manhattan Beach for…

By Jennifer Egan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Manhattan Beach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A New York Times Notable Book

Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, Esquire, Vogue, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA TODAY, and Time

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.…

The Murder of Helen Jewett

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Book cover of The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Ninetenth-Century New York

Rebecca Frost Author Of Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

From the list on crimes you've never heard of.

Who am I?

I picked up my first book about Jack the Ripper the summer after college and never looked back. Since then my collection of true crime has grown to overflow my office bookshelves and I’ve written a PhD dissertation and multiple books about true crime, focusing on serial killers. The genre is so much more than Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer and I love talking with people about the less mainstream cases that interest them, and the newer victim-centered approaches that—fingers crossed—mark a change in how we talk about criminals and victims.

Rebecca's book list on crimes you've never heard of

Why did Rebecca love this book?

Helen Jewett was a sex worker living in New York in the 1830s. She worked in a brothel under a matron, which should have been a safe enough situation—she wasn’t out on the street, at least, and others knew when she had clients. Early one morning, however, others in the house wake up to realize there’s a fire in Helen’s room, and that she’s dead. Was it a murder committed by her last client, a man quickly identified as Richard Robinson, or was it a suicide? If she hadn’t died so brutally, we wouldn’t know Helen Jewett’s name, so she’s become another victim only known for her murder. Cohen reminds us that she’s more than just her death.

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Murder of Helen Jewett as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1836, the murder of a young prostitute made headlines in New York City and around the country, inaugurating a sex-and-death sensationalism in news reporting that haunts us today. Patricia Cline Cohen goes behind these first lurid accounts to reconstruct the story of the mysterious victim, Helen Jewett.

From her beginnings as a servant girl in Maine, Helen Jewett refashioned herself, using four successive aliases, into a highly paid courtesan. She invented life stories for herself that helped her build a sympathetic clientele among New York City's elite, and she further captivated her customers through her seductive letters, which mixed…

Ladies' Man

By Richard Price,

Book cover of Ladies' Man

Ryan Uytdewilligen Author Of He's No Angel

From Ryan's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Historian Academy Awards fanatic Country boy Traveler

Ryan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Ryan love this book?

I had never heard the name Richard Price. Then I connected the dots one day. He wrote one of my all-time favorite movies – The Color of Money – plus a handful of other New York set shaggy dog tales of lonesome losers.

I read The Wanderers, his most famous work, but I was most captivated by Ladies’ Man. Price has a skill for capturing male angst, sleaze, and lust, but none of his works compare to the engaging tale of a frustrated salesman. It is a hilarious, cringy, memorable read soaked in 1970s values.

By Richard Price,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kenny Becker just dumped his girlfriend--the reasons are a little complex. Young and newly unemployed, his main assets at the moment are six-pack abs and a healthy libido--he's ready to get out, find a little action, and maybe find himself too. But New York is no place for the lonely, and with one meaningless sexual encounter after another, Kenny begins to wonder if the singles scene is not itself a complete con job, with his heart and his future at stake. Raunchy, funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, this 1978 clubland slice-of-life displays Richard Price in gritty good form.

Loves Music, Loves To Dance

By Mary Higgins Clark,

Book cover of Loves Music, Loves To Dance

Lisa M. Lucero Author Of Waves Crashing

From the list on thrilling, creepy tales of mystery and suspense.

Who am I?

I'm a former journalist who has written for several newspapers in Kansas and Texas. Ever since I was young, I had an incredible imagination, a love for storytelling, and an adventurous spirit. I started writing my first novel Waves Crashing, a suspense romance, when I was a senior at McPherson High School; then I worked on it some in college, and it was published in 2019. I'm also the author of the science fiction novels The Death Firm and The Re-Creation of the Death Firm. I'm currently working at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, as an administrative assistant in data and records. I plan on starting to write my fourth novel in 2023. 

Lisa's book list on thrilling, creepy tales of mystery and suspense

Why did Lisa love this book?

There’s nothing scarier than answering personal ads to a complete stranger in my opinion. Women in Loves Music, Loves to Dance who answers a personal ad find themselves the next victim of a serial killer. What makes this particularly frightening is that the situation actually happens in real life. This book might make you rethink answering that personal ad in the newspaper or online. That’s what makes this book a nail-biter and keeps you up until all hours of the night. It is a fun read, and I highly recommend it. 

By Mary Higgins Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loves Music, Loves To Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York's trendy magazines are a source of peril when a killer enacts a bizarre dance of death, using the personal ads to lure his victims in bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark's Loves Music, Loves to Dance.

After college, best friends Erin Kelley and Darcy Scott move to the city to pursue exciting careers—Erin is a promising jewelry designer and Darcy finds success as a decorator. On a lark, Darcy persuades Erin to help their TV producer friend research the kinds of people who place personal ads. It seems like innocent fun...until Erin disappears.

Erin's body is found on an…

Book cover of An Unkindness of Magicians

Liz Michalski Author Of Darling Girl

From the list on making you believe in magic.

Who am I?

I vividly remember the first time a book transported me—it was in Mrs. Paul’s second-grade math class, and I was reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader under the desk. It carried me away to a different world. I’ve been looking for that same magic in every book since, hoping to fall into a picture or open a wardrobe door to another place and time. This list contains a few of my favorites, the stories that have earned permanent spots on my shelves, the ones that get pulled down when I need some enchantment in my life. (And don’t we all need a little magic these days?)

Liz's book list on making you believe in magic

Why did Liz love this book?

Magic is real. To wield it requires sacrifice.

Its allegiance shifts and changes over time. To hold it, Houses of Magic put on an epic tournament at every Turning, where their best and brightest act as champions in battle. But what the champions don’t know, because their elders have never taught them, is that the magic itself draws from a dark source, and that source is crumbling.

Powerful magician Sydney has emerged from The House of Shadows to fight for a sponsor who wishes to establish his own house. But Sydney has first-hand experience with the darkness.

And she doesn’t want to help restore the establishment. She wants to burn it to the ground.

A fast-moving, gritty, wholly satisfying read. 

By Kat Howard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A remarkable writer." -Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods

An Alex Award Winner

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city's magicians' power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney-a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney…

Humans of New York

By Brandon Stanton,

Book cover of Humans of New York

Terry Baker Mulligan Author Of These Boys Are Killing Me: Travels and Travails With Sons Who Take Risks

From the list on how those who differ from the norm are treated by society.

Who am I?

I read voraciously and have been fortunate to interact with people and situations such as those on my list. I also grew up in New York City, the melting pot displayed in Humans of New York. There I lived, jumped double-dutch, studied, and worked in a multicultural community. After moving to St Louis, I discovered it was a place that did not always embrace “others.” That inspired me to write my first book, Sugar Hill. Living in St Louis also strengthened my appreciation for diversity in race, religion, and to appreciate people whose sexual identity, or mental and physical ability might differ from mine. 

Terry's book list on how those who differ from the norm are treated by society

Why did Terry love this book?

I love photography books but, my hands-down favorite is Humans of New York. New York City is truly America’s melting pot, a gourmet stew of nationalities, personalities, fragile seniors, young billionaires, paupers, and everything in between. The city has much of what’s right with the world and its burst of humanity can all be seen in this book.

Unlike many photo books, this one has no excess verbiage. Stanton lets the pictures or their subjects tell the stories. There are hairstylists, hipsters, mommies, cute kids, teens with tattoos and purple hair, and a guy busking in the park with his viola while wearing a pink gorilla suit. The caption reads: “Damn liberal arts degree.” The author created this as a summer project and ended with 300 pages of delight. 

By Brandon Stanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An instant Number One New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out on an ambitious project: to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in his attempt to capture ordinary New Yorkers in the most extraordinary of moments. The result of these efforts was "Humans of New York," a vibrant blog in which he featured his photos alongside quotes and anecdotes. The blog has steadily grown, now boasting nearly a…

Christ In Concrete

By Pietro di Donato,

Book cover of Christ In Concrete

David Amadio Author Of Rug Man

From the list on working life.

Who am I?

The blue-collar everyman lives on the periphery, coming and going with little fanfare. But what does he think and feel? How does he view the world? I became interested in these questions while working for my father’s rug business. I started as a part-timer in the early 90s, straddling the line between academe and the homes of the rich. He employed me for the next twenty years, supplementing my income as I found my way as a university professor. The books listed led me to a deeper appreciation of my father’s vocation, but only in writing Rug Man did I come to understand the true meaning of work. 

David's book list on working life

Why did David love this book?

Published the same year as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, di Donato’s Christ in Concrete is another closely drawn portrait of working-class immigrants, this time the Italian-American bricklayers of New York City’s Lower East Side.

On top of its lyricism and spirited narrative pace, what I find most refreshing about di Donato’s tale is its choice of subject matter. So much of what we read and hear about the Italian-American experience tends to focus on the Mafia, perpetuating negative stereotypes that have dogged paisans since the late 19th century.

While I’ll never be the one to turn off Goodfellas, I long for more stories like that of Geremio and his irrepressible son, Paul, “born artists of brick and mortar.”

By Pietro di Donato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Giving voice to the hardworking Italian immigrants who worked, lived, and died in New York City shortly before the Great Depression, this American classic ranks with Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath as one of the 20th century’s great works of social protest.
Largely autobiographical, Christ in Concrete opens with the dramatic Good Friday collapse of a building under construction, crucifying in concrete an Italian construction worker, whose death leaves his pregnant wife and eight children impoverished. His oldest son, Paul, at just twelve years old, must take over his father’s role—and his job.
Paul’s odyssey into manhood begins on the…

Carpe Demon

By Julie Kenner,

Book cover of Carpe Demon

Alexa Sullivan Author Of I Dream of Demigods

From the list on upbeat paranormal romances.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong reader who cut my teeth on Narnia and Nancy Drew. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a later-in-life revelation, combining the fantasy and mystery elements I’d loved in childhood with a butt-kicking heroine and plenty of romance. I’m always seeking that same blend of humor and action in the paranormal romances I read, as well as the ones I write. It can be tough to find paranormal romances that aren’t deeply intense and moody, so I hope this list will help you enjoy the lighter side of paranormal.

Alexa's book list on upbeat paranormal romances

Why did Alexa love this book?

The jokey title and tagline, “adventures of a demon-hunting soccer mom,” pulled me in. I stayed for the heroine and her hilariously chaotic efforts to separate her demon-hunting life and her family life. This one is lighter on the romance, but the author adeptly explores the complexity of being in a happy second marriage while missing a loved one. The paranormal mystery was fun, but my favorite part involved Kate trying to hide a body. Enjoy this tale poolside with a glass of iced tea.

By Julie Kenner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nobody slays demons like Kate Connor. At least that used to be true...

She gave up her supernatural past to settle into the role of devoted wife and stay-at-home mom, and never regretted it for a single second.

But now her past has come calling.

Out of practice and pushing forty, Kate knows she can’t go this alone. But who can she trust when she’s been out of the game for over a decade?

At the end of the day, this mom will do whatever it takes to keep her family safe … including skipping PTA meetings to go head-to-head…

These Shallow Graves

By Jennifer Donnelly,

Book cover of These Shallow Graves

Leah Lindeman Author Of Wisps of Gold

From the list on history mysteries that keep you jittery in the night.

Who am I?

Since I began reading, two things have fascinated me the most, that is, history and mystery. My voracious appetite for mystery began with Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. History has always been my best subject in school. To me, history isn’t about people, achievements, and dates. It’s about lives lived through the tragedies and triumphs that we all face and can relate to. It is the origin of stories. History doesn’t have to be boring. It can be the greatest and most intriguing story that you have ever read. Mystery is history’s great friend—to convert a huge range of readers into history lovers.

Leah's book list on history mysteries that keep you jittery in the night

Why did Leah love this book?

Jo Montfort cannot be chained by the expectations of others for long. The monumental event of her father’s “accidental” death triggers her to break free to discover the dirty truth that was once veiled in brittle glamour. A strong heroine and scandalous outings in the nights makes this read a thrilling ride to savour in the late-night hours.

By Jennifer Donnelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Jennifer Donnelly, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of A Northern Light and Revolution, comes a mystery about dark secrets, dirty truths, and the lengths to which people will go for love and revenge. For fans of Elizabeth George and Libba Bray, These Shallow Graves is the story of how much a young woman is willing to risk and lose in order to find the truth.
    Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing…

Liar & Spy

By Rebecca Stead,

Book cover of Liar & Spy

Beth McMullen Author Of Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls

From the list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades.

Who am I?

All my books, for adults and kids, include the theme that things are seldom what they seem. I link this to the slow realization when I was young that my family had an uncommon history. Novels featuring spies go deep into this theme, as a good spy is always manipulating their environment and presenting versions of themselves that may or may not be true. When my own children were little, we read so many of these novels. That reading is what inspired the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series.

Beth's book list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades

Why did Beth love this book?

I love how Georges and Safer are relatable. Their friendship has ups and downs and tensions that resonate for young readers.

Middle school is challenging! The realism extends to Georges’s family and the challenges he faces at home. But this story is driven by the mystery of Spy Club and Mr. X. Important themes of friendship, empathy, and self discovery are flawlessly woven into the expert storytelling. I read this in one sitting!

By Rebecca Stead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Georges moves into a new apartment block he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Soon Georges has become his spy recruit. His first assignment? To track the mysterious Mr X, who lives in the flat upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a game and what is a lie? How far is too far to go for your only friend?

Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

'A joy to read' Independent

'Rebecca Stead makes writing this well look easy' Philip Ardagh, Guardian

'Exactly what I would…

Book cover of The Kaiju Preservation Society

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Chaos

From Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Scientist Imagineer Lifelong student Optimist Earthling with ambitions

Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Douglas love this book?

Godzilla (who ravaged Japan in the 1960s) was a real, living, breathing animal. It’s true, I swear! Crazier still, there are more like him, though not easy to find.

Contact the Kaiju Preservation Society; they know how to get there. You see, kaiju means “strange beast” in Japanese, and you’ll meet quite a few in this thoroughly entertaining story.

Don’t worry, it’s not a horror story. Author John Scalzi’s knack for clever humor made me laugh from beginning to end. Don’t miss the fun!

By John Scalzi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Kaiju Preservation Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here…

Affordable Housing in New York

By Nicholas Dagen Bloom (editor), Matthew Gordon Lasner (editor),

Book cover of Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City

Thomas Dyja Author Of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation

From the list on how New York became New York.

Who am I?

It took eight years to write New York, New York, New York, and reading hundreds and hundreds of books about all different aspects of New York past and present. There were lots of brilliant ones along the way, but these five changed how I think about New York, flipped assumptions, created entirely new maps and narratives.

Thomas' book list on how New York became New York

Why did Thomas love this book?

For my money, affordable housing is the biggest issue New York faces right now and this book was one of the happiest, most fascinating surprises in my research. No one should utter that phrase—“affordable housing”—until they read this book, a comprehensive, overview of all the different kinds of affordable housing created in and by New York over the last century. With fabulous imagery from photographer and sociologist David Schaillol, it ultimately becomes an alternative history of what the city has done, which made me hopeful about what it can do if we choose to.

By Nicholas Dagen Bloom (editor), Matthew Gordon Lasner (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A richly illustrated history of below-market housing in New York, from the 1920s to today

A colorful portrait of the people, places, and policies that have helped make New York City livable, Affordable Housing in New York is a comprehensive, authoritative, and richly illustrated history of the city's public and middle-income housing from the 1920s to today. Plans, models, archival photos, and newly commissioned portraits of buildings and tenants by sociologist and photographer David Schalliol put the efforts of the past century into context, and the book also looks ahead to future prospects for below-market subsidized housing. A dynamic account…

Seven Million

By Gary Craig,

Book cover of Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink's Heist

Mark Bulik Author Of The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

From the list on Irish American true crime.

Who am I?

I’ve been a newspaperman for 40 years, the last 25 at The New York Times, and crime is the meat and potatoes of the business. My mother came from an Irish American clan in the Pennsylvania township where the Molly Maguires were born – my great-uncle died at 13 in the mine where the Mollies made one of their first recorded appearances. So I’ve been fascinated by Irish American true crime ever since the Sean Connery film The Mollies Maguires came out in 1970. I’ve spent most of my adult life researching the subject, and have given lectures on it all over the country.

Mark's book list on Irish American true crime

Why did Mark love this book?

In 1993, a gang of thieves got away with $7 million in a heist at a Brink’s depot in Rochester, N.Y – and the bulk of it has never been recovered.

The cast of characters includes a former I.R.A. man who’d done prison time in Northern Ireland, an activist priest, an ex-cop who became a suspect, and a charismatic prizefighter whose dismembered body was found in Lake Ontario.

I liked this because at the center of it all is the lingering question of whether the missing money ended up with the Irish Republican Army. 

By Gary Craig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a freezing night in January 1993, masked gunmen walked through the laughably lax security at the Rochester Brink's depot, tied up the guards, and unhurriedly made off with $7.4 million in one of the FBI's top-five armored car heists in history. Suspicion quickly fell on a retired Rochester cop working security for Brinks at the time-as well it might. Officer Tom O'Connor had been previously suspected of everything from robbery to murder to complicity with the IRA. One ex-IRA soldier in particular was indebted to O'Connor for smuggling him and his girlfriend into the United States, and when he…

This Is New York

By Miroslav Sasek,

Book cover of This Is New York

Tania de Regil Author Of A New Home

From the list on picture books about cities.

Who am I?

When I was a young girl, I was lucky to have friends from all over the world, so learning about a new country or a new city always fascinated me, and it still does. I’m always trying to learn new things, meet new people and whenever I can I like to travel the world. As a writer and illustrator, it’s always nice to experience new things, it helps to expand my imagination. I hope this list inspires you not only to read but to learn a few things here and there.  

Tania's book list on picture books about cities

Why did Tania love this book?

Anyone who is curious about other cities and cultures will love the complete series of the This Is… books by Miroslav Sasek. They are filled with exciting facts and the colorful illustrations are truly delightful. From New York, to London, to Hong Kong, and many more, these books will inspire you to travel the world!

By Miroslav Sasek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the same wit and perception that distinguished his stylish books on Paris, London, and Rome, M. Sasek pictures fabulous, big-hearted New York City in This Is New York, first published in 1960 and now updated for the 21st century. The Dutchman who bought the island of Manhattan from the Native Americnas in 1626 for twenty-four dollars' worth of handy housewares little knew that his was the biggest bargain in American history. For everything about New York is big -- the buildings, the traffic jams, the cars, the stories, the Sunday papers. Here is the Staten Island Ferry, the Statute…