Great NYC-Based Books
New York City is one of the film capitals of the world, so sometimes it’s easy to forget that the city has claim to literary fame as well. New York’s past and present are so expansive and full of unique stories, it’s no wonder that some of the best books of all time are set here in New York City. Looking for the quintessential New York-set reading list? We’ve compiled our favorite NYC-based books for your reading pleasure.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Forget about being an uptown or a downtown person––are you West Egg or East Egg? The Great Gatsby is a classic novel, and if you haven’t immersed yourself in Gatsby’s glamorous 1920s lifestyle, you should. The themes about love and self-discovery apply to living in modern-day NYC, proving that no matter the year––some things about New York City always stay the same.
The Devil Wears Prada, a Novel by Lauren Weisberger
Though you might think of the film adaptation before you think of the NYC-based book, The Devil Wears Prada is chick lit at its finest. Any New York transplant can relate to Andy as she tries to find her professional footing, and everyone can relate to the moments when she feels like life is about to fall apart. Plus, in a city full of high-powered, demanding bosses, you’re bound to meet somebody who has lived through a Devil Wears Prada experience, which makes this “fictional” novel a lot more interesting of a read.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
At one point or another, who hasn’t wanted to move into The Met? Even though Mixed-Up Files is a children’s book, any reader of any age can enjoy Claudia and Jamie’s adventure. Like The Metropolitan Museum of Art itself, it’s a great introduction to the art world for those who have always had a surface-level fascination. And also – who doesn’t kind of want to grow up to be Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler??
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
So not all of the stories in A Visit From The Goon Squad take place in New York City, but what’s more NYC than punk rock? Whether you look at this book as a collection of related short stories or an actual novel, the depiction of the music industry through the characters’ lives (most notably Bennie and Sasha) is fascinating. You can tell that Jennifer Egan did a lot of research on rock ‘n’ roll based on the way she writes, and it pays off for a truly compelling read.
Primates of Park Avenue, A Memoir by Wednesday Martin
It’s a perfect New York book to bring to the park, but you might want to read it downtown away from its subjects. Wednesday Martin details her marriage and move into Upper East Side society through the eyes of an anthropologist, which both helps her to explain the actions of the neighborhood cliques and the methods to her own madness. Yes, parts of this memoir read like a grown-up Gossip Girl, but ultimately Martin finds the key to understanding those around her and the strong bonds of friendship.
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
Though Ten Thousand Saints starts in a small town in Vermont, it comes to life when Jude moves in with his father in the East Village. Henderson’s work is an in-depth look at straight edge culture, the alternative culture of the East Village in the 1980s. The story is dark and, at times, tragic, but the dark look at nostalgia shows what parts of NYC looked like in their heyday, and what they can eventually become.
Do you have any favorite NYC-based books? Please share!
Gatsby photo by Emdot via Flickr.
Goon Squad photo by Drümmkopf via Flickr.