Back in 2016, we spent a wonderful spring break in New York City. The trip sent me on a NYC based reading “bender” (anyone else do that??) and pretty much everything I read for the next few months was set in the city. I loved reading about the places I had just seen and visited. Try these 10 Books Set in New York City for your next reading bender.
10 Books Set in New York City
- New York by Edward Rutherford – Edward Rutherford’s books check so many of my reading boxes: historical fiction, 500+ pages, a map, and interesting characters. This book traced the growth and change of NYC from a tiny fishing village to a Dutch agricultural community, and ends with 9/11.
- Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – NYC in the 1930’s. Do I need to say more? Add in Amor Towles’ lovely writing style and this one is a winner.
- Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano – this historical fiction novel centers on Giovanna Costa, an Italian immigrant in the early 1900’s. Life sure wasn’t easy back then.
- Brooklyn by Colm Tobin – A young woman, Ellis, leaves her small Irish village in the early 1950’s, and moves to Brooklyn. Basis for the 2016 movie with Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.
- The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin – if you like reading about rich and beautiful women (the swans) during the glamorous 1950’s, then this is the book for you. While it is a novel, the characters are all real, including Truman Capote.
- The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer – set in 1985, the main character time travels not just to one different era (1941) but two (1918)! And, rather than the typical time traveler story where the character meets strangers, Greta lives with her aunt and brother in the other times.
- Time and Again by Jack Finney – Originally published in 1970, this is another time traveling book. Si Morley time travels back to 1882, and the descriptive writing will make you feel like you are there with him. The illustrations (which are kind of odd to have in a novel) are excellent.
- The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe – forget the movie and read the novel. Although it was originally published in 1985, we’re still struggling with many of the same social issues of racism and inequality.
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton – I’m going really old school here. Originally published in 1905, this is another “lives of rich people” novel. It deals with with the social norms of NYC’s upper class during the Gilded Age.
- Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart – This memoir is the only non-fiction book on this list, but it definitely reads like historical fiction. Two young college girls move from Iowa to New York City in the summer of 1945 and land jobs as pages at Tiffany’s. I loved following their summer adventures.
That wraps up my list of 10 Books Set in New York City. Have you read any of these books? Do you have a favorite?
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