New York Books – the list is growing!


I didn’t realize until now just how many books I’ve read
that are set in New York.  If you’re in “a New York state of mind,”
take a look at some of my favorite Big Apple books!

Just added a new one:
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Great 5-star read!

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin  – light 1800s historical fiction about billionaire American families who match up their daughters with poor European dukes and princes.


Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow – intelligent and well-written historical fiction about 1930s organized crime in New York City


Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – a character sketch of a lonely nineteen-year-old girl trying to escape a sad past


Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín – moving love story in which a young Irish woman leaves home for a better life in Brooklyn


Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy – second book in the entertaining Mary Handley Mystery series about New York’s first female detective


The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout – story about a buried secret and painful family dynamics between adult siblings


The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott – historical fiction about a young English maid and seamstress who survives the Titanic


Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. – fascinating biography of Huguette Clark, a reclusive heiress who spent the last twenty years of her life in a hospital bed and gave away huge amounts of money to her caretakers and advisers


The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – terrific story about a talented New York architect who refuses to collaborate



The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – classic love story about a mysterious tycoon during the wild party atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties


The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor – great historical fiction about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were the only civilian Americans to be killed for spying for the Russians


The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky – a modern-day Artemis solves a murder in New York in a world of mortals, gods and goddesses


The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer – Time traveling love story about finding happiness in an alternate life


The Inquisitor’s Mark by Diane K. Salerni – second book in an exciting Young Adult series about a secret eighth day where allies and adversaries abound


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – a look at the lives of six talented teenagers who meet at a summer camp for the arts in 1974

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan – fantastic historical fiction during the Depression and World War II. Egan’s characters try their best to navigate between right and wrong.

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – How do you put the hushed experiences of your childhood into words?  Character reflections on family, marriage and friendships.


Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – debut novel about the secret life of teenagers at an elite private school in Brooklyn


Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – working class girl meets a handsome banker and climbs the social ladder in Post Depression New York.


Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy – first book in an entertaining historical fiction murder mystery series about New York’s first female police detective


The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin – great book about Truman Capote and his relationship with high society socialites in New York.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – fast-moving, highly entertaining crime thriller set in the suburbs with a wild chase scene in New York

The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland – interesting a story about an emotionally unsettled newspaper woman and a commentary on the business of reporting news


We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas – a look inside a family struggling with Alzheimer’s disease


Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk – terrific story of a young author from Kentucky who arrives in New York and becomes a hugely successful and prolific novelist – Book Club Mom’s All-Time Favorite! (Click here to view Book Club Mom’s Top 10 Faves.)

I think it’s fun to sort my books by different categories.
Do you often read about the same place?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

33 thoughts on “New York Books – the list is growing!

  1. I really enjoyed The Alienist by Caleb Carr. It was interesting to read about New York City in the late 1890s!

  2. This is such a fun read and reminds me of your post about books set in New England. Three to add to your list: “Catcher in the Rye”, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and last but not least “Eloise” (probably the most NYC story of all)!

    1. Hi Jo-Anne! I grew up close to NYC and we visited fairly often so I’m familiar with the “feel” of the city, but I’m really a suburban kind of girl. Still, I seem to gravitate towards New York books. There sure are a lot of them. Thanks for visiting – hope you are doing well!

    1. I liked those books too. You’ve reminded me I need to read another book by Harlan Coben – I’ve read 2 and like his writing, particularly the Jersey parts since I grew up in North Jersey. Thanks for reading and commenting, Luccia.

      1. Did you know Netflix is filming his novel The Secret in 6-8 episodes?
        It’s a grest novel, but one of his darker ones. I prefer the hea endings. I’m an incurable romantic!

    1. Hi Lisa, that’s a very original way of looking at your books! Too many NYC books to do that with, though. I think authors must have an in-depth knowledge of NYC if they set their books in the city. I would never be able to do that! Thanks for the visit.

      1. Well if you’ve ever been to Trenton you will know their “Trenton Makes – the World Takes” bridge! We have authors where I live who write about the area and their books are popular.

  3. Great list (although I’ve never liked the Great Gatsby). This reminds me of how I often get a little obsessive before a vacation and try to read a bunch of books set in my upcoming holiday destination. Helps me start the trip early!

    1. Hi Tammie, it’s funny you mention reading a bunch of books about your next travel destination. I was just talking with someone who does the same thing! I tend to be the type who would read them after I get home, but I can see it’s a great way to start your trip early. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tammie!

  4. An amazing list, Barbara. I’ve read about half of these, and I know many books I’ve read in the past are set in NYC. The last Anna Quindlen book was quintessential NYC, (Alternate Side) as well as the last Julia Glass books (The Whole World Over, I believe, for sure). Have you read any of Julia Glass books? I think you’d love them. I want to read Manhattan Beach soon, but I’m in the middle of Youngblood Hawke, and you know how long THAT one takes! [I’ve read two books in between just to get a breather. One of those books was The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain, much of it set in… NYC of course! 🙂 ]

    1. Hi Pam – there are so many New York books, aren’t there? I’m so glad you are reading Youngblood Hawke – you know that’s my favorit 😉 but it’s a long one! I have read a bunch of Anna Quindlen books, but not Alternate Side. I’ll have to check it out, as well as Julia Glass’s books. I’ve also read a couple books by Diane Chamberlain, but not The Dream Daughter. Thanks for the visit – hope you have a great week!

      1. Alternate Side was not one of my favorite Quindlen books – the characters are so self-absorbed (but of course that was part of the point of Anna’s, in writing about New York). Julia Glass is an amazing writing. The Dream Daughter was different from Diane Chamberlain’s other books – not sure I’d recommend it.

    1. It’s funny that I’m drawn to this type of book, because, although I grew up in North Jersey, and went into NYC a good amount, I’m not much of a city girl. More like a suburban mom! Thanks for the visit, Noelle!

  5. One of the most charming books I read last year was “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” by Kathleen Rooney. It is a story of an octogenarian reminiscening her life as she walks (& walks & walks) the streets of New York City. It is a little jewel of a story.

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