NYC Reading Suggestions from Literary Twitter

Literary Twitter has come through for me once again.  I sent a Tweet asking if anyone would like to recommend some reading for my upcoming trip to New York City.  The response has been overwhelming and I thought I would share the suggestions I have gotten so far.  I have chosen to list them alphabetically by author.  If anyone has additional titles to add then please leave them in the comments:

The New York Trilogy by Paul Aster

The Cities (poems) by Paul Blackburn

Open City by Teju Cole

The Flea of Sodom by Edward Dahlberg

Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos

Time and Again by Jack Finney

Desperate Characters by Paula Fox

New York Revisited by Henry James

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer

Passing by Nella Larsen

Poet in New York by Federico Garcia Lorca

Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli.

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

Brightness Falls by Jay McInerney

The Rosy Crucifixion Series by Henry Miller

Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell

McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon by Joseph Mitchell

After Claude by Iris Owens

Harlem is Nowhere by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Low Life by Luc Sante

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.

A Tree Growns in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories by Delmore Schwartz

Down these Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead

 

22 Comments

Filed under Opinion Posts

22 responses to “NYC Reading Suggestions from Literary Twitter

  1. Hi
    I missed your tweet otherwise I would have strongly recommended Manhattan Transfer by Dos Passos.
    And Chester Himes or James Baldwin. And Jay McInerney.
    No need to bother with Breakfast at Tiffany’s in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jonathan

    The Rosy Crucifixion series by Henry Miller which consists of Sexus, Plexus and Nexus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After Claude by Iris Owens for 70s NYC squalor.

    Like

  4. Allegra Wong

    The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sylvie Marie Héroux

    The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton (19th century NY)
    Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (Irish immigrants in NY)
    Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (post 9/11 weirdness)
    Academy Street by Mary Costello (Irish immigrants in NY)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice idea to collate all the suggestions here. Funnily enough, Teju Cole’s Open City had crossed my mind too – another great book.

    Like

  7. Great topic! I recommend Helene Hanff’s books, especially Underfoot in Show Business for a glimpse of a vanished Broadway by a would-be playwright. She also wrote a guide to NYC, Apple of My Eye, which is dated but still fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pleased to see Up in the Old Hotel on your list. How about Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie based on a woman featured in an essay in Mitchell’s collection, or Jay McInerney’s Brightness Falls, my favourite of his novels

    Liked by 1 person

  9. These are two books that come to mind for me (plus Open City) if you haven’t read them: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing (essay/memoir) and Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli.

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  10. William Woodward

    Low Life by Luc Sante

    Like

  11. A recent release might be enjoyable for your trip: The Gargoyle Hunters by John Freeman Gill. I hope to post some notes on it in a few days. Set around New York City in the 1970s when much of the architecture was changing, it’s a nice prompt to look up and appreciate the bridge across time that some of the buildings (and other constructions) in the city can provide.

    Like

  12. dwightgreen

    A recent release might be enjoyable for your trip: The Gargoyle Hunters by John Freeman Gill. I hope to post some notes on it in a few days. Set around New York City in the 1970s when much of the architecture was changing, it’s a nice prompt to look up and appreciate the bridge across time that some of the buildings (and other constructions) in the city can provide.

    Like

  13. I would second the recommendation of the Helena Hanff books, especially Apple of my Eye. Yes it is a little dated, but the buildings mentioned that no longer there add to the history of NY, albeit, tragically.

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  14. I’d suggest Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo, and entirely agree with the suggestions of The Lonely City (which is beautiful) and The New York Trilogy. Both excellent reads.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. An offbeat suggestion for you – In the City by Colette Brooks is creative nonfiction that gets at the heart of what it means to live in and love a city. She doesn’t name names but she’s totally talking about New York. 🙂

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  16. Open City, The Lonely City and Academy Street (all mentioned above) are excellent choices. I would also recommend City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (though beware: it’s 900+ pages) and Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting list – I even own a few of them! 🙂

    Like

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