“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for actions, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” – Nora Ephron
I love New York. There’s just something about the city that captured my heart which is why I keep returning to the city. Like London, there is so much to do and see there and the city is just beautiful.
If like me you love New York and want to transport yourself there from your living room then here are 40 amazing books set in New York. No matter if you like romance, comedy, thrillers or nonfiction, there’s a book for you in this list!
- 1 40 Incredible Books Set in New York
- 1.1 Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- 1.2 Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver
- 1.3 Sex and The City
- 1.4 Motherless Brooklyn
- 1.5 Punk Avenue
- 1.6 Christmas in New York
- 1.7 Money: A Suicide Note
- 1.8 Dark Deception
- 1.9 Just Keep Breathing: Tales of Love and Loss in New York City
- 1.10 The Godfather
- 1.11 I Heart New York
- 1.12 Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
- 1.13 City on Fire
- 1.14 My New York Life
- 1.15 Sweetbitter
- 1.16 I Never Knew That About New York
- 1.17 Lucky Us
- 1.18 Murder Games: The New York Murders
- 1.19 City of Bones
- 1.20 Humans of New York
- 1.21 City of Girls
- 1.22 Sleepless in Manhattan
- 1.23 American Psycho
- 1.24 One New York Christmas
- 1.25 Food and the City
- 1.26 Magic Thief
- 1.27 The Encyclopedia of New York
- 1.28 The Assistants
- 1.29 The Bell Jar
- 1.30 The Witches of New York
- 1.31 Arrogant
- 1.32 New York Burning
- 1.33 Little Deaths
- 1.34 Snow White in New York
- 1.35 The Wife Between Us
- 1.36 The Hidden Horses of New York
- 1.37 Are You Sleeping
- 1.38 Queen of the Babble in the Big City
- 1.39 The Midas Cat 3: A Midas Cat in New York
- 1.40 City of Dreams
- 2 Travel Books
40 Incredible Books Set in New York
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
By Truman Capote
Made popular by the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a much loved book by many. Set in New York in the 1940s, Holly Golightly lives in an apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A country girl turned city socialite, Holly socialises with wealthy men who take her to expensive restaurants and buy her expensive presents. Throughout the book the narrator slowly learns more about Holly, whose life he is completely fascinated by.
Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver
By Eugene Salomon
Have you always thought that a New York taxi driver would have the best stories? Now you can find out! Eugene Salomon has been driving a cab for over 30 years and shares the best, most remarkable stories from over the years. He’s had a variety of people in his cab from hookers to young lovers to tourists from all over the world. Even celebrities like Leonardo di Caprio, Robin Williams and even Kevin Bacon.
Sex and The City
By Candace Bushnell
Did you know the much loved TV show and movies were based on a book? It’s a good book for Sex and The City fans to see where their favourite characters came from. While not exactly the same as the TV show, the book still has plenty of cocktails, Manolo Blahniks and stories of single life in New York City.
By Jonathan Lethem
Lionel Essrog is an orphan with tourettes that causes him to bark and rip apart the language in original ways. He feels like Brooklyn’s self-appointed freakshow. Along with three others from St Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for mobster Frank Minna. But when Frank is fatally stabbed his widow skips town. Can Lionel untangle the threads of this case?
By Phil Marcade
Punk Avenue: The New York City Underground 1972-1982 takes an intimate look at the Paris-born authors’ first ten years living in the United States. Drifting between Boston to the West Coast before ending up in New York City. It’s here he becomes immersed in the early punk rock scene and Punk Avenue shares stories from someone living in the heart of the punk era. The stories are brilliant and hilarious where you’ll hear first hand stories of smoking a joint with Bob Marley, getting mugged at knife point, opening for The Clash at Bond’s Casino and so much more!
Christmas in New York
By Melissa Hill
If you’re looking for a heartwarming Christmas novel then you’ll want to read Christmas in New York! Penny decides it will be nice to visit her best friend Kate in New York for Christmas but her carefree visit doesn’t work out with a surprise appearance from Mike, the last man she expected to see. However, he wants to show Penny the best snowy Manhattan has to offer, resolving to make it a Christmas to remember. Will Penny be able to resist Mike’s charm this time?
Money: A Suicide Note
By Martin Amis
John spends his life bouncing between London and New York closing movie deals. All the while binging on alcohol, tobacco, pills, pornography and junk food. But as it turns out, John’s excessive lifestyle hasn’t gone unnoticed. A phone stalker is about to change everything.
By Sarah Piper
Dark Deception is the first in the Vampire Royals of New York series, a dark paranormal romance series. Charlotte D’Amico can crack any safe or any penthouse and there’s no rich guy she can’t deceive. Her boss orders her to spy on a reclusive billionaire, which does not worry Charley, but Dorian Redthorne is no ordinary billionaire. He’s charming and funny and his British accent is proving irresistible. As the vampire king, Dorian has to protect his family and keep New York’s supernatural in line. Charlotte is a distraction he does not need.
Just Keep Breathing: Tales of Love and Loss in New York City
By David J. Connor
An incredible series of interconnected short stories that together give the reader a colourful portrait of New York City and its diverse inhabitants. There’s a pregnant teen leaving a small town behind, a son contacted by his estranged father, a daughter learning about her deceased parents through their love letters. These stories about love and pain, birth and death will resonate with readers on a personal level.
By Mario Puzo
This is the classic book that inspired what is arguably the greatest crime film of all time. Don Vito Corleone is the head of the Sicilian Mafia family based in New York City. As he reaches the end of his long life of crime it’s up to his sons to step up and manage the family business. With both the police and rival crime lords after blood, the Corleone family must find a new ruthless don if they are to survive.
I Heart New York
By Linsey Kelk
The first in the I Heart series, Angela Clarke flees from her cheating boyfriend. With little more than her crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport she jumps on a plane and heads to New York. With a sexy New York makeover she soon finds herself dating two guys. All the while writing about her romantic dilemmas in her new blog.
Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
By Helen J Rolfe
When Darcy returns to Manhattan she is put in charge of a cosy boutique hotel in Greenwich village. But the Inglenook Inn is in desperate need of bookings if it is to survive the competition. Darcy comes up with a plan to host Christmas that year to help save the Inn but she is met with Dyles, a face from the past and it isn’t long until they clash. Can Darcy and Myles put their differences aside to make Christmas at the Inglenook Inn a success?
City on Fire
By Garth Risk Hallberg
It’s midnight, New Years Eve, 1976 and nine lives are about to be changed forever. Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney are heirs to one of New York’s greatest fortunes. Keith and Mercer are two men who love them and Charlie and Samantha are two suburban teenagers interested in the punk scene. Plus an obsessive magazine reporter and his neighbour. It’s one detective’s job to figure out what they have to do with a shooting that took place in Central Park.
My New York Life
By Jessica Naioti
The incredible story of how a troubled teen breaks her neck in a car crash and learns to overcome anything. This honest and open book is probably best left to mature readers. After Jessica Naioti broke her neck in a car crash at 18 she had to learn to walk and talk again. This incredible story covers topics of drug addictions, sexual assault and surviving trauma.
By Stephanie Danler
Sweetbitter is the novel that inspired the TV show of the same name. At 22 years old, Tess moves to New York and lands a job at a renowned restaurant on Union Square. While trying to navigate the chaotic and punishing life as a waiter, Tess becomes helplessly drawn into a dark, alluring love triangle.
I Never Knew That About New York
By Christopher Winn
Digging beneath the gleaming towers and mean streets, Christopher Winn discovers the hidden treasures of this busy city. New York is a fast moving, ever changing metropolis where history is made on a daily basis. In I Never Knew That About New York you can learn about the extraordinary people who built one of the world’s greatest cities.
By Joan Silber
Elisa and Gabe, two single people living in New York City, were mismatched but fell in love and with some hesitation, later married. Gabe’s past included a successful drug dealing business, something that never bothered Elisa. And he was never bothered by her more current past of casual sex. Perhaps the one thing they did have in common was the burden of their pasts suddenly entering their future.
Murder Games: The New York Murders
By Jon Mills
Dada Ben Forrester, renowned FBI profiler, thought his days of hunting the worst of society. However, a taunting video found at a crime scene soon draws him back to New York. A serial killer is committing gruesome murders every 24 hours and leaving baffling clues to his next victim and it’s up to Ben and Detective Dakota Woods to solve the case.
City of Bones
By Cassandra Clare
This bestselling series inspired the film City of Bones and also Shadowhunters, a TV series on Netflix. Clary is irresistibly drawn towards a group of demon hunters and encounters the dark side of New York City and the dangers of a forbidden love.
Humans of New York
By Brandon Stanton
Photographer Brandon Stanton set himself an ambitious project which began in the summer of 2010. He wanted to single handedly create a photographic census of New York City. Brandon set off across the city with his camera covering thousands of miles on foot to create this astonishing collection of photographs.
City of Girls
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Set in New York in the 1940s, City of Girls is a celebration of glamour and the joys of female friendship. Vivian and Cella are chasing trouble across the city and the risk and danger is what makes it fun for them. While sometimes it may feel like the world is ending, for Vivian and Cella life is just beginning.
Sleepless in Manhattan
By Sarah Morgan
With an amazing apartment, great friends and an incredible job, Paige seems to have the perfect New York life. That is until she loses her job. Now with the help of her brother’s best friend Jake, Paige tries to put her life back together. While Jake may have been the boy she pined over her teen years, she’s determined not to repeat her past mistakes. But could the thing missing from her perfect life actually be the perfect New York love story…
By Bret Easton Ellis
The popular film starring Christian Bale is an adaptation of the cult classic American Psycho. Patrick Bateman is a handsome, sophisticated and intelligent 26 year old working on Wall Street. While everyone around him is seduced by his charm, Patrick has a big secret he’s been hiding.
One New York Christmas
By Mandy Baggot
One New York Christmas is a great heartwarming Christmas story. Lara Weeks and her best friend Susie head to New York for the Christmas trip of a lifetime. Shopping and sightseeing in the Big Apple seems like the perfect way for Lara to get over her ex-boyfriend. Or perhaps with the help of gorgeous actor Seth Hunt she can make him jealous enough to beg for her back.
Food and the City
By Ina Yalof
A great book for food lovers, Food and the City takes readers on an insider’s journey into New York’s pulsating food scene as well as the men and women who call it home. Eddie Schoenfield describes his journey from a nice Jewish boy to New York’s indisputable Chinese food maven. Dominique Ansel reveals the good fortune that led to him making the first cronut. Plus many more amazing New York foodie stories.
By D.N. Hoxa
Magic Thief is the first book in the New York Shade series, a place where supernaturals are free to be who they are. All except Sin Montero, a hellbeast mercenary lying about what he is. Damian Reed claims his baby brother is in trouble and if Sin doesn’t help him, Damian will turn him in to the authorities. If caught they will kill him without hesitation but to do what Damian is asking could result in death…
The Encyclopedia of New York
By Kenneth T Jackson
This award winning book is perfect if you’re looking for a range of information on the five boroughs of New York. This is the second volume which includes 800 new entries to give the complete story of New York. Spanning architecture, politics, sports, the arts and so much more to cover the diversity of the city.
By Camille Perri
If a mistake happened that meant you could pay off your student loans would you say something or keep quiet? Tina Fontana is the busy executive assistant to CEO Richard Barlow and excellent at her job but she is tired of being overworked and underpaid. A blip in the expenses system means a cheque has been sent to Tina. The amount is small to the company but could change Tina’s life. Is it stealing if it’s an administrative error?
The Bell Jar
By Slyvia Plath
It’s 1953 and Esther Greenwood is elated when she wins an internship at a New York fashion magazine. Surely this is supposed to be the time of her life? But between the piles of manuscripts and cocktail parties her life begins to slide out of control. Before she knows it Esther is spiralling into a serious depressive state while living in a society that refuses to take her aspirations seriously.
The Witches of New York
By Ami McKay
It’s 1880 and witches Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St Clair have opened a little tea shop in busy Manhattan that specialises in cures and potions. When they are joined by apprentice witch Beatrice, she soon proves to be indispensable. But Beatrice can see and hear things no one else can. Is it magic or is she losing her mind? When Beatrice disappears the witch’s wonder if it is by choice or force? Afterall, this is a time when women can be confined and committed for merely speaking their minds.
By Drea Blackery
If you’re looking for a good blackmail story you’ll want to read Arrogant, although it’s worth pointing out there are explicit intimate scenes. Ryland Watt and his three friends are wealthy, arrogant and ruled the school, the town and destroyed a family out of greed. Now it looks like the past is coming back to haunt them. Allie Beckett stayed away from Ryland at school but now he’s turned up in New York 10 years later but when they clash something explosive happens.
New York Burning
By Jill Lepore
In New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth Century Manhattan, historian Jill Lepore recounts the dramatic events of 1741 when ten fires blazed across Manhattan. With each fire, panicked whites suspecting it was more evidence of slave uprising. In the end thirteen black men were burned and the stake, seventeen were hanged and more than one hundred black men and women were thrown into a dungeon beneath City Hall.
By Emma Flint
It’s summertime in 1965 and Queens has been hit with a heatwave. Ruth Malone wakes up one July morning to find her bedroom window is wide open and her two young children are missing. With Ruth’s provocative clothing, empty liquor bottles and love letters littered around her apartment, plus neighbourhood gossip and speculation, the police can’t help but leap to convenient conclusions. But is Ruth really capable of murder?
Snow White in New York
By Fiona French
A spin on the classic Snow White tale, this version is set in New York in the 1920s. The wicked stepmother uses her influence in the city’s underworld to contract the killing of Snow White. But when the contract killer can’t shoot Snow White he instead abandons her to wander the streets of New York. When she stumbles into a club the seven jazz men take pity on her and she joins their band. Her singing gets attention and with the fame they reach the headlines, causing the wicked stepmother to find Snow White and poison her with a cocktail cherry.
The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
This gripping thriller is a collaboration between Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. A jealous wife obsessed with her replacement. Her replacement, a younger woman, is set to marry the man she still loves. You’ll make a lot of assumptions while reading this book but be prepared to be wrong. Make no assumptions about this love triangle.
The Hidden Horses of New York
By Natalie Keller Reinert
Jenny is a horsewoman, Aidan’s a photographer and Lana has a head for business. Together the three of them are going to bring the best horse racing stories to life. Best friends working together on a project they are passionate about sounds perfect. Except for the fact that Jenny is hopelessly in love with Aidan.
Are You Sleeping
By Kathleen Barber
It’s been ten years since Josie left her sleepy town to start a new life in New York. Her father was shot blank in his own home but no one, not even her fiance, knows about the tragic events that tore her family apart. Poppy, an investigative journalist, is convinced the wrong man is behind bars and she’s determined to prove it. But Poppy’s relentless pursuit exposes old secrets and Josie soon realises that her father’s murder could have consequences more devastating than she ever imagined.
Queen of the Babble in the Big City
By Meg Cabot
Lizzie is over the moon when her ‘summer fling’ Luke suggests living together and is only too happy to live with him in his mother’s Fifth Avenue pied-a-terre. But finding a job seems to be a challenge for Lizzie as her big mouth gets in trouble. And when she brings up marriage too quickly to Luke she soon finds herself jobless and homeless all over again. Will Lizzie ever find herself career security and a committed relationship?
The Midas Cat 3: A Midas Cat in New York
By Tommy Ellis
The third book in the Midas Cat series sees Ralph Williams in New York. Ralph is after some much needed festival retail therapy after being declared both sane and innocent of murder. However, a case of mistaken identity soon ruins his festive mood when he gets mistakenly put on the mafias’ hit list. And if things were not bad enough for Ralph the midas cat shows up and messes not only with his sanity but with organised crime.
City of Dreams
By Tyler Anbinder
City of Dreams is an inspiring account of New York’s famous and forgotten immigrants. Such as the young man from the Caribbean who became a founding father or Dominican immigrant Oscarde la Renta who dressed first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.
There you have it, 40 of the best books set in New York to help inspire your next trip. Which will you read first? Any books not on the list that you love? Let me know in the comments below…
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