3.13.2012

Top Ten Novels Set in New York City



New York City is, for me, one of the best cities for the setting of a book, probably because the city itself is so alive and captivating. I know Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn well enough to be able to imagine exactly where a scene of a book is taking place, which definitely adds to the fun. For this week's top ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, I decided to list my favorite books set in the glorious city that never sleeps.

1. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer: This novel has been getting a lot of attention lately because of it's movie adaption (that I still haven't seen - I'll wait until it comes to DVD because I don't like to cry in public). But the book itself is fascinating and a true testament to the beautiful peculiarities that occupy Manhattan. (2005)
 
2. The Brooklyn Follies, Paul Auster: There is such a strong sense of place in this novel. Brooklyn has long been known for the possibility of second chances since immigrants began flocking to New York in the late 1800's. It seems that this is a timeless curiosity, as Auster implies the borough still has this special hold on it's inhabitants. (2005)

3. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss: Not only is this a beautifully written book (If you liked Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close you are sure to like this one) but the story itself is stunning both in its narrative structure and its message. (2005)

4. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton: There is something about the old New York of Edith Wharton's time that feels so romantic and exciting. (1920)

5. The Thieves of Manhattan, Adam Langer: A smart and fun mystery revolving around a literary hoax, it only makes sense that the novel takes place in the publishing capitol of the world. (2010)

6. Falling Man, Don DeLillo: A novel that follows two narratives both linked by 9/11 and the image of the falling man. (2007)

7. The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster: Paul Auster's signature work, the book is a set of three, loosely-interconnected novels that each take place in New York City: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room. (1987)

8. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath: Ester Greenwood gains an internship at New York magazine and descends into a mental breakdown; reader's aren't watching a girl's decent into insanity from the outside, but rather following her through it. (1963)

9. Let the great World Spin, Colum McCann: A novel that explores pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. (2009)

10. Washington Square, Henry James Catherine Sloper is an average girl with average looks who just inherited her mother's estate. Morris Townsend is a young man who has spent all of his fortune on travel and frivolities. As the title implies, the novel takes place in old New York, a place that "appears to many persons the most delectable." (1880)

25 comments:

  1. what a great spin on this weeks list! I've only read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, but I think it's great that you can picture many of these!

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  2. That is an awesome topic, I should have done my home town Seattle WA :)
    Next time I will

    http://kristina-worldofbooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/top-10-tuesdays-13.html

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  3. What a fun topic! I've always wanted to read The History of Love...must nudge it closer to the top of my TBR list :)

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  4. I love your list! I love the topic and some of the books and oh what's that noise? Me squeeeing a little with excitement! The New York Trilogy and The History of Love and The Bell Jar=just YES, and I have The Brooklyn Follies all ready to read so I'm excited that you recommend it :)

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    1. Oh I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Brooklyn Follies! So good.

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  5. Fun list -- The Krauss & the Foer are on my TBR list. Have you read Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson or Rules of Civility by Amor Towles? They're both NYC novels that I really want to read!

    And speaking of The Age of Innocence, there's a book coming out this summer called The Innocents (by Francesca Segal) that's a "recasting" of Wharton's novel. It sounds really interesting!

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    1. I haven't read Ten Thousands Saints yet but I do have it on my TBR wishlist. Nor have I read Rules of Civility.

      I haven't heard of The Innocents I will definitely look into that! It sounds promising.

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  6. I love the list idea! I've read 7 of the 10 and they're such great books. I haven't seen Extremely yet either, but I can't wait to watch it. I loved the book. I got to see Nicole Krauss speak last week too!

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    1. Nice that's awesome! What did she speak about?

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  7. I've read 6 on your list and I couldn't agree more. I would add The Alienist by Caleb Carr. If you haven't read it yet then I highly recommend it. It's completely riveting, a real page-turner.

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    1. Thanks! I'll definitely check that one out.

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  8. Oooh, fun list. The History of Love and Let the Great World Spin are two absolute favorites as of late... I also read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn recently (finally) and really liked it too.

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    1. Omg I still haven't read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I need to do that.

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  9. Great list! I didn't realize The Bell Jar took place there (I've had that forever but still have to read it). I will be moving that to my NY shelf! A recent book I enjoyed is The Darlings which also takes place there. And I read The History of Love so long ago I forgot that one takes place there!!

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    1. I'll look into The Darlings. Thanks!

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  10. The Catcher in the Rye takes place in NYC as well. Great list! I've wanted to read Let The Great World Spin for some time now.

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  11. I know I hate The Catcher in the Rye so I didn't want to put it on this list ;) I almost added Frannie and Zooey though.

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  12. I'm so glad you included Let the Great World Spin. It was a problematic book for me, but there was also a very strong sense of place, and I loved the glimpse of New York when it was still seedy. There are still scenes from that that stand out quite a bit for me.

    I'd also add Chabon's Kavalier & Clay. That one was another book that I didn't exactly love, but I loved the depiction of New York.

    As for Age of Innocence, YES.

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  13. Excellent list! I'd add Forever, by Pete Hamill, and Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin -- both very wonderful, expansive novels of New York. That city just has such a magical pull to it, it seems...

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  14. Waterworks EL Doctorow

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