5 Must-Read Books By New York Authors

June 25, 2012 6:00 AM

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New York is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. With its tremendous diversity, is has many wonderful stories to tell. A lot of those stories center around the city. Here are five books, written by New Yorkers, about New York. They run the gamut from the history of the city to its culture to fiction that highlights everything that makes New York so wonderful to its residents, and so memorable for those who visit here.
atreegrowsinbrooklyn 5 Must Read Books By New York Authors

(credit: HarperCollins)

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith

Buy it at:
Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers
218 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 387-7322

Betty Smith‘s classic tale of a poor family struggling against all odds is just as relevant today as it was in 1943. In the tale, she draws upon her life growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A tree, struggling to survive in the urban environment, serves as a metaphor for the family’s struggles. Long considered a classic, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” gives the reader a sense of what life was like for many of New York City’s residents at the turn of the 20th Century.

iasimov 5 Must Read Books By New York Authors

(credit: Random House/Bantam)

“I, Asimov” by Isaac Asimov

Buy it at:
Greenlight Bookstore
686 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 246-0200

Out of all of the 500 or so books written by Asimov, his autobiography, edited and compiled from different sources by his daughter, Janet Jeppson Asimov, is the best place to start. The famous author of “I, Robot,” “Foundation” and others is well remembered not only for his contributions to science and science fiction, but also for his “Guide to Shakespeare,” “Guide to the Bible” and countless other scholarly works. There are precious few people on Earth, let alone New Yorkers, who have achieved as much as he had in his remarkable lifetime.

stuartlittle 5 Must Read Books By New York Authors

(credit: HarperCollins)

“Stuart Little” by E.B. White

Buy it at:
The Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 473-1452

Born in Mount Vernon, New York, E. B. White is known for several children’s books, including “Charlotte’s Web.” He also published essays in Harper’s Magazine. The classic children’s tale, “Stuart Little,” tells the story of an anthropomorphic mouse that is adopted by human parents in New York City. A 1999 movie was made based on the book, as well as a sequel in 2002.

Related: New York’s 5 Best Independent Book Shops

theperfectyankee 5 Must Read Books By New York Authors

(credit: Sports Publishing)

“The Perfect Yankee” by Don Larsen

Buy it at:
Barnes & Noble
290 Baychester Ave
Bronx, NY 10475
(718) 862-3945

In Game 5 of the 1956 Subway World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, otherwise mediocre Yankee pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game. While he did not go on to have an illustrious career, the game is considered by baseball experts to be a true miracle. Compounding the astronomically unlikely feat is the fact that Larsen had predicted the night before the game that he would pitch a no-hitter. Truly a legendary game, if not an otherwise legendary player, this story, written by the perfect Yankee himself, is one of the greatest true tales ever told.

tunnelingtothefuture 5 Must Read Books By New York Authors

(credit: NYU Press)

“Tunneling to the Future” by Peter Derrick

Buy it at:
Barnes & Noble
290 Baychester Ave
Bronx, NY 10475
(718) 862-3945

Derrick‘s book takes the reader through the political and social turmoil of early 20th Century New York City as the city sought to expand its subway system. Population congestion in lower Manhattan brought social problems such as rampant tuberculosis and high infant mortality rate. The subway expansion was intended to relieve these problems by encouraging people to move further uptown and into the outer boroughs. “Tunneling to the Future” is a tale of city planning gone right – an ambitious project that turned out to be the city’s salvation. Peter Derrick is a transit historian who studied at NYU.

Related: Best Comic Book Shops In New York City

What are your favorite books by New York authors? Share them in the comments section below.

Nick Gauthier is a freelance writer and lives in the Bronx. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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