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Big Apple Books

Craving a NYC moment? Here are 8 classic books to transport you there.

Kafka Was the Rage by Anatole Broyard

What Hemingway's A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s, this charming yet undeceivable memoir does for Greenwich Village in the late 1940s. In 1946, Anatole Broyard was a dapper, earnest, fledgling avant-gardist, intoxicated by books, sex, and the neighborhood that offered both in such abundance. Stylish written, mercurially witty, imbued with insights that are both affectionate and astringent, this memoir offers an indelible portrait of a lost bohemia.

Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

Enter a world where the sometimes shocking and often hilarious mating habits of the privileged are exposed by a true insider. In essays drawn from her witty and sometimes brutally candid column in the New York Observer, Candace Bushnell introduces us to the young and beautiful who travel in packs from parties to bars to clubs.

Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes

Vogue writer Plum Sykes gives readers an entertaining insight into the glam world of Park Avenue Princesses, who careen through Manhattan in search of the perfect Fake Bake (tan acquired from Portofino Tanning Salon), a ride on a PJ (private jet) with the ATM (rich boyfriend), and the ever-elusive fiancé. Light and fabulous.
 

Old New York by Edith Wharton

A collection of four novellas that portray a quiet, almost provincial world of the upper middle-class before New York became a world capital.  The most heartbreaking of these tales is "The Old Maid", about a woman who disguises the illegitimate birth of her daughter by allowing her sister to adopt the child. The little girl grows up worshipping her adopted mother and dismissing her real mother as nothing but a cranky spinster. 

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart- wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtleneck and tight leather pants that show of their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared whimpering child.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Set mostly in New York City - during the 1920s and 1930s this is the story of innovative architect Howard Roark and his effort to achieve success on his own terms. Sexy, romantic, ambitious and thought provoking.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

A light read but great insight into the Chelsea Art district from the late 1990s to today. Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights - and, at times, the dark lows - of the art world.
 

Collected Stories by John Cheever

As much fairytale as sociology, this collection of stories was compiled by the Library of America and originally written for the New Yorker.  Read tales about well-heeled WASPs living on the Upper East Side or in exurbia, Martini-drinking executives and their bored, brittle wives. A good cover-to-cover weekend read.

 

Here is New York by EB White

A little book written one sweltering summer from the author's room in the Algonquin Hotel.  White no longer lived in New York but he was invited to write something about the city.  He barely emerged from his hotel but his memories and observations of New York came flooding back in cautious, immaculate prose.