My book club read for this month is Lucia Berlin's " A Manual for Cleaning Women".
It's a collection of short stories & reading it earlier today, I was reminded of another book I'd once read, one set in NYC.
Browsing my bookshelves, I can see sitting on them various genres that I am clearly drawn to & NYC is definitely amongst them....in my world, NYC & books featuring it is indeed a genre ;)
It's no secret that I love New York City, it has a special place in my heart....and so I got to thinking about my favourite reads connected with this amazing, crazy, wonderful, vibrant city.
I wanted to choose just five but that very quickly became ten ;)
In no particular order....
1. "Rules of Civility", Amor Towles
This a gorgeously glamorous & witty read set in 1930s New York City, I don't know anyone who didn't love this novel & fall in love with its main character Katey Kontent, it was my book of the summer a couple of years ago.
"Impossibly glamorous . . . Towles conjures up vintage New York so marvellously that it made me feel nostalgic for a place I've never been to...." The Times
2. "The History of Love", Nicole Krauss
I read this a couple of months ago & loved it - it's one of those books that makes you want to start re-reading it the minute you finish it. It's beautifully written & gave me a new perspective on war & loss & love....I cried when it ended & that doesn't happen very often to me.
3. "Brooklyn" , Colm Toibin
This is one of those books where not only is it a great story but it is also so well written. The language is gorgeous, the main character Eilis is so vividly drawn & is someone to whom it is very easy to connect & believe in - it's also a wonderful description of a particular era.
The movie has just come out here & I hear it's great, can't wait to see it this week,
4. "Goodbye To All That:Writers on Loving & Leaving New York", Sari Botton
Named after Joan Didion's essay Goodbye To All That, this book features essays & stories by 28 writers sharing their own personal experiences of NYC. If you love NYC, this is a great read & will make you wish you had your own living/loving/leaving the city story.
5. "New York Diaries", Teresa Carpenter
A brilliant & fascinating idea for a book, the diaries start on January 1 and continue day by day through the year - each day featuring a story & diary entry drawn from 1609-2009.
The author scoured private libraries, historical societies & private estates & the stories are from private individuals, politicians & famous people....a wide range of society which gives a unique & incredible slice of life & history of NYC, it's a fascinating read.
6. "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" , Betty Smith
This is a wonderful read about life in Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century, it's moving, beautifully written & is simply a really great story with a fabulous main character, Francie Nolan.
The New York Public Library called it one of the books of the century.
My mother bought it for me, I loved it & now my daughter is reading it.
7. "A Fairytale of New York", JP Donleavy
Definitely one of those books where you feel as though you are in the presence of someone who loves language & writes simply because they must do so.
The main character is so well drawn that you feel you know him or have met him before.
8. "Here Is New York", E.B.White
Described by the New York Times as one of the ten best books ever written about the city, this book is a love letter to the city & is funny, charming & beautiful.
The author wrote this 7500 word essay at the request of his stepson who was a book editor & in it tells of his experiences in the city in 1948 - so much has changed in NYC since then & yet certain aspects, the excitement & the glamour have never left.
I have quite a few "New York" cookbooks but these are two of my favourites....
I'll never forget my first visit to Dean and Deluca & this is a great book with recipes from around the world.
"The New York Cookbook" by New York Times food writer Molly O'Neill is full of recipes from around the five boroughs & also has some stories about the history behind some of New York's favourite dishes.