25 Books That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About New York

Although the middle of the country is our best hope for the future of American literature, it’s impossible to deny that New York City has inspired some of our greatest writers and books. A few of them, like the ones listed here, do an especially excellent job of summing up the experience of living in this wonderful, crazy, and always-changing city. These 25 books, no matter when they came out, explore themes that will surely resonate with those of us who make our home in the five boroughs, and provide a snapshot of life here for those who don’t.

rosemary's baby paperback

Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin

Forget what you think you know about this classic book, which got turned into an even more classic movie. Rosemary’s Baby’s message is easy for any New Yorker to understand: there is no such thing as the perfect apartment. That massive and inexpensive place you found in that old Gothic Revival building is full of Satanists who want you there because you’re carrying the Antichrist around in your belly.