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A list of quintessentially New York books.

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 09, 2008

A list of quintessentially New York books.

New York is a hypertextualized city. By 6 a.m., our commuters have smudged more words off their papers than most cities read all day. How to even begin identifying a canon? While reading, I plotted candidates along two mystical axes: one of all-around literary merit, and the other of “New Yorkitude” — the degree to which a book allows itself to obsess over the city. Robert Caro’s The Power Broker just about maxes out both axes; others perseverate so memorably on smaller aspects of city life that they had to be included.

The list includes Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York, Don DeLillo’s Great Jones Street, and Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.