Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top ten New York books

Edmund White's novels include Fanny: A Fiction, A Boy's Own Story, The Farewell Symphony, and A Married Man. He is also the author of a biography of Jean Genet, a study of Marcel Proust, The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris, and, most recently, his memoir, My Lives.

His latest novel is Hotel de Dream.

For the Guardian, White named his top ten New York books.

One title on the list:
A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin

Another great document of New York, about growing up poor and Jewish in the Brooklyn of the 1930s. "The Kitchen" chapter is an affectionate look at the whole family's life getting lived in the largest room of the apartment. His mother, a dressmaker, worked in it all day long with her sewing machine and her customers sitting around in their robes. The family ate all their meals there. "I did my homework and first writing at the kitchen table, and in winter I often had a bed made up for me on three kitchen chairs near the stove..." On Friday evening, of course, no one could work at all or even cook but friends and neighbours came in to partake of the already prepared meals.
Read about the other books on White's list.

The Page 99 Test: Edmund White's Hotel de Dream.

Also see: The Great New York City Novel; Frances Kiernan's five best books about New York society; Russell Shorto's five best books on the history of New York City; and Joanna Smith Rakoff's five favorite books of New York stories.

--Marshal Zeringue