Classic Brooklyn Books


To help us compile the ultimate Brooklyn summer reading list, we turned to The Desk Set, New York-area librarians, archivists and lit lovers who throw fabulous events and benefits to support literacy and libraries. (Their next gathering, Library & Literary Trivia, is at The Black Rabbit on Thursday, August 27th.) Here, from oldest to newest, are Desk Set founders Maria Falgoust and Sarah Murphy’s top five picks. We’d love your nominees, too — click through to add your favorite Brooklyn books to the list.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This one is a classic, and for an excellent reason: Tenement life in early 20th-Century Williamsburg is depicted in equal parts fondness and frankness in Smith’s semi-autobiographical novel. Check the shelves>>

Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall
We stumbled upon a review of this book (written by a former librarian) and have added it to our summer “To-Read List.” Published in 1959, but without major recognition until 1981, it chronicles the experience of a Barabadian immigrant girl, Selina, and her family during the Great Depression and World War II. Check the shelves>>

A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill
Hamill’s memoir is full of nostalgia for a Brooklyn long gone. From Prospect Park to Ebbets Field to the Navy Yard, his book brings back memories most of us never had. Check the shelves>>

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
A wordless graphic novel that powerfully tells a story of friendship and loneliness, this book is an amusing tale written for kids, but it’s also a dark and melancholy story that adults will appreciate. Check the shelves>>

The Great Man by Kate Christensen
We loved reading about present-day Greenpoint — our own neighborhood — through the eyes of Christensen’s charismatic, 70-something heroines. Check the shelves>>

Sent by Nicole.

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