Reading Around the World: New York

Reading Around the World is a new feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

New York (9)

New York is the first city I travelled to with my sister, way back in 2012. I spent the half a year before we went planning the perfect holiday, and as such New York is always going to be a favourite city of mine. The city that never sleeps walking around Times Square at midnight was just as crowded and hectic as it was walking around in the middle of the day. The five days we were in New York was filled with all the typical tourist sites; the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Central Park, and of course plenty of shopping.

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The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is not set in modern day New York as much it’s set in a hidden world alongside New York. The world Clare has created is one where vampires hide out in abandoned hotels and fae walk around Central Park. It’s a world full of warlocks, werewolves and demons, and of course Shadowhunters ready to protect humanity from any danger.

The Mortal Instruments Series

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan is also set in a world hidden underneath modern day New York but instead of Shadowhunters operating from the New York Institute it’s demigods training at Camp Half-Blood. The Greek Gods have moved to the epicentre of human civilisation, and as a result Mount Olympus now rests on top of the Empire State Building.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series

Also set in New York are J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician. This time however both books are set in the past. Either travel back to the 1920’s as Newt struggles to find all the creatures who escaped his case before they can wreak too much havoc on New York, or to 1902 as Esta inserts herself in a dangerous heist for the Ars Arcana.

Books Set in New York


Have you ever been to New York before; what was your favourite part of the city to see and explore? Also what are some of the amazing books you’ve read set in New York, or America, that you’d recommend?

Let me know in the comments.

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82 thoughts on “Reading Around the World: New York

  1. Ever since i saw for the first time Home alone 2-Lost in New York, i wish to visit that city.I hope i am going to stay at Plaza Hotel,to go to the Nicks game and see many other amazing things that New York has.I think New York is the one of the most interesting cities on the planet.If you die and before your death you haven’t see New York, you have died for nothing.Greetings from Serbia :).

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    1. Oh Home Alone 2 is a great film. I think for me it was one of the reasons I wanted to go to New York, and once I’d been watching it again I was able to see some of the places I’d seen in real life which was fun. I hope you make it to New York soon then, and that you get to do all the things you want to out there as well. I definitely agree it has to be one of the most interesting cities out there! 😀

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  2. New York is a dream!!! I wish I can go there one day! But your photos are great! Sticking to reading in such an alive and chaotic city would definitely be hard for me but congrats to you haha ! ❤

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    1. I hope you enjoy your days in New York. 🙂
      Top three places. Definitely the Empire State Building, the views of New York from the top cannot be missed. Also if you can get one of the express tickets to skip all the queues, it will save you so much time. Also Central Park, but be aware it will take you longer to walk through than you likely think.
      Also Times Square, Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty are all worth seeing.
      Can’t really recommend many food places. I was there so long ago I can’t really remember where we ate, but something I learnt from all my holidays is go where the locals go. Those places are normally the best for authentic food and they won’t charge you through the nose either. 🙂

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  3. Oh, I love this feature of yours Beth!! It’s lovely and giving me craaaazy wanderlust right now haha. I’ve been to New York a few times, but never really got the chance to visit all the places I wanted to see ahah. These photos are so beautiful! And I love your picks for the books as well, I’ve only yet to read The Last Magician, but I can’t wait! ❤

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    1. Thanks so much Analee, honestly looking through all my old holiday pictures and planning the next few months posts out is giving me crazy wanderlust as well. 🙂 I really want to go back to New York one day because I don’t think I managed to make it to all the places I want to go to.
      The Last Magician is a great read, so I hope you really enjoy it! 😀 ❤

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  4. I love this blog post series so much, Beth! Also, it’s quite funny that New York was the first city you travelled to with your sister. It was the same for us, it was our first trip just the two of us, and a dream come true for sure. Your pictures are stunning, you make me want to go back ahah 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Marie, there’s still plenty left to come from this feature. Oh that is funny, but I guess New York is more of a place you’d go with friends than with family when you have young children you know?
      Thanks so much, yeah writing this post made me want to go back as well. 🙂

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  5. Apart from Fantastic Beasts, I didn’t know all those books were set in New York. 😮 That definitely sounds really cool. I too loved New York, although I don’t think I’d ever be able to live there. The traffic, amount of people and the things that go on there is sometimes just too much. However, it’s such an amazing place to visit!! I’d always be down to head on over there. 😀

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    1. Oh yeah, and there are definitely more than the books I featured set in New York, I focused on the ones I’d read and the ones I really enjoyed as well. Yeah, New York was a great city to visit but one I can’t imagine staying in for too long, it would get too busy for me. I’d love to go back to New York one day, and one day I probably will! 😀

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  6. Fantastic Beasts is such a perfect fit for NYC! Wonderful list! I also love this idea for a series, some books just feel completely perfect for a certain setting! Looking forward to reading all of your travel posts 🙂

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    1. I only really remembered Fantastic Beasts at the last minute but I’m glad I did because you’re right it’s a perfect fit for NYC. 🙂
      Thanks so much Amber, I hope you continue to enjoy this series yet. I still have plenty of places left to feature. 😀

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  7. eeeeK! I’m so happy to see you kick off your new feature & soooo excited to see all your travels & books. I love books that have descriptive writing of time & place, the setting in The Last Magician felt like a gift from the Book Gods haha! I live in NYC, and have my days when I love it & others when I wish for a much calmer and slower paced life. Overall though, love my city! and TMI not only takes place in NYC but in Williamsburg Brooklyn where I was born & raised <3! agai, loving your new feature & I do hope you re-visit NYC, I'd love to go book shopping with you 🙂

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    1. There’s plenty more to come, at one point though I will run out of holiday photos so I’ll have to work out what I want to do then. 😀
      The Last Magician had an incredible setting, and so did TMI as well. Wow that must have been great reading a book set where you were born and raised.
      I feel the same about Southend/London some days, but when it comes down to it I can’t imagine living anywhere else. 🙂 ❤

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      1. Lol, MORE TRAVEL! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 in putting on my traveling pants for 2018, as a matter of fact I was just talking with my hubby about a trip to New Orleans for Marco Gras next year 🤗 starting off small lol. I’d love to go visit London one day, going to have to make it happen 😆

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      2. Oh wow that would be amazing. I would love to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras one day, just need to find someone I can go with because at the moment none of my friends are interested.
        I hope you make it to London one day, I’m sure you’d really love it over here Lilly! 😀 ❤

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  8. I’ve been to NYC twice, and LOVED it! I love books that are set in cities I’ve visited, especially catching the feeling of the city. I just finished reading Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, and I loved how it incorporated parts of NYC.

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    1. Oh it’s such a beautiful city isn’t it? I always love books set in cities I’ve been to myself. Reading the authors’ descriptions of the places makes me feel like I’m back there in a small way.
      Percy Jackson is one of my favourite series, I’m just a massive fan of Rick Riordan’s writing in general. 🙂

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  9. Oh, I went to New York last summer and it was AMAZING! I went there with some people from my dance team so we took some classes, but then my family extended the trip so I saw some of the places you took pics of, haha!

    PERCY JACKSON OMG I LOVE THAT SERIES SO MUCH. The setting of New York was really awesome! And I started TMI but never finished it. I’m hoping to come back to it, tho! Great post! 💕

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    1. Well I hope you had a brilliant time in New York then May, although it certainly sounds like you did! 😀 It must have been nice to have the trip extended, and get a chance to see some of the tourist-y sites as well. I’d have loved it if mine and my sister’s trip to New York could have been extended! 😀
      Same here, even though it’s not all set in New York it was close enough for this feature. 🙂 Hopefully you’ll manage to finish TMI one day then. There are a lot of books but from what I’ve read and heard everyone loves all the books.
      Thanks so much May! 😀 ❤

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  10. Your pictures are gorgeous! I love NYC! My first time visiting was last summer. It took my obsession with Hamilton to finally get me to face my fear of going there alone. Now I go every chance I get and have made some wonderful friends there. Times Square is the best as far as having access to everything right at my fingertips, but I love walking through Central Park (it’s so beautiful!).

    TMI is one of my favorite series set in NYC. It’s actually the only one that comes to mind right now. lol

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    1. Thanks so much Elle. 🙂 I love NYC as well, and god I’d love to go there again one day. That’s amazing that you travelled there on your own, and that Hamilton was what helped you do that. If I lived closer to New York I’d go every chance I got too, Central Park is definitely gorgeous, so is Times Square but in a different and busier way. 🙂
      I think there must be a fair few series set in New York, but it’s always the really popular ones like TMI series that stick out in everyone’s minds. 😀

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  11. I used to visit NYC all the time when I lived in PA!! My grandma and my aunt and uncle live there (Brooklyn and Manhattan respectively) so I have so many great memories of going there as a kid!!
    Also, I love the PJ books! Definitely my favorite series set in New York!! (Or featuring it I guess, considering how little they are actually in the city!)
    I do really want to read the Last Magician though!!!

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    1. Oh having family in New York must have been brilliant, you’d never need a place to stay when in the city, you could just crash with family right? Also it sounds like you got to take a fair few memorable trips over there! 😀
      Ha, yeah they move around a lot in the Percy Jackson books, but I figured Camp Half-Blood is based in New York, and so is Mount Olympus, so it applies for this post! 😀
      I’d definitely recommend The Last Magician, it’s an amazing book. 🙂

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    1. There does seem to be a lot of drama at the moment doesn’t there. Still visiting New York was an amazing experience and one day I’d love to go there again.
      Oh yes there are plenty of books set in America, you’re never going to be short on options if that’s what you’re looking for are you? 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Kristin. 🙂 Oh New York in Christmas time would be amazing. I really want to go back one day so maybe I should look at going during the winter.
      I have read The Great Gatsby, not sure why I didn’t think of it for this post to be honest! 😀

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  12. Love this concept! It is always so much fun to read something which is set in your location. When travelling to NY we will certainly have a look here 😉 you don’t happen to have any reading suggestions for New Zealand perhaps…? 😄 going over there in a few weeks

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    1. Thanks so much, and yeah after visiting certain cities I always love reading books set there because in a way it’s like reliving my holidays. 🙂
      No I don’t sorry, but when it comes to books I do feature in these posts Goodreads lists come in handy. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some books set in New Zealand on there, and I hope you have a great time as well. 🙂 ❤

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  13. Wow! Those are some amazing pictures of New York! ❤
    The Mortal Instruments series is the first one that came to my mind when I saw you doing your feature on this town. The edition that I have of City of Ashes has a map of New York in it (or rather around the places that the story takes place in), which I find to be very helpful as I have never been to that city and have no idea where anything is.
    I always forget that the Percy Jackson series takes place in New York, mostly because they always end up traveling a lot and don't spend that much time in the actual city! 😀 (With the exception to a few moments here and there.)
    A book that I just remembered that takes place in New York is The Diviners by Libba Bray! It's set during the 20s, so it's got quiet a different feeling than the other books.
    Great post Beth! ❤ 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Anna. 🙂 ❤
      Yeah I couldn't not feature The Mortal Instruments when it comes to New York, I featured The Infernal Devices in my London post for this feature so I'll likely end up featuring all Clare's series when I get to the respective cities they're set in. 🙂 Oh I'm not sure if my version has the map or not, honestly I tend to skip past that kind of thing in all books.
      Yeah they do move around a bit in the Percy Jackson books, but it's one of my favourite series and as Camp Half-Blood is based in New York I figured it applied.
      Oh I haven't read that one but I do have it on my to-read list. Definitely need to get around to it soon.
      Thanks so much Anna! 😀 ❤

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  14. I grew up in Brooklyn and live just a short train ride to NYC, so I love books set in the city. David Levithan does so a wonderful job with NYC in Dash and Lily, and really makes it a character in his story.

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    1. Oh wow that sounds incredible, I love the city but I don’t think I’d be able to live in New York myself, it was a little too hectic for me. 🙂
      I’ll have to check that book out then, coming from someone who lives near New York I guess that must be some impressive world building! 😀

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  15. I love New York! I am a big fan of Soho and I love Hell’s Kitchen! And Broadway is awesome too! I’ve read a few books see in New York! The first is The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis and the second is We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley! I know that I have read others but those two are the ones that come to mind.

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    1. Same, I really want to go back one day and see everything I missed the first time around. Me and my sister spent some time in Soho but I don’t think we went to Hell’s Kitchen.
      Oh I don’t think I’ve heard of those books, but if they were the first that came to mind for books set in new York they must have been ones you enjoyed right? 🙂

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