Photo: Jonathan Blanc/NYPL
Forget the roses and chocolate, spend this Valentine’s Day enjoying a new book. As part of its 125th-anniversary celebration, the New York Public Library on Friday released an expertly-curated list of 125 books that inspire a love of reading. A team of librarians spent a year debating and choosing its 125 Books We Love list, which includes fiction and non-fiction titles published after May 23, 1895, the year the library was incorporated.
Photo: Jonathan Blanc/NYPL
“We built this list so just about anyone can find an entry point, something that sparks their interest, and can get reading,” Lynn Lobash, the associate director of reader services for NYPL, said. “We know not every title will be a fit. We know there will be discussion and debate and arguments. That’s great. Part of our role for 125 years is to get people talking about books, and all of that is part of the fun.”
The list is made up of books meant to “make people miss their train stops because they can’t put them down.” NYPL organized titles by categories to fit every taste, including around the world, biography and memoir, graphic novels, historical fiction, literary fiction, modern classics, nonfiction, poetry, romance, short stories, speculative fiction, and suspense.
Books on the list include Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and many more.
See the full list here. A printed list on a bygone check-out card can be found at all of the system’s 92 locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
The library will host programs with authors who made the list, including Neil Gaiman, Annie Proulx, Amor Towels, N.K. Jemisin, and Stacy Schiff. Other happenings include a reading of Truman Capote’s work, an Earth Day celebration with a connection to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and a tribute to the late Toni Morrison.
“The thing that gets people reading is love,” author Neil Gaiman wrote Friday in an email about the list. “The thing that makes people pick up books they might not otherwise try, is love. It’s personal recommendations, the kind that are truly meant. So here are 125 books that they love. And somewhere on this list you will find books you’ve never read, but have always meant to, or have never heard of. There are 125 chances here to change your own life, or to change someone else’s, curated by the people from one of the finest libraries in the world.”
Keep an eye out for lists for children and teenage readers later, as well as upcoming 125th-anniversary celebrations.
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