The best books on Ice Hockey, recommended by Bruce Dowbiggin

Fast, violent and with a passionately political history, hockey is the sport that defines Canada. The sports columnist tells us how this came to be, and why hockey, still a thrilling spectacle, has also become more dangerous to play. He picks the best books on ice hockey.

The Best American Stories, recommended by Simon Winchester

Modern America is a story of expanding frontiers, says bestselling author Simon Winchester. He tells us about five novels that shed light on the social history of his adopted homeland, from the late 19th century to the Great Depression.

The Best San Francisco Novels, recommended by Armistead Maupin

The author of the Tales of the City novel series, Armistead Maupin, tells us about San Francisco’s spirit of place, and the books that best capture the city’s sense of possibility and noirish feel. He recommends the best novels set in San Francisco.

Essential New York Novels, recommended by Jay McInerney

The author of Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney, tells us what changed after 9/11 and which books best capture the ambition, romance and creativity of New York. He chooses his list of  “essential New York novels”

Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers

‘The authors of these five books are people who came to New York for freedom – not so they could get rich, but so they could be free to pursue their interests and live their lives the way they wanted.’ New Yorker par excellence Fran Lebowitz recommends the writers who best capture her immutably mutable city.

The Best 9/11 Literature, recommended by Amy Waldman

Amy Waldman reported on the aftermath of 9/11 for the New York Times, but when it came to writing a book about it, she wrote a novel. The Submission was hailed as one of the best novels to come out of the tragedy, including by the Financial Times. Here, she chooses some of the best literature inspired by 9/11, including novels, a memoir and a book of poetry.  

The best books on Texas, recommended by Attica Locke

The author of the acclaimed noir novels Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season, Attica Locke, tells us about stories of freed slaves, oil barons and gangsters on the run – books that capture the outlaw spirit of her home state.

The best books on Cuba, recommended by Oscar Hijuelos

In 2011, two years before his death, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos told us about books that evoke the land of his parents, from a noirish take on contemporary Havana to the cabaret scene of pre-Castro Cuba