The best books on Mumbai, recommended by Saumya Roy

It’s one of the most densely populated, vibrant cities in the world, combining enormous wealth with dire poverty. It’s India’s financial and commercial capital, home to the glamour of Bollywood and the movie industry, but it has somehow managed to defy modernization. Saumya Roy, journalist, author and co-founder of a nonprofit that made loans to the city’s poorest entrepreneurs, recommends her favourite books on Mumbai (aka Bombay).

The best books on Jewish Vienna, recommended by Brigid Grauman

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Vienna had a vibrant intellectual and cultural life, embraced and at times led by key figures in its large Jewish community. All that would disappear with the rise of anti-Semitism and the Anschluss. Many Jews fled or committed suicide. Others were deported to concentration camps. After the war some went back, but Vienna would never be the same. Here Brigid Grauman, whose father’s family were assimilated Jews from Vienna, recommends books that evoke that poignant, tragic period that ended with World War II.

The best books on Future Cities, recommended by Davina Jackson

We are a city-dwelling species. Our urban existence creates both opportunities and challenges, as the recent pandemic has illustrated. One thing seems clear, however. Understanding the way we interact with our built environment is becoming an increasingly data-driven enterprise, as Davina Jackson argues compellingly in her book, Data Cities. Here, she shares the five books that best explain the technology behind the urban planning of the future.

The best books on Paris, recommended by David Downie

The city of romance and art is also, like most big cities, a place of grit and grime. The American writer and long-time Paris resident David Downie tells us where to look if we’re to understand the people and past of this most alluring city.

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.

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.