“The New Yorker will be a reflection in word and picture of metropolitan life. It will be human. Its general tenor will be one of gaiety, wit and satire, but it will be more than a jester. It will be not what is commonly called sophisticated, in that it will assume a reasonable degree of enlightenment on the part of its readers. It will hate bunk.”
This is the way Harold Ross described The New Yorker in an investor’s prospectus in 1925. Now in its ninetieth year, the magazine has become an American cultural landmark. Known for its acute fact-checking, literary clarity, and unique narrative-driven journalism, its writers and contributors have produced some of the most significant contributions to American letters in the modern era. Here are a few of our favorite books by The New Yorker staff, past and present.
Mary Norris, a longtime copyeditor at the New Yorker, waxes romantic about proper punctuation and grammar in this humorous memoir. You don’t have to appreciate declensions and the subjunctive to get caught up in her charming prose. The Washington Post calls it “porn for word nerds.” If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
One of the magazine’s boldest cultural critics deftly weaves together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history.
Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a ninety-three-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the characters that Joseph Mitchell—known for his precise, respectful observation, graveyard humor, and offhand perfection of style—immortalized in his reportage for the magazine.
Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.
This vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation was the winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Nonfiction.
The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about rogue debt collecting than about any other activity besides identity theft. Dramatically and entertainingly, Halpern reveals why.
With these audacious and murderously witty stories, Donald Barthelme throws the preoccupations of our time into the literary equivalent of a Cuisinart and serves up a gorgeous blend of American culture, high and low. Like all of Barthelme’s work, these stories are triumphs of language and perception, at once unsettling and irresistible.
When this novel burst onto the scene in the late 1970s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It disregards the rules of the novel, but wears its unconventionality with ease.
Though it deals with devastating loss, Calvin Trillin has created a gift to the wife he adored, a woman who, in the words of a friend, “managed to navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in.”
From a long-time cartoonist for the magazine, this collection offers a hilarious mix of cartoons, visual riffs, and illustrated one-liners that will appeal to anyone who is beautiful and intelligent.