Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The Bronx's best known literary titan is probably Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in the borough from 1846 until his death in 1849. But the queen of suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, also hails from the borough, and even the neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks conducted research and worked at a local hospitals there. Below is a list of essential literature about the Bronx and by Bronx authors as well as must-read blogs and newspapers from the borough.
Bronx Literature compiled by Jean Harripersaud, head of Adult Services at the Bronx Library Center:
Bronx Noir. Edited by S.J. Rozan. 2007 (Fiction)
An anthology of crime stories that take place in different neighborhoods from the South Bronx, to wealthy sections of Riverdale.
S.J. Rozan was born and raised in the Bronx.
Bronx Justice by Joseph Teller. 2009 (Fiction)
A story about a rebellious lawyer who agrees to defend a man arrested for raping five white women in Castle Hill. The lawyer does not believe this as an open-and-shut case.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. 2010 (Fiction)
A story about a family that leaves Santa Domingo in the 1960s for the Bronx and the four sisters who must adapt to the cultural differences, language barriers and prejudice in America.
Kitchen Privileges: a Memoir by Mary Higgins Clark. 2003 (Non-fiction)
Clark's memoir about growing up in the Bronx during the Depression.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks. 1998 (Non-fiction)
Twenty-four stories documenting the irregular neurological conditions of Sacks' patients. Sack's literary style examines the inner lives of his patients and questions traditional treatments for mental disease.
Oliver Sacks was born in London and was professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Poems & Tales of Edgar Allan Poe at Fordham, edited by Elizabeth Beirne. (Fiction)
The full text of eleven poems and his final short story, "Landor's cottage," which many say was inspired by his home on Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. 2004 (Non-fiction)
A work of "new journalism" that follows one extended family for ten years through their struggles with drugs, violence, poverty and sexuality in the Bronx.
South by South Bronx by Abraham Rodriguez. 2008. (Fiction)
A noir told from multiple perspectives about a hunt for a drug dealer who launders money.
Abraham Rodriguez, Jr. was born and raised in the South Bronx, although he currently lives in Berlin.
Tales from the Yankee Dugout: Quips, Quotes & Anecdotes about the Bronx Bombers by Ken McMillan; illustrations by Bob Jackson. 2001. (Non-fiction)
A compilation of stories from Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth, among others, as well as dozens of caricatures by illustrator Robert Jackson.
World's Fair: a Novel by E.L. Doctorow. 2007 (Fiction)
A story about growing up in the 1930s from the perspective of a nine-year old boy from the Bronx. Winner of the 1986 National Book Award.
Bronx History: Compiled by Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan
Bronx Accent: A Literary and Pictorial History of the Borough by Lloyd Ultan and Barbara Unger. (2000)
The Beautiful Bronx: 1920-1950 by Lloyed Ultan. (1979)
The Birth of The Bronx:1609-1900 by Lloyd Ultan and Gary Hermalyn. (2000)
The Birth in the Innocent Years: 1890-1925 by Lloyd Ultan and Gary Hermalyn. (1985)
The Birth It Was Only Yesterday: 1935-1965 by Lloyd Ultan and Gary Hermalyn. (1992)
History in Asphalt: The Origins of Bronx Street and Place Names by John McNamara. (1993)
Legacy of the Revolution: The Valentine-Varian House by Lloyd Ultan. (1983)
The Northern Borough: A History of The Bronx by Lloyd Ultan. (2005,2009)