All The Books You NEED To Read In 2015

It's a brand-new year, full of possibilities, excitement, and yes, resolutions. We all make 'em, but they tend to fizzle by the beginning of February.
If you've resolved to read more in 2015 but you don't know where to start (or just can't choose), why not take it month by month? Ahead, we've hand-picked five excellent books — from poetry to fiction to essays — that you can tackle each month from now through next December, for a grand total of 60 books. Better yet: They're all written by fellow New Yorkers (and, in some cases, they're also set in NYC). So, get ready to curl up and read your way through 2015.
Advertisement
1 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Dalkey Archive Press.
January

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Start the new year off right with a hefty postmodernist masterpiece that investigates art and forgery, from one of literature's greatest legends.
2 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
January

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

They say winter is the time for tragedies — you know, catharsis and all that. So, January just may be the perfect month to read Emily St. John Mandel's most recent (and excellent!) novel, in which the world as we know it has ended, but King Lear remains.
3 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Back Bay Books.
January

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

If you're not into catharsis, this tried-and-true funnyman can help you forget about the cold another way.
4 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
January

The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido

Convoluted, twisting, gorgeous poems that are ideal for reading in front of the fireplace — or under a snowbank.
5 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Graywolf Press.
January

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

If your New Year's resolution is to be a little kinder, or to understand the pain of others a bit better, this wonderful collection of essays is for you.
Advertisement
6 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
February

The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron

February can be dark and dreary and cold. If you're feeling fraught and chilled, crack open some Nora Ephron, and in a matter of minutes that belly laugh will warm you right up.
7 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead.
February

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The perfect thing for pretending you're at the beach, while also reading a smart literary novel. Think of it as double protection from the cold.
8 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of McSweeney's.
February

Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty by Diane Williams

Since February is such a weird month, it deserves some equally strange reading material. Diane Williams' most recent novel is beautiful, odd, and perfect for the shortest month.
9 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Grove Press.
February

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Read this notorious, sex-filled novel and then consider leaving it suggestively on your bedside table around Valentine's Day.
10 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Graywolf Press.
February

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

If you don't feel like February has enough days in it to support a whole novel, why not try some poetry? Smith's collection looks up and out, into space, into the abyss, and then comes back down to earth, to the heart — perfect for dreaming in the dark.
Advertisement
11 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of New Directions.
March

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Tackle March like a lion(ess) with this incredible, intense, and notoriously difficult novel about a woman on the hunt for love, satisfaction, and what she calls "secure torment." It's also famous for being one of the first well-known novels to portray female homosexuality.
12 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Classics.
March

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

The March weather can turn from balmy to bitter and back again as easily as the socialites in Edith Wharton's brutal novel about New York City society in the 1890s. If you're feeling tragic, just remember: Lily Bart will always be more tragic than you.
13 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Granta Books.
March

Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim

March also seems to be a good time for surrealism (when the weather gets weird...), and one of the greatest surrealist novels ever written is Donald Antrim's first: A hilarious, bizarre, and touching account of a suburban town gone terribly awry.
14 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
March

The Dream Songs by John Berryman

Because, the in-between months are the best months for dreaming.
15 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Trade.
March

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Really, any month is a good month to read Sloane Crosley, but there's something about the icky wetness that March can bring that feels like it could use some essays by this snarky, sharp-tongued funny girl.
Advertisement
16 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Perennial.
April

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A classic novel that follows a young girl growing up poor in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. The titular tree, a recurring symbol throughout the book, refers to a tree of heaven that can't be crushed but just keeps on growing back. A perfect reminder of your own capabilities and possibilities for springtime rejuvenation.
17 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins.
April

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

It'll finally start feeling like spring this month, so you might see some birds coming back to the city for the season. And, you might be inspired to pay a little more attention to them after reading about the birding in this novel — if you can pick your head up from the tumultuous love story long enough to notice them.
18 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of W.W. Norton and Company.
April

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Springtime is a time for romance, and this complex, incredibly smart novel is full of it: We've got true love, family, connections across time and space, a manuscript passing from hand to hand, secrets, fate — the list goes on. It will, if nothing else, make you wonder what might be out there, just in time for spring.
19 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Modern Classics.
April

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

April showers bring May flowers, and Capote's novel is full of aesthetic rain — both literally and metaphorically.
20 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Random House Trade Paperbacks.
April

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

The birds, the bees, and the joining together of awkward, middle-aged schlump Lenny Abramov and perky Eunice Park. A near-futuristic love story for any new beginning.
Advertisement
21 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of NYRB Classics.
May

Speedboat by Renata Adler

A novel to make you fall in love with New York, your friends, and Renata Adler all over again.
22 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Picador.
May

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman

May's the perfect month for going on cute dates in New York City — just read this book before you do.
23 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin.
May

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

This epic saga of ideas and perspectives will keep you intellectually stimulated all month — a must for anyone, but especially necessary if your school year is ending.
24 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Leapfrog Press.
May

And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips

A novel-in-fables suitable for being the first thing you read while sitting outside in the park this year.
25 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Macmillan.
May

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

Too many flowers and spring dresses for you? Read Lipsyte's latest novel to cloud up your day with his signature black humor.
Advertisement
26 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Back Bay Books.
June

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The best baseball novel in recent memory, for your summer sandlot-ing.
27 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Anchor.
June

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

New York summers are filled with music, and so is Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning stunner. Read it for a while, and then wander over to get a better view of that concert that's been drifting in your window.
28 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
June

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

A Nabokovian art-world novel perfect for slipping through a New York summer.
29 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Granta Publications.
June

We The Animals by Justin Torres

This novel is white-hot, ferocious, and furious. You'll probably miss several stops on the subway while reading it, but you definitely won't mind.
30 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Hardcover.
June

Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya

This funny, smart novel details the lives of Ukrainian émigrés who have moved to Brighton Beach. The best way to read it? On location, of course.
Advertisement
31 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Anchor.
July

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

Perfect highbrow beach reading, whether you're actually in the Hamptons or just wishing you were.
32 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of University of Iowa Press.
July

Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino

An electrifying, hilarious collection of stories that takes the world you know and twists it, just a little, so it's all stranger and more saturated. Kind of like New York in July.
33 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Bloomsbury USA.
July

The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

In this novel, based on a medieval Persian legend, a feral boy raised in a birdcage is released into the streets of New York City, where he must find a way to become a man. Perfect reading for hot days.
34 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Trade.
July

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

For those who've spent every summer of adulthood wishing they were back at summer camp.
35 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
July

Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo

A killer rock-'n'-roll novel for New York's "full-on, rotting midsummer," in D'Erasmo's words.
Advertisement
36 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Scribner.
August

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

The New York art scene in the '70s to heat you up, a long ski journey down an Italian slope to cool you off. A novel this incendiary could only be properly read in August.
37 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Vintage Contemporaries.
August

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

When New York City feels like a swamp, you might as well embrace it.
38 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of FSG Originals.
August

Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey

Take vicarious pleasure in this novel about escaping New York in the month when everyone really wishes they could — but also remember that the bad stuff comes with you.
39 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of St. Martin's Press.
August

Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro

Essential reading before you and all your friends get that beach house next weekend.
40 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Scribner.
August

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Both parties and people tend to get wilder in August. It's the heat, perhaps. Read this in your linens, and keep away from the pool (and other people's wives).
Advertisement
41 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
September

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

For reading while walking around the city to escape your own version of Pencey Prep.
42 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
September

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits

If you've ever had a problem with a teacher, it's pretty much a guarantee that it wasn't as bad as the student/teacher relationship in Julavits' most recent novel. After all, when you go to a school for psychics, the kinds of things people can do to one another change dramatically.
43 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Trade.
September

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee

A mesmerizing tale of a near-future America told in beautiful, lyric prose. A perfect read for September, a time for looking ahead in wonder.
44 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of New Directions.
September

The Albertine Workout by Anne Carson

Go back to school knowing a little more about Proust (and Anne Carson) than you did before, and having had a gorgeous poetic experience besides.
45 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Plume.
September

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Often described as something like "Harry Potter goes to college," this delightful novel will get you pumped for back-to-school, even if you can't learn magic there. Plus, it's the first in a trilogy, so you'll be engaged for weeks.
Advertisement
46 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Corsair.
October

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

One of the scariest novels ever written, guaranteed to make you look askance at your across-the-hall neighbors. Read it for Halloween, or any time, really.
47 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
October

Open City by Teju Cole

As Garrison Keillor once said, "There are about four perfect days in New York every year, and all of them are in October." Cole's novel, a NYC walkabout, will have you wanting to go out for a stroll, so why not do it on one of the city's best days?
48 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Faber & Faber.
October

10:04 by Ben Lerner

Here's another novel that will have you wandering the city — and remembering the famous October hurricane that shut out our lights.
49 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Wordsworth Editions Ltd.
October

Ghost Stories of Henry James by Henry James

A classic scare never hurt anybody.
50 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Vintage.
October

I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran

An incendiary collection of short stories that includes what might just be the most terrifying love story ever written (first published in the Granta Horror issue): "The Infamous Bengal Ming," in which a tiger falls deeply in love with his keeper. You can guess (some of) what happens next.
Advertisement
51 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Blurb Hack.
November

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Late fall just seems like a perfect time for detective fiction: You curl up in a leather chair, you sip a whiskey, you wonder whodunit. But, this is New York, so you'll get all that plus a postmodern twist in Auster's set of three meta-mysteries.
52 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Random House Trade Paperbacks.
November

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Anthony Bourdain called this book, by the mind behind NYC's Prune, "simply the best memoir by a chef. Ever." Read it this month for some cooking commiseration (and tips!).
53 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Dalkey Archive Press.
November

Nightwork by Christine Schutt

Schutt's short stories are quite short, but they couldn't be any longer or the reader might just keel over from the emotional weight. As it stands, they're perfect for November, in all its decay and promise and chill.
54 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Picador.
November

Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg

One of the best short-story collections of the last decade — it's funny, immediate, and full of wisdom. Just what you need when the leaves turn.
55 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Vintage.
November

Notable American Women by Ben Marcus

"How can one word from Ben Marcus' rotten, filthy heart be trusted?" Because of Marcus' acrobatic language and conceptual leaps — because all his weirdness feels just right. And, November's when you're most likely to believe in a cult of Silentists, right?
Advertisement
56 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Momentum Books.
December

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick is one of those books that lots of people want to read or try to read, but never quite accomplish. Make it easy on yourself and read it in December, when it's unpleasant to go outside. It also might make you appreciate your megalomaniacal uncle a little more at the holiday dinner table.
57 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
December

The Possessed by Elif Batuman

Winter is a time for reading the Russians. It's also a time for reading about reading the Russians, especially when the writer is so funny and delightful.
58 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Candlewick Press.
December

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Essential comfort reading for the cold weather.
59 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin.
December

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

Mary Karr is one of the funniest, smartest, most scalpel-sharp writers living today. If you haven't read her, start with this, her incredible first memoir about her tough Texas childhood, and work your way forward. It can be a holiday present to yourself.
60 of 60
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Classics.
December

The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

Quick wit for holiday parties in handy book form.
Advertisement