Subway Ad for One Book One New York. Drawing of three people sittitng down and reading different books.

Did You Know That New York City Has a Book Club?



If you live in NYC, you might have seen the ads for One Book, One New York on the subway. If you have not seen them or you just don’t live here, One Book, One New York is a project organized by the NYPL in which citizens can vote on what book they’d like to collectively read. That book is then advertised with the goal being that many people will begin reading the same book. I think it’s pretty neat and also kind of strange. Anyway, the people have voted and they chose Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach as the winner.



Book cover for Manhattan Beaches

Image Via GoodReads


The follow up to Egan’s critically acclaimed A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach takes place during WWII. According to, “Manhattan Beach tells the haunting World War II-era story of Anna Kerrigan, who becomes the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s first female diver, and her search for her missing father.” Manhattan Beach is not getting great reviews from everyone. Many reviews are positive but some go as follows:


Reading the dust jacket one would have thought this book contained a real good mystery. The only mystery to me was how anyone found this book entertaining! The characters were lackluster, the plot all over, the ending was unbelievable, and all in all, I found this book boring. – Elaine N. (Via Goodreads)


Looking back over the novel, I get an intense feeling of dissatisfaction. Everything is a series of disconnected plot points; many long, slow parts where nothing happens, and even the more action-filled parts were not particularly interesting. Bloodless and forgettable. – Emily M (Via Goodreads)


Pretty harsh reviews. But, as I said, this book does have a ton of positive ones such as:


This is a hauntingly ambitious historical novel of the sea and New York, set during the Depression era and the Second World War. It is impeccably researched in its period details and well plotted. -Paromjit (Via Goodreads)


“What can’t she do?” is right. Turns out Jennifer Egan can do anything she damn well pleases, including take 7 years to write a World War II novel that manages to shuck all the expected conventions of writing about those years. There is some amount of mystery here but it isn’t a mystery novel, just like there’s plenty of history but it isn’t a historical novel. Egan’s writing has all the pleasure of a comfy blanket on a crisp autumn morning – so what luck that this fall brings a joy like this novel. -Drew (Via Goodreads)


Do you let negative reviews deter you from starting a book or do you look to good reviews for recommendations? If you wany yo join in on the party and you live in New York, pick up a copy and see how you like it. I am curious to see what the next book choice will be.


Feature Image Via Vulture