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Every year, more than a million people visit Brooklyn Public Library, checking out over 7 million materials and attending our 40,000 programs and events. Here are just some of our patrons and staff sharing their favorite picks from the stacks.

Share your favorite books from our collection and let Brooklynites know what you recommend! Post a photo holding your selection on Twitter or Instagram and tag it #checkoutBKLYN.

Kazuo Ishiguro, Author

Kazuo Ishiguro came to Brooklyn to talk about The Buried Giant, his latest novel and an epic masterpiece that explores memory and forgetting in a fantastical medieval England. His favorite book is Jane Eyre, also a darkly moving story of hidden truths and the power of love in hopeless times. 

Rachel Weisz, Actor

Actress Rachel Weisz, who won an Academy Award for her role in The Constant Gardener (and won us over for her portrayal of librarian Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy) swung by Central Library while shooting an upcoming film with director Joshua Marston, which included a tense scene in the Dweck lobby bathrooms! She told us her favorite book was Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding, reading a few pages in between takes.

Michael Shannon, Actor

Actor Michael Shannon, well known around Brooklyn for his role in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, was at Central Library while shooting an upcoming film with director Joshua Marston (in an elevator with Michael Chernus!). His favorite book is Herman Hesse’s epic tale of self-discovery, Siddhartha.

Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council

Melissa Mark-Viverito joined fellow NYC Councilmembers at Central Library to sign up for IDNYC in January 2015. The new card, free for all NYC residents, helps connect all New Yorkers to City services and programs, as well as cultural institutions citywide. She recommended Isabel Allende’s La Isla Bajo el Mar from our foreign language collection.

Lev Grossman, Author

Lev Grossman is the author of the wildly successful Magicians trilogy, so obviously he appreciates the fantastical realms and epic multi-volume sagas. Who better captured that than C.S. Lewis with his remarkable Narnian Chronicles? We found a beautiful old copy of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in our Hunt Collection, to show off to Lev at our 2015 Gala.

Diana Reyna, Deputy Borough President

Children in the Central Library Youth Wing had a lovely story time with Diana Reyna, Deputy Borough President, during Read Across America in March 2015. She told us that her favorite children’s book is No, David! by David Shannon.

Simon Kenton, young patron

"I like Shark Vs. Train. I think Shark will win." -- Simon Kenton, age 3.

Leila Taylor, Creative Director, Brooklyn Public Library

"Perec reveals the depth and complexity in the basic aspects of our everyday life we normally ignore. If you stop and really pay attention, there are stories everywhere. A shopping list is a biography, your daily commute is a map of your city."

Selvon Smith, VP of IT Telecom, Brooklyn Public Library

"My daughter and I are always reading together. I'll leave it up to you to decide whose selection is whose."

Javaka Steptoe, Author and Illustrator

Visiting the Dweck Center in February 2014 as part of our "Meet the Author/Illustrator" series, children’s author and illustrator Javaka Steptoe picked up a copy of Round Trip by Ann Jonas.

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President

Adams selected a childhood favorite, Curious George by H. A. Rey, as a recommended read.

Eva Raison, Immigrant Services Coordinator

"Doce Cuentos Peregrinos is an absorbing book that collects stories that Garcia-Marquez told and revised over many years.  I love the nostalgia, disillusion, and delicate sense of mortality that permeate these stories.

Este libro envolvente representa trabajos de Garcia-Márquez que desarrolló a través de muchos años.  Me encantan los ambientes de nostalgia, la desilusión y el delicado sentido de mortalidad presentes en estas historias."

Edwin Maxwell, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, New Lots Library

"I love a great underdog story! David and Goliath provides real-life accounts on how countless people have transformed their perceived weaknesses into their greatest strengths. In facing every-day hardships, it provides me with inspiration that I can, too!"

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray

While attending a New York City Department of Education Universal Pre-K info session at BPL in March 2014, the Mayor and First Lady took a moment to recommend one of their favorite books: Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America by Adam Cohen.

Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library

"I selected Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi because it is beautifully written and tells a compelling personal story that is interesting and politically important. This book has been on my mind recently, years after I first read it – always a mark of a great book!"


@elleninbrooklyn and her cat Eliot both love Rainbow Rowell's Landline

Rita Meade, Library Information Supervisor, Bay Ridge Library

"I chose A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith because I've loved it since I was a kid. It's a wonderful coming-of-age story, it's a wonderful New York story, and the writing is honest and beautiful. Plus, it contains one of my favorite quotes from a book: 'From that moment on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again.'"

Evangeline Lilly, Actor

Evangeline Lilly, an author and leading actress from the hit ABC series LOST, visited us at Central Library in November 2014 to read aloud from her new book The Squickerwonkers. One of her main influences? Dr. Seuss! She recommended the classic Green Eggs and Ham while on-site.

Robin Lester Kenton, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Brooklyn Public Library

"Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc had a huge impact on my life and my worldview. A compelling true story about the lives of New Yorkers in the Bronx, the personal connections they make and the cultural cycle of poverty, it inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in sociology. I recommend this page-turning ethnography to everyone!"

Frank Bruni, The New York Times

Frank Bruni, journalist for The New York Times and formerly that paper’s chief restaurant critic, moderated a discussion at our 2015 Gala, but before the festivities started, we caught him reading one of his favorite books, Nora Ephron’s Heartburn

Benicio del Toro, Actor

BPL served as a filming location for the White House's 1 is 2 Many PSA against campus sexual assault in March 2014. Actor Benicio del Toro filmed a scene at the Library, and recommended The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Emma Straub, Author

Emma Straub is the author of The Vacationers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and she’s also a huge fan of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which is packed with sly witticisms and wry commentary on womanhood.

Lisa Rosenblum, Chief Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library

"I loved reading the Little House series as a child. Not only do I enjoy historical fiction but I also liked reading about how self reliant the family was, making their own clothing and growing their own food.  In fact as a child I tried making the maple syrup taffy from snow recipe from one of the books.  It didn’t work –but I was amused to discover a number of people who have read the books tried the same thing!"


Brooklyn Grace, from Boynton Beach, Florida, is only six days old! But her mom Stephanie (@sslater310) has a good idea what she'll be reading soon. 

David Woloch, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Brooklyn Public Library

"I am a fan of political history generally and was excited to find this deep in the BPL stacks – I’m particularly fond of the author Isser Woloch!"


"A friend asked me for my favorite book. It was a close call between this one and The Monster at the End of This Book." — @worldwithoutwww

Leonard Lopate, WNYC radio host and author

Leonard Lopate grew up in Brooklyn, and remembers coming to the library as a kid! One of his life-changing reads was Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, he told us at our 2015 Gala.

Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine

Cindi Leive is a BPL Trustee and a member of the Whitman Circle, a group that helps provide vital funding for outreach initiatives, youth programs, services for older adultsand of course, books. At a recent Whitman Circle event, she selected The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton as a recommended read, in e-book format.


"My new thing is reading as procrastination. This is so good, but there's a suitcase around here somewhere... " — @kotuonye

Dan Zanes, Musician

Dan Zanes came to Flatbush Library to help us kick off a Summer Reading 2015 with the Book-a-Loo Boogie! Along with his friend and producer Father Goose, they sang Caribbean songs and danced with the kids in a train all around the room. Dan’s favorite children’s stories are those classic Moomins of Finland, by Tove Jansson. 

Doreen Cronin, Author

Author of the beloved children’s book Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, Doreen Cronin read her book aloud to Brooklyn children on March 6, 2015, as part of BPL’s celebration of Read Across America. She selected another classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson as a favorite.

Bobby Simic, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, Greenpoint Library

"I'm a librarian because of the weird and wonderful Oz books. I used to bother the librarians incessantly at my local library in Indiana, trying to get any book in the series (even the not-so-great ones not by L. Frank Baum). The time spent at the Info Desk led me to become a library volunteer then a paid shelver, and, subsequently, library school and eventually a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library."

Michael Chernus, Actor

Actor Michael Chernus, known for his work on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black as Cal, Piper’s haplessly thoughtful brother, was at Central Library while shooting an upcoming film with director Joshua Marston (in an elevator with Michael Shannon!). He’s a big fan of fellow Brooklynite Jonathan Franzen’s dazzling debut novel, The Corrections.

Simcha Felder, NY State Senator

State Senator Simcha Felder picked up a copy of the Keillor Reader by Garrison Keillor during a visit to our Kings Highway branch.

Theodore B. Olson, Gala Awardee

Ted Olson is a lawyer and former U.S. Solicitor General to George W. Bush, and is perhaps most famous for his unlikely partnership with David Boies and their historic fight to overturn California’s Proposition 8, detailed in their book Redeeming the Dream: The Case of Marriage Equality. When we honored Mr. Olson at our 2015 Gala, he explained that southern Gothic is one of his favorite genres, and that The Snopes Dilemma: Faulkner’s Trilogy made excellent study of Faulkner’s classic characters.

Anusha Bala, Assistant to the President & CEO, Brooklyn Public Library

To totally misquote Mindy Kaling, “favorite book isn’t a book; it’s a tier.” And Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides is definitely on my tier. It’s an amazing combination of thoroughly researched history, compelling narrative, fascinating character exploration (of MLK Jr., James Earl Ray and his many aliases, the town of Memphis, and several other supporting characters), and mystery/thriller. Sides’ books all take moments in history and make them come alive through studies of the actors involved and this one was the one I truly couldn’t put down!

Noah Emmerich, Actor

FX’s The Americans shot a scene at BPL’s Central Library in January 2014. While on site, series star Noah Emmerich picked up Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden's Final Plot Against America by Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Here he is with his selection on the set of the show.

Father Goose, Producer

Father Goose, reggae producer in Brooklyn, came to Flatbush Library to help us kick off a Summer Reading 2015 with the Book-a-Loo Boogie! with his friend, musician Dan Zanes. As a nod to his own name, he checked out some classic Mother Goose fairy tales.


"I like books. I like reading books in libraries."

Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

While attending a meeting at BPL in February 2015, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finklepearl recommended Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD.

Robert Cornegy, City Council Member

Council Member Robert Cornegy stopped by our Brower Park Library on Monday, October 19, to celebrate, well, Mondays! Thanks to increased funding from the Mayor's Office and the City Council, our libraries are open more hours than ever—and Brower Park kids got to celebrate with Council Member Cornegy and the cows of Click, Clack, Moo.


@brklynshoebabe checks out a steamy romance novel.

Adam J. Kurtz, Illustrator

Adam J. Kurtz, the inventive and whimsical Brooklyn-based illustrator who redesigned our iconic BKLYN Bookmobiles, picked Chabon's great The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. "K&C was recommended by a friend and then I immediately forgot about it. When I saw a copy at a train station bookstore, I knew it was time. I read the book so fast and I was just so emotionally invested in it. Afterwards, I felt like I had lost someone close to me."


@JessicaEarlyLit shared this photo of two sleuths on the hunt for Waldo.

Robert Reich, Economist

Robert Reich is an economist, author, professor and political commentator — and we caught a minute with him during his recent talk at the Dweck Center to talk about Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, a sprawling historical epic about the reign of Henry IV, his second wife Anne Boleyn and his shrewd advisor, Thomas Cromwell.


@jooopert recommends George Orwell's allegorical classic.

DW Gibson, Winner of the 2015 Eagles Literary Prize for Nonfiction

Journalist and author DW Gibson's The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century was the inaugural winner of our 2015 Eagles Literary Prize—and we caught him browsing the stacks at our 2015 Brooklyn Classic with one of his own nonfiction favorites, the inimitable Joan Didion and her collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

Ice-T, Rapper and Actor

"There's a lot in this book to learn from – you can translate the lessons from war to lessons about reality, conflict, and life."

Mariska Hargitay, Actor

From a recent Law and Order: SVU film shoot that took place at Pacific Library.

Peter Scanavino, Actor

From a recent Law and Order: SUV film shoot at Pacific Library.

Sophie Blackall, Illustrator

Sophie Blackall posing with her favorite book, THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats. Blackall will take home a Caldecott Medal for her book, FINDING WINNIE, at this week's ALA Annual Conference.

Cat Greenleaf, Host of Talk Stoop

Cat Greenleaf and her bulldog, Gracie Greenleaf Rey, posing with their favorite book, The Little Prince.

Alec Baldwin, Actor

Alec Baldwin, visiting Central Library during a shoot for the upcoming Hulu television show The Looming Tower, recommended John Steinbeck's novella, The Red Pony.


"A favorite from BPL: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - funny, raw, real, love."

Peter Sarsgaard, Actor

Peter Sarsgaard recommends Malcolm Lowry's novel, Under the Volcano.


"The best things in life come free w/ a library card! #knowledgeispower #resist"


"Enjoying rereading a childhood favorite with my budding reader."

Tituss Burgess, Actor

Tituss Burgess, visiting Greenpoint Library during a film shoot for the hit Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, recommended James Baldwin's collection of short stories, Going to Meet the Man.

Kenan Thompson, Actor

Kenan Thompson recommends the Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham.

Jeff Daniels, Actor

Jeff Daniels recommends The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison.

Jesse Eisenberg, Actor

Jesse Eisenberg recommends The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.

Jenny Han, Author

Jenny Han recommends I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

Zetta Elliott, Author

Zetta Elliott recommends Kindred by Octavia Butler.

Daniel José Older, Author

Daniel José Older recommends The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.

Ibi Zoboi, Author

Ibi Zoboi recommends Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm.

Jim Parsons, Actor

Jim Parsons reccomends Charlotte's Web.

Martin Freeman, Actor

Martin Freeman recommends Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Morena Baccarin, Actress

Morena Baccarin recommends The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Téa Leoni, Actress

Actress Téa Leoni recommends Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece, War and Peace.

Emma Stone, Actress

Emma Stone recommends Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger.

LeVar Burton, Actor

Actor LeVar Burton recommends Shirin Yim Bridges' Ruby's Wish. 

Michael C. Hall, Actor

Actor Michael C. Hall recommends John Williams' Stoner. 

Chris Bauer, Actor

Actor Chris Bauer recommends Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Malik Yoba, Actor

Actor Malik Yoba recommends Peter Shaffer's Equus

Nigel Barker, Photographer

Photographer Nigel Barker recommends F. Isabel Campoy's Quizás Algo Hermoso. 

Jason Reynolds, Author

Author Jason Reynolds recommends Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Dexter Henry, Reporter

AccuWeather National Reporter Dexter Henry recommends Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

Alex Lima, Poet

Poet Alex Lima recommends The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. 

Photo credit: Marcos Echeverria Ortiz

Alex Lima, PoetThe Old Man and the Sea
Dexter Henry, ReporterTheir Eyes Were Watching God
Jason Reynolds, AuthorRed at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Nigel Barker, PhotographerQuizás algo hermoso
LeVar Burton, ActorRuby's Wish
Malik Yoba, ActorEquus
Michael C. Hall, ActorStoner
Chris Bauer, ActorSiddhartha
Martin Freeman, ActorAnimal Farm
Peter Sarsgaard, ActorUnder the Volcano
Téa Leoni, ActressWar and Peace
Morena Baccarin, ActressThe Great Gatsby
Ibi Zoboi, AuthorThe Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
Jim Parsons, ActorCharlotte's Web
Daniel José Older, AuthorThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Jesse Eisenberg, ActorThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
@ShortTalesPippi Longstocking
Zetta Elliott, AuthorKindred
Jenny Han, AuthorI Capture the Castle
Kenan Thompson, ActorGreen Eggs and Ham
@epauknerA People's History of the United States
Jeff Daniels, ActorThe Ancient Minstrel
@GiliRWThe Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian
Alec Baldwin, ActorThe Red Pony
Robert Cornegy, City Council MemberClick, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Peter Scanavino, ActorFather and Sons
Tituss Burgess, ActorGoing to Meet the Man
Cat Greenleaf, Host of Talk Stoop The Little Prince
Sophie Blackall, IllustratorThe Snowy Day
Mariska Hargitay, ActorDeath of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
@jooopertAnimal Farm
Ice-T, Rapper and ActorThe Art of War
DW Gibson, Winner of the 2015 Eagles Literary Prize for Nonfiction Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Robert Reich, EconomistBring Up the Bodies
Emma Stone, ActressRaise High the Roof Beam Carpenters; and Seymour: An Introduction
@JessicaEarlyLitWhere's Waldo? The Wonder Book
Adam J. Kurtz, IllustratorThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
@brklynshoebabeTaking the Heat
Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural AffairsAuthentic Happiness
@themediarunnerBrr, il fait froid
Father Goose, ProducerMother Goose and Friends
Noah Emmerich, ActorEnemies Within
Anusha Bala, Assistant to the President & CEO, Brooklyn Public LibraryHellhound on His Trail
Theodore B. Olson, Gala AwardeeThe Snopes Dilemma: Faulkner's Trilogy
Simcha Felder, NY State SenatorThe Keillor Reader
Michael Chernus, ActorThe Corrections
Bobby Simic, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, Greenpoint LibraryThe Woodman of Oz
Doreen Cronin, AuthorHarold and the Purple Crayon
Leonard Lopate, WNYC radio host and authorThe Natural
Dan Zanes, MusicianMoomin and the Sea
@kotuonyeAll Fall Down
@worldwithoutwwwInfinite Jest
Lisa Rosenblum, Chief Librarian, Brooklyn Public LibraryLittle House on the Prairie
Eva Raison, Immigrant Services CoordinatorDoce Cuentos Peregrinos
David Woloch, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Brooklyn Public LibraryJacobin Legacy
Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour MagazineThe House of Mirth
Emma Straub, AuthorMiddlemarch
Rita Meade, Library Information Supervisor, Bay Ridge LibraryA Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Robin Lester Kenton, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Brooklyn Public Library Random Family
Edwin Maxwell, Neighborhood Library Supervisor, New Lots LibraryDavid and Goliath
Benicio del Toro, ActorThe Call of the Wild
Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public LibraryStones from the River
Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCrayNothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America
Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough PresidentCurious George
Javaka Steptoe, Author and IllustratorRound Trip
Selvon Smith, VP of IT Telecom, Brooklyn Public LibraryChicka Chicka Boom Boom
Michael Shannon, ActorSiddharta
Leila Taylor, Creative Director, Brooklyn Public LibrarySpecies of Spaces and Other Pieces
Simon Kenton, young patronShark Vs. Train
Diana Reyna, Deputy Borough PresidentNo, David!
Lev Grossman, AuthorThe Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City CouncilLa Isla Bajo el Mar
Rachel Weisz, ActorThe Member of the Wedding
Kazuo Ishiguro, AuthorJane Eyre
Evangeline Lilly, ActorGreen Eggs and Ham
Frank Bruni, The New York TimesHeartburn
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