Humans of New York: Stories

Humans of NY

Humans of New York: Stories
Brandon Stanton
St. Martin’s Press
October 2015
Read for The 2016 YALSA Hub Reading Challenge
Alex Award winner

What started out as a jobless guy wandering the streets of New York City with a camera became an Internet sensation – Humans of New York. You’ve read the blog, followed the Facebook posts, and now you can own the book. The stories and photos in the book are taken directly from the blog, so there’s no special content that you couldn’t find online. It is curated and loosely organized by theme. There are no headings or chapter distinctions, but if you read it from cover to cover, you’ll notice that similar stories are grouped together. The layout is clean with only one or two stories per page. Bottom line, it’s a great coffee table book, but if you follow HONY closely online, you’ll probably have read most of these stories.

What I find more interesting about HONY is the similar online communities, websites, and Facebook accounts it has spawned in other cities around the world. I occasionally check out Humans of Jerusalem and have actually recognized people on the street who were profiled on it. There’s also some good parody accounts, my favorite being Pigeons of Boston, which sadly appears to have stopped being updated last fall.

Brandon Stanton has had a huge impact on online story-sharing landscape by compassionately promoting others’ humanity, celebrating diversity, and interacting face-to-face on behalf of an Internet community, all of which I think is awesome and is the recipe of his success. Here’s a short NPR interview where he explains the beginnings of HONY and what it takes to walk up to strangers in New York City.

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It’s November? Time for NaNoReadMo!

from V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (1988)

from V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (1988)

Sadly it took me until the 5th of November to realize that it’s November (I blame the lack of Halloween here in Israel), and that means it’s NaNoReadMo! I’m not a writer (at least not of the novel sort), which is why I was really excited to hear about NaNoReadMo, National Novel Reading Month. I was even more excited to find out that it was started by artist and author Austin Kleon whom I am a big fan of. Jealous of and impressed with all the NaNoWriMo word counts on social media, I will now be able to participate by doing more of something I do a lot of anyway, reading and recommending. I’m going to be blogging and/or tweeting a book recommendation every day for the rest of November and a bunch in a row today to catch up for the past few days. Follow along with me here on the blog and on Twitter @BookCurious. Join in yourself if you feel so inclined. As I say far too often in my life, better late than never.