Good books to read when learning German

So you’ve reached an intermediate level of German and you want to keep improving? Don’t be discouraged if you need a dictionary for a few words, but hopefully by intermediate level you are ready to dive into literature and enjoy it. Here are my recommendations for good books to read.

Children’s books

Michael Ende – Momo, Die Unendliche Geschichte

Cornelia Funke – Tintenwelt Trilogy

These are great for lower intermediate. I thoroughly enjoyed them both so even though they were written for children I highly recommend them, especially if you happen to like fantasy and want an easier read (Good for listening practise as audiobooks! That’s what I used them for.)

Krimis (crime novels)

Wonderful for intermediate students because they hook you in and you have to keep reading to learn what happens! The most famous German-speaking authors seem to be Jörg Juretzka, Bernhard Schlink, Jacques Berndorf, Wolf Haas and Friedrich Ani. I imagine they’d be a good level for B2 as well.

Other Ideas

A good idea is to look at German Lit courses and see what they recommend their students read. You are giving yourself and education afterall!

For more modern writers I like this site which has excerpts read by the authors so you can have a listen and see if anything in particular catches your attention. If you like Neil Gaiman I am told Christoph Marzi is a must, an author I have been meaning to read for a while.

Of course translations of books you have read in your mother tongue are another option.

Another site which might be helpful for ideas of things to read.

More advanced books

 Rainer Maria Rilke – Briefe an einen jungen Dichter, his collected poems are also great but difficult, I recommend bilingual versions of them

Heinrich Böll – any collection of stories

Peter Schneider – Lenz, Schon bist du ein Verfassungsfeind (seemed good for me at B2)

Christa WolfDer geteilte Himmel, Nachdenken Über Christa T. (an interesting East German writer)

Peter Handke – Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter

Rafik Schami – Eine Hand voller Sterne (Syrian-German)

Max FrischHomo Faber (Swiss)

Andreas EschbachJesus Video, Eine Billion Dollar (Science Fiction)

Günter GrassDie Blechtrommel, Katz und Maus

Franz KafkaDas Schloss, Der Process, Die Verwandlung

Thomas Mann – Der Zauberberg; Doktor Faustus, Der Tod in Venedig, Buddenbrooks  (I found him a challenge so I think he is one to read once you have tried a few easier authors)

Viel Spaß!

Leave a comment if this helped you! Have I missed a good author?

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