Non – Fiction
The Berlin Wall
by Frederick Taylor
This lively and thought-provoking books is a must for experiencing divided Berlin when the Berlin people woke one morning to find friends, neighbours and even family suddenly unreachable and a world away.
Twelve Years – An American Boyhood in East Germany
By Joel Agee
Joel Agee, the son of James Agee, was raised for twelve years in East Germany, where his stepfather, the novelist Bodo Uhse, was a member of the privileged communist intelligentsia. This is the story of how young Joel failed to become a good communist, becoming instead a fine writer.
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find popular fiction set in Germany that does not have to do with World War II or earlier, there is just not a lot of English-language modern literary fiction set in Germany. There also is a dearth of travel memoirs about Germany – no Frances Mayes or Peter Mayle to be had. Your best bets are works by Hermann Hesse and Franz Kafka. Other noteworthy mentions are:
by Siegfried Lenz, translated into English
Kirkus Reviews calls this a “political parable which, in spite of its sophisticated narrative procedures, rests on a banally simplified vision of German social psychology during the Third Reich.”
Five Great German Short Stories: A Dual-Language Book
by Stanley Appelbaum
Heinrich von Kleist’s “The Earthquake in Chile,” E. T. A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” Arthur Schnitzler’s “Lieutenant Gustl,” Thomas Mann’s “Tristan,” and Franz Kafka’s “The Judgment.” For each selection the editor has supplied complete literal English translations on facing pages. Excellent for learning the language and the culture.
The Good American: A Novel Based On True Events
by Ursula Maria Mandel
Amazon.com description: “The manuscript of a novel, written by the daughter of his father’s mistress and reconstructed from a childhood memory, becomes the catalyst of change for a man who cannot forgive his father’s infidelity. The manuscript tells the story of a young American pilot and a destitute but spirited young mother who, in 1948, doesn’t take no for an answer when she decides to whisk her sister’s small daughter out of Berlin before the Russians blockade the city.”
Daytrips Germany: 60 One Day Adventures by Rail or by Car in Bavaria, the Rhineland, the North and the East
By Earl Steinbicker
Daytrips Germany features information, maps and guided walking tours of 60 locations throughout Germany, and is especially concentrated on the previously forbidden East Germany.
If I Lived In Germany
By Rosanne Knorr
A good book for children, with vocabulary and German customs.
Germany: First Reports
By Shirley W. Gray
Designed to teach children about Germany’s geography, history and culture, it’s actually a pretty straight-forward primer in all things German for people of all ages.
Rick Steves’ Germany 2009
By Rick Steves
Rick Steves offers the best overall guidebook for families without being too kid-centered; also has reasonable budgetary information for traveling while having fun.
Phrasebooks and Language
Langenscheidt’s Compact German Dictionary: German-English English-German
The world leader in accuracy in translation dictionaries.
Rick Steves’ German Phrase Book and Dictionary
Offers the most real-life examples, as well as amusing turns of phrase. Much better than Lonely Planet, which caters to student and single life conversations.