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Best German Books

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of German literature with these top picks, featuring classics and contemporary works that resonate with readers and critics across the globe.

Recommendations from 9 articles, Donald Trump, Harry Styles, Emma Watson and 25 others.
14 books on the list
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Perfume book cover
The Story of a Murderer
Patrick Sskind - 1987-01-01 (first published in 1985)
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Discover an absolute sense of smell through the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born in the slums of 18th-century France. Apprenticing under a prominent perfumer, Grenouille's genius eventually drives him to capture the smells of objects and create the ultimate perfume - the scent of a beautiful young virgin. This hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity is told with dazzling narrative brilliance.
Recommended by
Kurt Cobain
The Neverending Story book cover
The Neverending Story
Michael Ende - 1997-01-01 (first published in 1979)
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Escape into the magical world of Fantastica with Bastian Balthazar Bux, a shy bookworm who becomes a character in The Neverending Story. As he uncovers the danger of this enchanted world, he discovers that he's the chosen one to save it. Will he succeed in overcoming the barrier between reality and imagination to save Fantastica?
Momo book cover
Michael Ende - 1998-01-01 (first published in 1973)
Goodreads Rating
This all-ages fantasy novel follows a young orphan girl named Momo, who possesses the gift of listening. When gray men come to town and life becomes terminally efficient, it's up to Momo to vanquish the time thieves and save joy from vanishing forever. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, this edition includes beautiful new drawings and a fresh translation from the original German.
Recommended by
Catherynne M. Valente
All Quiet on the Western Front book cover
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Novel
Erich Maria Remarque - 1987-01-01 (first published in 1928)
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"Experience the raw emotions of war through the eyes of a young soldier. Set in 1914, a group of German schoolboys eagerly embark on a patriotic journey to fight for their country. However, as they enter the trenches, they soon face the brutal reality of war. Follow the story of one soldier as he encounters the heart-wrenching loss of his comrades and the crushing disillusionment that comes with war. A powerful and poignant tale of youth, sacrifice, and hope."
Emil and the Detectives book cover
Emil and the Detectives
Erich Kästner - 2001-01-01 (first published in 1929)
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Emil and the Detectives takes readers on a thrilling adventure through Berlin as young Emil seeks to retrieve his missing money. Join Emil as he teams up with detectives to solve the case in this classic and influential story. A captivating read for all ages.
Recommended by
Simon Smith
The Reader book cover
The Reader
Bernhard Schlink - 1997-06-26 (first published in 1995)
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A haunting story of love, secrets, and horror set in postwar Germany, this novel follows the relationship between a young man and an older woman who suddenly disappears. When he sees her again years later, she's on trial for a terrible crime. As he uncovers the truth about her past, he must reconcile his own feelings with the shocking reality of her actions.
Recommended by
Alastair Humphreys
The Metamorphosis book cover
The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka - 1972-03-01 (first published in 1915)
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A salesman named Gregor Samsa wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect-like creature. This seminal work of fiction of the 20th century by Franz Kafka deals with Gregor's attempts to adjust to his new condition and his family's reactions to his transformation.
Recommended by
PewDiePieDavid Lynch
Siddhartha book cover
Hermann Hesse - 1981-12-01 (first published in 1922)
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Experience an unforgettable journey through a wealthy Indian Brahmin's search for spiritual fulfillment in this timeless classic by Herman Hesse. With a synthesis of Eastern religions, Western individualism, and Jungian archetypes, Siddhartha takes readers on a transformative exploration of the meaning of life.
The Danzig Trilogy book cover
The Danzig Trilogy
The Tin Drum / Cat and Mouse / Dog Years
Günter Grass - 1987-01-01
Goodreads Rating
Experience the journey through German history with The Danzig Trilogy, a collection of three acclaimed works by Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass. In The Tin Drum, follow the captivating life of Oskar Matzerath as he navigates the Nazi nightmare with his tin drum and anarchistic spirit. Cat and Mouse delves into a provocative story filled with outrageous events, centered around a black cat and Mahlke's notorious Adam's apple. Finally, in Dog Years, Grass takes readers through the labyrinth of the German mentality during the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Get lost in this powerful, entertaining, and thought-provoking trilogy.
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin
Der Richter und sein Henker by Friedrich Durrenmatt
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe
Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane