Let’s look at some popular contemporary German books and authors. They are all recommended reads and have been translated into English, so you can take your pick: Practise your German reading skills or grab an English copy! Either way, enjoy!
1. Das Parfum (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, 1985) by Patrick Süskind
This thriller stayed on top of Der Spiegel’s bestseller list for a record nine years and was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster.
2. Der Vorleser (The Reader, 1995) by Bernhard Schlink
The first German novel to reach the number one position on The New York Times bestseller list, it has been translated into 39 languages. Kate Winslet won an Oscar for her performance in the 2008 film adaptation.
3. Tintenherz (Inkheart, 2003) by Cornelia Funke
Famous for her young adult fantasy novels, Funke is known as the German JK Rowling! The Inkheart trilogy is about a father and child who have the ability to bring characters from books to life.
4. Dorfpunks (Village Punks, 2004) by Rocko Schamoni
This autobiographical tale about growing up in a small village was a hit across Germany. Once you’re done reading this novel, you can watch the film based on it and practise your German listening skills.
5. Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World, 2005) by Daniel Kehlmann
Kehlmann’s fourth novel about two German scientists turned him into a literary sensation. His books are actually on the school syllabus in Germany!
A hugely successful coming-of-age novel, Axolotl Roadkill was made into a movie in 2017 by the author herself!
7. Atemschaukel (The Hunger Angel, 2009) by Herta Müller
This prose poem by the Romanian-born German author Müller was nominated for the German Book Prize in 2009. She went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year.
8. Tschick (Why We Took the Car, 2010) by Wolfgang Herrndorf
This cult road-trip novel about friendship and wanderlust took Germany by storm. It has been compared to JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.
9. Das andere Kind (The Other Child, 2010) by Charlotte Link
A psychological thriller packed with suspense, Das andere Kind has been written by one of Europe’s bestselling crime writers. In 2007, Link was awarded the Goldene Feder for her literary achievements.