Our teachers recommend:

German readings for varied language levels

Our teachers have put together a multifaceted selection of books appropriate for readers of varying language ability. Whether you would prefer an exciting thriller, a fantasy-filled novel, a funny story or a profound work of fiction – there is surely something just right for you in our selection of reading materials. Check them out for yourself:

A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | C1 | C2

Franz, München. | Thomas Silvin
A1 and above | book with audio CD
Franz is supposed to take over his father’s small town business, but he would rather move to the big city and become a celebrity chef.

Leo & Co - Der 80. Geburtstag | Theo Scherling, Elke Burger
A1 and above | with exercises and audio CD
Arlette the au pair and Leo almost forget his mother’s 80th birthday. The trip back to his hometown ends up becoming a trip into his past.

Hausarbeit ist keine Arbeit | Albert Schmitz
A2 and up | readings with comprehension aides
Conversations between father and son. Everyday philosophical dialogs for foreign language readers. Contains comprehension questions/exercises and lexical explanations.

Leo & Co - Speed Dating | Theo Scherling, Elke Burger
A2 and up | with exercises and audio CD
How and where do you find a friend? That’s easy: in the workplace, at the bar, at a sporting event, or somewhere else. You can also participate in speed dating. But can you really get to know a person in just eight minutes?

Der kleine Nick | René Goscinny
A2 and up | literature | comedy
Children and adults laugh till they cry about little Nick from Paris. He and his whole class enjoy spoofing their teachers, teasing the teacher’s favorite students, and butting heads with one another. They find it hilarious when they can scream at the top of their lungs, beat each other, rant and rave, and be generally nasty.

Der zerbrochene Krug | Urs Luger nach: Heinrich v. Kleist
A2 and up | with audio CD and exercises to aid comprehension
Rerelease of a literary classic. For village judge Adam, today is a really bad day: His head is killing him, his superior, Walter, is auditing the court cashier, and on top of all that, Ms. Marthe Rull is coming before the court with a broken pitcher. A man is said to have broken it. A man! In the night! In the bedroom of her single daughter Eve! Who was it?

Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts | Achim Seiffarth nach: Joseph v. Eichendorff
B1 and up | with music and audio CD
Retelling of a literary classic. A good-for-nothing: He doesn’t like to work, preferrs instead to wander around the world, playing violin and singing. His Father has kicked him out of the house. Now the good-for-nothing has to find his own way. In so doing, he experiences exciting adventures and also, love.

Momo | Michael Ende
B1 and up | novel
The little girl Momo battles against the forces of evil in the form of time thieves, known as the gray gentlemen. The evil power robs men of their time and consequently, their joy in life. With personal courage and the help of virtuous forces, Momo tries to defeat the gray gentlemen.

Dunkel war's, der Mond schien helle | Edmund Jacoby, Rotraut Susanne Berner
B1 and up | various rhymes and poems for all ages (also available in CD) | verse
’Dunkel war's, der Mond schien helle‘ is a house book (illustrated book from the middle ages) containing both old stories handed down for generations and brand new ones, with verses both from the vernacular and from children. A colorful picture book to leaf through and read aloud that will open up a whole new world for children and remind adults of one half-forgotten.

Russendisko | Wladimir Kaminer
B1 and up | short stories about Berlin
Wladimir Kaminer writes of ordinary struggles and everyday life taking place before his front door. In this way, the smallest stories become the largest, and some things should be taken with a grain of salt, as this author gives free rein to his delightfully fatalistic, original Russian melancholy.

Boxhagener Platz | Thorsten Schulz
B1 and up | thriller
East Berlin, 1968, Boxhagener Platz: Grandma Otti has already survived five husbands, and it is not going well for the sixth – no wonder she is moving once again. Her grandson Holger is striving, in the meantime, to solve the murder of Fisch-Winkler. Jealousy? Or a plot from the West? Some dialog in Berlin dialect. Book was made into a film.

Eine Hand voller Sterne | Rafik Shami
B1 and up | youth literature / orient |
Several years ago, a baker’s son from Damascus maintained a diary. There are many beautiful, poetic and amusing things to report, but he also tells of poverty and fear. He portrays his father the baker, his mother the master haggler at the bazaar, his spunky little sister Leila, and many more.

Der Steppenwolf | Hermann Hesse
B2 and up | novel / literature | ■
Harry Haller, the Steppenwolf (loner), perceives himself as half man, half wolf. He longs for belonging, for harmony and love, but he also wants to remain independent and free, and abhors anything that is normal. This dichotomy leads him deeper and deeper into an existential crisis, which eventually helps him recognize his true self and makes life easier to take.

Tschick | Wolfgang Herrndorf
B2 and up | youth novel | ●
Two boys. One broken-down Lada (Russian car). A trip full of detours through an unfamiliar Germany. An unusual friendship between a 14-year old German with a middle-class upbringing and a neglected young repatriate from Russia. A trip full of misdirection and detours through an unfamiliar Germany.

Der Herr Lehmann | Sven Wegener
B2 and up | novel
Mr. Lehmann, a citizen of Berlin-Kreuzberg by choice, is not even thirty, and loves his uneventful life. For years, evasion maneuvers and heroic idleness have successfully spared him from the requirements of his environment, until the beginning of 1989. The year of Germany’s reunification puts Mr. Lehmann to the test. Funny, everyday stories with lots of colloquial language.

Draußen vor der Tür | Wolfgang Borchert
B2 and up | novel | ■
At the center of the action stands the returning soldier Beckmann, who, after three years as a political prisoner, has not been able to successfully reintegrate into civilian life. While he is still plagued by his experiences in World War II, his fellow citizens have long ago repressed the past.

Ende einer Dienstfahrt | Heinrich Böll
B2 and up | novel | ■
A curious case makes headlines. A crime without remorse. In a small local court in the Rhineland, a seemingly curious case is being tried. It could be about an act of sabotage, but strange extenuating circumstances cause everything to appear differently. For one thing, the accused does not match the profile of a saboteur.

Emil und die Detektive | Erich Kästner
B2 and up | youth novel | ●
For the first time, Emil is allowed to travel to Berlin by himself. His grandmother and cousin Pony Hütchen are expecting to meet him at the flower stand in the Friedrichstraße train station. But Emil does not arrive. While grandmother and Pony Hütchen are still pondering what they should do, Emil has already become involved in an exciting pursuit. He’s on the trail of a thief who has stolen all his money on the train.

Die 13 1/2 Leben des Käpt'n Blaubär | Walter Moers
B2 and up | fantasy / novel / humor
A blue bear, unlike anyone else, adventurously hi-jacks the reader into a world in which fantasy and humor have gotten out of control. In 13 1/2 scenes from his life, the hero fights through a fairytale land in which everything is possible – everything except boredom! Other fantasy-filled novels from Walter Moers that will amaze are, for example, “Rumo” and “Der Schrecksenmeister”.

Tito ist tot | Maria Bodrozic
B2 and up | intercultural literature
His portrait hangs in every classroom, in every office, even in shoe repair and butcher shops, and the news of his death reaches every far-flung region of Dalmatia, where the narrator is living out her childhood. Unwillingly, she takes part in school celebrations, while her grandfather mourns over the greatest loss of his life: Tito and Yugoslavia. Post-war experiences.

Sonnenallee | Thorsten Brussig
B2 and up | East Berlin / 70’s and 80’s
On the shorter end of Sonnenallee, right next to the Berlin Wall, lives Micha Kuppisch. When he steps out of the front door, he can hear the calls of West Berlin school children from the look out platform. But Micha has another worry: Miriam. She is the most beautiful girl, far and wide, but is, unfortunately, already spoken for. Poignantly, Thomas Brussig relates how the sun shines, even in the shadow of the wall.

Die Nacht, die Lichter | Clemens Meyer
B2 and up | literature
They talk all night long, the young man and his lady friend. They have accidentally run into one another once again. She considers a life together, perhaps, but he knows it will never come to that. Clemens Meyer tells of a missed opportunity for love, the hope of hitting that one great prize of a lifetime, and the desire to make something of yourself. His heroes are people who battle with life, stumbling fortune seekers and restless creatures of the night.

Der Räuber Hotzenplotz | Ottfried Preußler
B2 and up | novel / humor |
Kasperl and Seppl sally forth to catch the wild robber Hotzenplotz who has stolen the grandmother’s coffee mill. By mischance, they end up in the hands of the robber and evil sorcerer Zwackelmann. No question, the story comes out good in the end, nonetheless.

Krabat | Ottfried Preußler
B2 and up | youth novel / computer game thriller |
In a London school, a computer game is being passed around: Erebos. The bootleg copy goes from hand to hand, and whoever plays it can never kick the habit. The rules of the game are extremely strict. It’s strange, however, that the tasks posed in Erebos must actually be carried out in the real world. Reality and the fiction of the game become blurred in a vexing way.

Erebos | Ursula Poznanski
B2 and up | youth novel / computer game thriller | ●
In a London school, a computer game is being passed around: Erebos. The bootleg copy goes from hand to hand, and whoever plays it can never kick the habit. The rules of the game are extremely strict. It’s strange, however, that the tasks posed in Erebos must actually be carried out in the real world. Reality and the fiction of the game become blurred in a vexing way.

Die Entdeckung der Currywurst | Uwe Timm
C1 and up | novel / love story
In remembrance of his childhood, the narrator sets out in search of the former owner of a fast food stand at Großneumarkt (a marketplace) in Hamburg. He finds a very elderly Lena Brücker in a nursing home and hears the story of her most wonderful years and how currywurst (curried sausage) came to be discovered. The bow tightens itself back to the last days of April in the year 1945.

Der Vorleser | Bernhard Schlink
C1 and up | novel
The fifteen-year old Michael gets to know Hanna, a woman in her mid-thirties. She becomes his first love. In spite of admitted tensions, both experience a period of happiness, but then Hanna disappears. Years later, Michael, now a law student, sees her once again in a courtroom. In the context of a seminar he is taking, he is participating as an observer in a war crimes trial. Hanna is accused and convicted of a terrible offence.

Nullzeit | Juli Zeh
C2 and up | novel / love triangle / thriller
Actually, the actress Jola arrives on the island with her significant other, Theo, in order to prepare for her next role. But as she gets to know Sven, what begins as a harmless flirt develops into a fatal love triangle that sets all former rules on end. Truth and lies, perpetrators and victims exchange places.

Die Vermessung der Welt | Daniel Kehlmann
C2 and up | novel / fictional double biography
With enigmatic humor, Daniel Kehlmann portrays the lives of two geniuses: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauß. He describes their longings and weaknesses, their tightrope walk between laughableness and greatness, failure and success. A philosophical adventure novel of rare fantasy, power and brilliance.

Bis zum Ende der Welt | Norbert Zähringer
C2 and up | adventure | authentic travel experience
After working many years, Kai and Ulrike want to cash it all in and leave everything behind. They get the itch to travel. To stroll through world history seemed the best way to live. They quit their jobs and started their journey. Physical ordeals, breath-taking landscapes, overwhelming bureaucracy, but also spontaneous acts of kindness left their marks on this journey.

All of the titles are suitable for both adults as well as young people. If they would especially appeal to a certain group, they are marked:

= especially suited for adults
= especially suited for youth

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