Whilst deciding which books to read for German Literature Month in November, I thought I’d take stock of and publish the various German-themed reading projects I have on the go. As will become obvious, I struggle with sticking to an arbitrary limit. In other words, I believe you can never get too much of a good thing! On that basis feel free to recommend other titles in comments.

German Book Prize Winners

An ongoing project to read and review all the German Book Prize winners that have been translated into English. Hyperlinks to my reviews, interviews with translators, etc. My favourites are asterisked.

  • 2005 Arno Geiger We Are Doing Fine
  • 2006 Katharina Hacker The Have-Nots (TBR)
  • 2007 Julia Franck The Blind Side of the Heart *
  • 2008 Tellkamp, Uwe The Tower
  • 2009 Kathrin Schmidt You’re Not Dying *
  • 2010 Melinda Nadj Abonji Fly Away, Pigeon
  • 2011 Eugen Ruge In Times of Fading Light
  • 2012 Ursula Krechel Landgericht
  • 2013 Terézia Mora Das Ungeheuer
  • 2014 Lutz Seiler Kruso
  • 2015 Frank Witzel Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969
  • 2016 Kirchhoff, Bodo. Widerfahrnis
  • 2017 Robert Menasse The Capital
  • 2018 Inger-Maria Mahlke Archipel
  • 2019 Saša Stanišić Where You Come From (Wishlist)
  • 2020 Weber, Anne Annette, ein Heldinnenepos

German Romanticism (Start date November 2020)

I decided to make a project of this during German Literature Month X, November 2020. Limiting to 12 titles. Precious little progress to date as I am waiting to kick off the project proper with the book at the top of this list.

  • Peter Neumann Jena 1800: The Republic of Free Spirits (Forthcoming February 2022)
  • Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué Undine
  • Wilhelm Müller Die Winterreise
  • 4-12 To be determined

Age of The Weimar Republic (Begun in earnest 2019, prompted by the Bauhaus centennial)

My initial intention was a limit of 12, but the list currently stands at 19!Might as well round up to 20. Choices need not have been written in German. Series and books by the same author count as one choice. Favourites are asterisked.

  • Francis Ambler The Story of the Bauhaus * (English original)
  • Vicki Baum Grand Hotel *
  • Alfred Döblin Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Teresia Enzensberger Blueprint
  • Hans Fallada A Small Circus (TBR), Little Man, What Now? (To reread for review)
  • Leon Feuchtwanger The Oppermanns (Wishlist)
  • Hauke Friedrichs: The Gravediggers: 1932, The Last Winter of The Weimar Republic (TBR)
  • Anna Gmeyner Manja (TBR)
  • Ernst Haffner Blood Brothers (TBR)
  • Erich Kästner Going to the Dogs (The one I love to hate!)
  • Philip Kerr Metropolis * (English original)
  • Irmgard Keun The Artificial Silk Girl; Gilgi, One of Us *
  • Dirk Kurbjuweit The Missing (TBR)
  • Volker Kutscher The Gereon Rath series: Babylon Berlin, A Silent Death, Goldstein (TBR), The Fatherland Files (TBR) (Thereafter, the series takes us to the Third Reich.)
  • Jason Lutes Berlin (The classic graphic trilogy)(English original)
  • Gabriele Tergit Käsebier Takes Berlin
  • Ernst Toller The Swallow Book (Forthcoming January 2022)
  • Kurt Tucholsky Berlin! Berlin! (TBR)
  • Various Memories of Bauhaus People (TBR)
  • Naomi Wood The Hiding Game * (English original)

The (Tentacles of) The Third Reich (In which ad hoc reading transforms into a bona fide reading list.)

I resist reading about this era … or I thought I did. Yet with a few masterpieces that I read years ago (because they demand inclusion), I’ve ended up with the longest reading and recommendation list of them all! Just think what would have happened, if I had just let myself go! 😳 Series and books by the same author count as one choice, and books need not have been written in German. Asterisked favourites in this list are all 5-star reads.

  • Jurek Becker Jacob The Liar *
  • Heinrich Böll What’s To Become of The Boy?
  • Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz The Passenger
  • Catherine Chidgey Remote Sympathy *, The Wish Child (TBR) (English original)
  • Sarah Colen-Scali Max (French) (TBR)
  • Jonathan Crown Sirius (TBR)
  • Hans Fallada Alone in Berlin *, The Drinker (TBR), A Stranger in My Own Country (Wishlist)
  • Günter Grass Crabwalk; The Tin Drum * (Part 1, Part 2) Part 3 is post WWII.
  • W F Hermans A Guardian Angel Recalls (Review forthcoming), An Untouched House, The Darkroom of Damocles * (Dutch original)
  • Oliver Hilmes Berlin 1936 (TBR)
  • Egon Hostovsky The Hideout (TBR) (Czech original)
  • Irmgard Keun After Midnight (Review forthcoming)
  • Alexander Kluge Air Raid *
  • Volker Kutscher The Gereon Rath series: The March Fallen (TBR)
  • Siegfried Lenz The German Lesson (TBR), The Turncoat
  • Gert Ledig The Stalin Front
  • Jo Nesbo The Redbreast * (Norwegian original) (Reread required for review)
  • Heinz Rein – Berlin Finale (TBR)
  • Dirk Reinhardt The Edelweiss Pirates (TBR)
  • Anna Seghers The Seventh Cross (TBR), Transit
  • Jan Terlouw Winter in Wartime (Dutch original)
  • Volker Weidermann – Summer before The Dark *
  • Karin Wieland Dietrich and Riefenstahl (TBR)
  • Fred Uhlman Reunion * (English original)
  • Eric Vuillard The Order of The Day (TBR) French original)
  • Takis Würger Stella (TBR)
  • Barbara Yelin Irmina (Graphic novel)

There’s also the matter of dealing with the aftermath, long-enduring legacies and the difficulties/impossibilities of coming to terms with it all.

The DDR

More ad hoc reading choices turning into project proportions. How long will this list become? I know by now that putting a limit on it would be a pointless exercise.

Deutsche Welle: 100 German Novels You Must Read

The list is here. I don’t actually want to read them all, but I’d like to work through those on my shelves. Status: 10.10.2021 Read 37 DNF 3 TBR 20