The 4 German Books That Work for Students Learning the Language

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According to research, one of the fastest ways to help someone learn a foreign language is to get them to read it. One study concludes that reading materials in a foreign language are instrumental in speeding up the student’s understanding of the language. It also makes it easier for them to start speaking it.

German is one of the most popular languages that international students are studying. Approximately 130 million people speak German all over the world, and at any given moment, 15.4 million people are learning how to speak the language. About 90 percent of these students are school-aged and the remainder comprise adult learners.

Many excellent German books for instructors are online, but which ones can students read? Although textbooks and audiobooks are fine for classroom settings, students may prefer some that are engaging enough to read in their free time.

The following is a list of books that are perfect for German language students of all ages. Each book is fascinating enough that they’ll love reading it and will be instructional in their language studies.

“Tintenwelt-Trilogie” by Cornelia Funke

English Translation: “Inkworld Trilogy”

Recommended Reader Age: Pre-teens to teenagers

The Inkworld trilogy, comprising “Tintenherz,” ”Tintenblut,” and ”Tintentod,” are suited for younger students. The series follows the adventures of Meggie Folchart and her father Mo, who pull fictional characters out of books by reading out loud. Together, they encounter numerous fictional heroes and are immersed in the battles of the titular Inkworld. The series itself is an ode to the love of reading, the power of books, and the wonder of the written word.

“Tagebuch der Anne Frank” by Anne Frank

English Translation: “The Diary of Anne Frank”

Recommended Reader Age: Teens to Adults

The diary is the tragic autobiography of Anne Frank, detailing her life and times in Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Born in a Dutch-Jewish family, Anne Frank and her family had to go into hiding during the occupation to prevent being sent to the infamous concentration camps. The diary spans her life in hiding and concludes shortly before her family’s capture. Posthumously published by her father Otto Frank, “Tagebuvh der Anne Frank” is a bleak and haunting remembrance of that dark era in world history.

“Das Parfum” by Patrick Süskind

English Translation: “Perfume”

Recommended Reader Age: Late Teens to Adults

This historical novel chronicles the birth and rise to infamy of a French murderer. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born in 18th-century Paris with an incredible sense of smell. Through hard work and by carefully using his gift, Jean-Baptiste becomes an expert perfumer. However, his obsession becomes sinister when he begins to collect the scents of young women, murdering them to preserve the essences in hopes of creating the most wondrous perfume of them all. This wonderfully researched, deeply erotic, and well-written novel is an excellent way to explore German and the most fleeting sense of all.

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche

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English Translation: “Thus Spake Zarathustra”

Recommended Reader Age: Late Teens to Adults

The English translation of Nietzsche’s first forays into the school of nihilism is a popular read among collegiate students. In it, the German philosopher tackles Christianity, speaks of empowering superior men, and the horrors of eternal recurrence. Although English translations can be relied upon to accurately convey the weight of Nietzsche’s philosophy, reading it in its original language could carry more meaning and expose the reader to more esoteric terminologies.

With the help of these authors and their words, students can have an easier time building their German vocabulary. These books also help students understand not just the German language, but also their mindsets and achieve a level of fluency that transcends words.

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