Top 10 German Books


Top 10 German Books

In our spare time we like to watch TV, meet friends, exercise or go to the cinema. But when was the last time you read a really good book? One that captivates you and draws you into a different world? If you can’t remember, then it’s time for you to look at our list of what we think are the 10 best German contemporary books. Most of them have been translated into English and some of them have even been made into movies.


English = Translated into English


film = Turned into a movie


Mieses Karma – Bad Karma (David Safir, 2007)

EnglishPoor Kim. She’s about to win a price for her television work when she gets hit by the remains of a Russian space station and dies. “On the other side” she learns about all the bad karma she seems to have collected over the years. As a punishment she’s reborn as an ant. In order to work her way up the karma ladder and possibly become human again one day, she has to be nice to others and do good deeds. Will Kim succeed?

Die weiße Massai – The white Masai (Corinne Hofmann, 1998)

EnglishfilmThis story, written by the Swiss author Corinne Hofmann, is based on a true story – hers to be exact. In the late 80’s, Corinne and her boyfriend go on holiday to Africa, where she falls in love with Lketinga, a Masai warrior. She dumps her boyfriend and stays in Africa. They get married and have a baby. It all seems perfect until Lketinga’s jealousy kicks in. Can they be happy after all?

Der Schwarm – The Swarm (Frank Schätzing, 2004)

EnglishA fisherman from Peru vanishes without a trace, a Norwegian oil company discovers strange worms in the depths of the oceans, a Canadian cargo ship cannot be manoeuvred due to a sea shell plague and whales attack all the ships trying to rescue it. Is a catastrophe about to happen?

Er ist wieder da – He’s back (Timur Vermes, 2012)

EnglishWhat would happen if Hitler was alive today? On a lovely spring day in 2011 Hitler wakes up in a field somewhere in Berlin. He has a headache and doesn’t really remember much after being in the bunker with Eva. He’s surprised to find Berlin intact and not run over by the Russians. People obviously recognise him but assume he’s just a comedian. He appears on several TV shows, YouTube and even joins the German neo Nazi party NPD. However, Hitler is shocked by the neo Nazis lack of enthusiasm and decides to write a book and start his own party… now doesn’t that sound familiar?

Tschik (Wolfgang Herrndorf, 2010)

With his mum in rehab and his dad travelling with his secretary, Maik has to spend the summer holidays alone at home. At least that’s what he thought. His plans change, when his Russian friend Tschik turns up unexpectedly – with a stolen car. With no map and a small tent the underage friends go on a road trip to Romania, where Tschik’s grandfather lives. How will their adventure end?

Das Parfum – The Perfume (Patrick Süskind, 1985)

EnglishfilmThis novel, written by Patrick Süskind, explores the world of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a French perfume apprentice who is fascinated by smells. In search of the “perfect scent” he stalks and murders young women and virgins. Will he ever be able to captivate the smell of a woman and create the ultimate perfume?

Schneewittchen muss sterben (Nele Neuhaus, 2010)

On a rainy November evening a woman is pushed off a bridge onto the road. Police officers Pia and Oliver have one suspect in mind – a man who allegedly kidnapped 2 girls many years ago. He was found guilty and sent to prison, but was released a few years later and has now moved back into town. A little while later another young woman disappears. All eyes are on him now. Did he really do it or is he just the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

Hummeldumm (Tommi Jaud, 2010)

Matze and Sina have been together for over 7 years. They just found a flat in Cologne, which they want to buy. But before they sign the paperwork, they go on a group tour to Namibia for 2 weeks. For Matze this trip turns into a nightmare when he realises that “every turtle is faster than the internet” and that the people they’re travelling with are all rather annoying. But it gets worse – he forgot to put down a deposit for the flat. He’s trying to get in touch with the estate agent… but with a dying battery and no phone charger this turns into quite a challenge.

Rubinrot – Ruby Red (Kerstin Gier 2011)

Englishfilm This book is the first part of the “Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten” fantasy trilogy. Gwendolyn Shepherd’s family has a gene which allows them to travel through time. Her beautiful and sophisticated cousin Charlotte is prepared for a life of travelling through time as she is next in line to inherit the gene. But unexpectedly it is Gwendolyn, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! She now has to learn how to ride, fence and how to behave in different time periods while her cousin Charlotte and another time traveller called Gideon are making her life harder than it already is. Will she be able to fulfil her destiny?

Das Jesus Video – Jesus Video (Andreas Eschbach, 1998)

EnglishfilmIsrael. In a 2000 year old tomb archaeologists find the manual for a Japanese video camera. But how did it get there?
Analysis shows that the manual is in fact 2000 years old, but the video camera is not even on the market yet. There is only one explanation. Way in the future, time travelling has been discovered. The man, whose remains were found in the grave, must have travelled back in time to find out the truth about the existence of Jesus Christ. But what did he do with the camera?

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