Best books and reading resources to learn German (2021)

Reading is an effective way to improve your German. Reading short stories, German news, autobiographies and novels in German will help you learn new words, practice words you already learned, pick up grammar and sentence construction patterns. Here is a list of 6  best German books and reading resources that you can use to improve your German.

1. Everyday German: Learn German with Dialogues for Beginners

Disclaimer: I am one of the authors of this book.

Learn German with 20 Dialogues on everyday topics. We wrote this book with one goal in mind – to help beginners to discover how Germans speak in daily life. The book will help you pick up words, phrases and sentence patterns to deal with almost any everyday situation. 

As you work through 20 dialogues, practice new vocabulary and answer questions, you’ll gain conversational confidence to handle all sorts of situations from shopping to going out to small talks with colleagues.

  • The English version of each dialogue appears right next to the German lines making it easier for you to learn from context.
  • Something no other book has to offer – audio tracks for each dialogues that you can access via a QR code scan. Read and listen to dialogues at the same time!
  • Each dialogue comes with a list of 10 essential words or phrases with at least one example sentence for each.
  • And the good news is that you don’t need a lot of time – reading and working through each dialogue shouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes a day. A bit of effort every day will help you build up your vocabulary and make real progress.

You can buy it in print version, for kindle or a PDF!

2. Short Stories in German

These German books with short stories come in different flavors and difficulty. They are a great way to get started with reading in German without too much stress.

Short stories in German for Beginners. An unmissable collection of eight unconventional and captivating short stories for young and adult learners.

100 German short stories for beginners. In this book, you will find 100 daily life short stories in the German language on different topics. Each section takes 1–2 minutes. Important words and phrases relevant to each topic were selected carefully. The aim of this book is to teach different topics, words, and phrases associated with them in a short period of time.

3. German fiction books for beginners

Another great way to get started. The German language in these books has been adapted for beginners. The language, storytelling, details have been simplified for you to be able to follow the stories in German. Here are my 4 favorite ones:

Ziemlich beste Freunde

Das Wunder von Bern

Tschick

Das Rosie Projekt

4. German News Websites

Reading news in German is another great way to expand your vocabulary. It improves your understanding of specialized vocabulary such as economic or political terms. Here are 5 news websites that you might want to start following:

Die Zeitan authoritative news portal that reports on global and local topics.

Deutsche Welle— along with daily news, you can also read simplified news.

Spiegel — another heavy-weight news authority on the German news space that puts an emphasis on complex political, economic and social analysis

Die Welt It is one of the oldest news agencies that has been around since the 1940s with a focus on global news.

Focus in addition to political reporting, focus also caters to topics of everyday relevance from the realms of family, health, finances, and career.

5. German language blogs and online magazines

Purpose: Learn more casual German vocabulary compared to news websites. Helps to stay engaged as you can follow blogs with topics that interest you such as cooking or crypto. Here are 5 leading German blogs across topics for you to start with:

  1. Planet Backpack is a fascinating and one of Germany’s top visited travel blogs.
  2. My Monk is a blog about meditation, self-awareness, and peace. It has hundreds of thousands of readers and is known for profound, deep, and diverse content.
  3. Have Fun At Work is a blog that hails from Austria and is known for practical content on professional growth and self-development. In their own words, you will find the best articles, reports, quotations, tips and information for a self-determined and meaningful way of working and living, business management and entrepreneurship.
  4. Marathon Fitness provides you with step-by-step strategies for your dream body, which you can start applying immediately.

6. Business books and autobiographies in German

Reading non-fiction books on the topics that you are familiar with can help in 2 ways. First, it expands your general vocabulary as your familiarity with the topic will make it easier for you to understand what the book is about. Also, it helps to learn vocabulary related to a specific topic. You will be able to hold meaningful conversations on those particular topics with more confidence!

For this category the sky’s the limit — you can find books in German on any topic whether it is about marketing or gardening or IT project management.

I personally love to read autobiographies in German. It’s much easier to understand what’s happening and you also have fun in the process!

Keep it fun!

Here you go – now you have a few free and affordable German book and reading resource options to improve your German. It’s important that you find something that you enjoy reading in any language. A good stress-test is is ask yourself – would I read this story or book in my own language? If the answer is yes, then go for it. The reason is that our brains are much faster at learning things when it knows that you are having fun!

Also make sure to use other ways of learning along books – check out this huge list of free German resources to discover German singers, news websites, blogs and youtube channels.

Mach’s gut!

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