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© Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag/Argon-Verlage.de
© Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag/Argon-Verlage.de

What They're Reading in Germany Fall 2016

Picture of Lily Cichanowicz
Updated: 18 October 2016
Now that summer is winding down and the weather is getting cooler, there is nothing like cozying up with a good book. For those who are looking for some literary suggestions, we’ve scoured the polls to put together this list of the most popular books in Germany right now. While not all of these are published in English yet, keep an eye out because their popularity will likely elevate them into the international spotlight given enough time.

Das geheime Leben der Bäume by Peter Wohlleben

In English, Das geheime Leben der Bäume translates to ‘The Secret Lives of Trees’. Many Germans would attest to the value this culture places on nature and the importance of conserving it. Therefore, it makes sense that a book like this one would rise to popularity. Author Peter Wohlleben brings forests to life in unprecedented ways in his exploration of the inner lives of trees. He reveals that they communicate with each other, experience emotions, have memories, and even care for one another. By exposing audiences to their vitality, Das geheime Leben der Bäume invites us to explore a world which has hitherto remained hidden in plain sight.

Selection. Die Krone by Kiera Cass

While captivating works of nonfiction will always have a place in our hearts, sometimes what we are looking for is a gripping page-turner. Readers will find this in Kiera Cass’, Selection. Die Krone, which means, ‘Selection. The Crown’, in German. The book immerses audiences into Cass’s fantastical kingdom of Illeá once again. This time, the story follows the heiress, Eadlyn as she selects a husband from a group of suitors, each with his own mini-drama attached. Plus, this entire situation largely arose after Eadlyn’s mother suddenly collapses, meaning that the young heiress must assume the responsibility of rule at an unexpected time. This novel is enthralling from start to finish.

Das Seelenleben der Tiere by Peter Wohlleben

Peter Wohlleben is the author of another one of Germany’s most popular books at the moment, though this one focuses on the earth’s more visibly animated creatures. Das Seelenleben der Tiere, which means ‘the mental lives of animals’, reveals a riveting depiction of the true depth and complexity of earth’s many other living inhabitants, traits that are often reserved exclusively for humans and our closest primate relatives. This book will surely change the way you think about the animals in your world. The range and intensity of their feelings and the connections they foster with one another are no less compelling than our own.

Bretonische Flut by Jean-Luc Bannalec

Set on the western coast of Brittany, Jean-Luc Bannalec’s Bretonische Flut is a mystery. After the body of a murdered fisherman was discovered, police Commissioner Dupin begins to notice a host of different suspicious instances in the village and the areas surrounding through his investigations. Of course, the islands to which his search takes him are also ridden with superstition and seemingly supernatural activity. What sets this book apart is the vividness of the descriptions found throughout the book, a manifestation of the author’s personal connection to the setting.

Ich hatte mich jünger in Erinnerung by Monika Bittl and Silke Neumayer

Titled Ich hatte mich jünger in Erinnerung, which roughly translates to ‘in remembrance of my younger self’, this nonfiction work by Monika Bittl and Silke Neumayer takes readers on a fascinating psychological exploration of the ways we change internally and externally with age, focusing largely on the means through which these things play out in our existing society. For instance, they remark on the task of buying reading glasses for the first time and how the people we encounter begin to view us differently as we get older. The novel aims to offer some perspective through humor to the process of aging which is simultaneously terrifying and beautiful.

Über uns der Himmel, unter uns das Meer by Jojo Moyes

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes makes a successful return with her novel, Über uns der Himmel, unter uns das Meer, which translates to ‘about the sky and the sea below us’. This enchanting work follows 600 women as they embark on a journey from Australia to England via aircraft carrier in 1946. From nurses to army wives, many of the ship’s passengers were temporarily living in the South Pacific for various reasons because of World War II. The story centers around four women in particular, who are sharing a cabin on the ship. They are from vastly different walks of life, but soon become close as they realize how much they have in common over the impending uncertainty of their lives upon arriving in England.

Das Kind in dir muss Heimat finden by Stefanie Stahl

Das Kind in dir muss Heimat finden, which translates to ‘the child in you needs to find a home’, offers a convincing solution to many of our most personal problems. In this book, author Stefanie Stahl proposes that we must get in touch with our inner child in order to understand that deep down all of us desire to be loved and accepted, just as we have since our earliest days of youth. She asserts that in various ways, we have all been damaged in our abilities to feel trust and assurance from others and within ourselves. To thrive, we must heal the damaged inner child in order to regain more conscious control over the outcomes of our relationships and personal ventures at present.

Bella Germania by Daniel Speck

Daniel Speck’s Bella Germania is structured much like 100 Years of Solitude in that it follows a large family over three generations. Yet, this story is about a German-Italian clan of captivating characters. There is a lot of boldness and color thrown in, painting a tale of people at their best and worst, detailing the story of Vincent and Giulietta’s great love from the start to its tragic completion. Of course, the setting in which this epic story takes place — ranging from Milan to Munich — is as dynamic as any of the protagonists themselves. Speck does a phenomenal job in telling the story, and his literary style alone is reason enough to pick up a copy of this book.

Berlin 1936 by Oliver Hilmes

In Berlin 1936, Oliver Hilmes takes readers back in time to Berlin’s 1936 Olympic games, which were held under Nazi rule. Hilmes details this 16-day event by following famous people along with others who were completely unknown at the time. Indeed, the 1936 Olympics largely served as an eerie manifestation of Nazism and the precarious geo-political climate playing out on the global scale at the time. In attempting to cover up their intolerance towards Jews and cultivate good publicity, the Nazis undergo a series of forced attempts to make Berlin appear as the thriving metropolis and capital of the Third Reich. This is a must-read for history buffs and sports enthusiasts alike.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Of course, Germany doesn’t exist under a rock. It makes sense that JK Rowling’s new release, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be the number one bestseller right now in the nation. Who can resist the nostalgia of one of the world’s most popular series? This edition comes in the form of a stage play, and many fans are reading the printed version in addition to catching it at the theatre. The story follows Harry as he struggles with the daily trials of adult life, working as an employee at the Ministry of Magic and balancing the demands of a family. The plot thickens as we learn about Potter’s youngest son, Albus, who is struggling under the weight of his family’s past and quite possibly becoming susceptible to a darker path of his own.