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. 1000 German words you need to learn
Disclaimer: I am one of the authors of this book.
This self-study exercise book will help you expand your German vocabulary in a fun and effective way. There are thousands of words to learn, but some are more relevant and practical than others. Helping you discover those useful words is exactly the goal of this book. You'll discover 5 new words and 1 bonus phrase or idiom every day and work through fun exercises to understand how these words are used in daily life and business. Each word comes with multiple examples and grammar details. This book is ideal for you if you are at A2 level or higher and now trying to bring your German to the next level. The book comes with a built-in spaced repetition system - words you learn in one part will popup in different places of the book to help you review and practice them over time. Within 200 days, you'll know so many useful and practical German words that expressing yourself fluently will become much, much easier. These words will serve as a solid foundation to get you to the coveted C1 level.
Available on Amazon.
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:
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 Zeit — an 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.
Handelsblatt — news and articles about business and entrepreneurship.
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:
- Planet Backpack is a fascinating and one of Germany’s top visited travel blogs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Here are a few autobiographies you might enjoy reading:
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!