German Girl in America Book Corner -Find your next Favorite Book!
The first printed book was in German… and Germany publishes about 94,000 titles per year. So, it’s no wonder I love to read! (It’s in the genes!) And I love to recommend books (maybe I should have become a librarian?). Rather than start a book club (getting all of you in my house could be a bit tricky) I thought it would be best to create the German Girl in America Book Corner. Basically, it’s a list of books that I’ve read and loved (or liked very much). I’m also including books suggested by other people. You can use this list as a starting place for deciding what to put on your “to read next” pile.
Fair warning, I have eclectic tastes. The List contains everything from east Fiction to Mystery, History to biography, Children’s Books to cook books. The only absolute rule is that they must relate in SOME WAY to Germany … either the book is about Germany, has a German Author, it relates to Germany somehow, or they are in German. (If I find the links in English AND German, I’ll include both).
I’ve organized the list (a bit) so that the books are easier to find. AND… I have every intention of continuing to add to the list. (Especially now, since I’m going through a few books a week.)
I’m also open to suggestions! So, if you read anything wonderful that you think goes on the list…send me an email with the name, and why you think it belongs. [email protected]
This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage of any product sales at no cost to you.
German Girl in America Book Corner
Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch- Rivka Galchen
In 1618, widow Katherina Kepler, mother of Johannes Kepler (astronomer and mathematician), stands accused of witchcraft by her neighbor Ursula Reinhold. The true story, told from Katherina’s point of view, shows what life under a cloud of suspicion and superstition in a small town at the onset of the Thirty Years War. Rivka Galchen turns historical source materials… including testimonials and court reporting… into a very readable story.
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
The Hangman’s Daughter series are mystery/thrillers set in Medieval Germany. These International Bestsellers are page-turners! What makes them even more fun is knowing that the author comes from a family of Executioners…
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The story of ordinary people living in a German Village during WWII, as seen through the eyes of Trudi, a dwarf. This is book one of the Burgdorf Cycle (and all are great reads!)
Ursula Hegi The Burgdorf Cycle Boxed Set: Floating in My Mother’s Palm, Stones from the River, The Vision of Emma Blau. Children and Fire
Ashes to Ashes: An Emma Wilde Novel by Susanne Bacon
Susanne Bacon’s latest book is slight departure from the Wycliff stories. Emma Wilde, culture writer for a Stuttgart newspaper stumbles across an arson case in a local barn, where things don’t quite add up. She ends up on the trail of an arsonist who seems determined to destroy a famous horse. But, is it the horse’s owner or his famous equestrienne ex-wife? Along the way, she learns about Stuttgart’s legendary history of horses… and meets someone who may just be the One. I enjoyed relaxing with this fun “who done it”.
Ashes to Ashes: An Emma Wilde Novel
The Good American by Alex George
The story of a third Generation living in Missouri. A nice combination of “soul food and sauerkraut”. The book is filled with music, food, and hanging on to heritage.
Perfume the Story of a Murderer- Patrick Suskind
German Author Patrick Suskind writes an engaging murder mystery about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who is born with a perfect sense of smell.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Master Butcher’s Singing Club- Louise Erdrich
The story of Fidelis, a German Butcher who marries his friend pregnant widow, and then settles in America after WWI. A German success story, with music and Aufschnitt!
The Master Butchers Singing Club: A Novel
All the Light We Can Not See- Anthony Doerr
The story of a blind French girl and a young German soldier, and how their lives intersect. A lovely book, well worth the Pulitzer Prize.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Suggested by Marion, the book was originally written in German; and it plays in post-war Germany.
Delicate Dreams and the Wycliff Series by Susanne Bacon
My friend Susanne gets a second mention, because I really enjoy her books (and she’s such a good friend). The Wycliff series begins with Delicate Dreams, the story of Dottie, a German woman who opens a German Deli in Washington State. The rest of the series is about the other people in town, and Dottie is more of a side character… but I’m sure you will enjoy getting to know the citizens of this small town as well as I did. Read my review of the whole Wycliff series here
Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Selier Scott
A Polish/German family, a mother with 4 children, on the run from the advancing Russian Army at the end of World War 2. This story hit close to home. For a longer review -> Threaten to Undo Us
There is a fascination with Cowboys and Indians in Germany. The Winnetou stories were best-sellers, and are still familiar to so many people. Read about Charlie, a German fresh off the boat, who heads to the Old West, battles bears, and makes friends with a Native America named Winnetou. (Read more about Karl May and Winnetou here)
Winnetou (Unabridged 2008 translation of Winnetou I)
Islands in the Storm by Susanne Bacon
A German Gallery owner goes to the British Channel Islands to forget a broken engagement, instead of peace, she discovers a mystery complete with Art Fraud, a German Poem, and ties to WWII history. A very engaging book that was just re-translated and published in English.
Also available in German
Homeland: A Novel by John Jakes
Suggested by Petra… “Pauli from Berlin emigrates to America. A big fat hardcover book ! Weeee.” And it’s the first of a series!
Homeland: A Novel (The Crown Family Saga Book 1)
The Ark and Rowan Farm by Margot Benary-Isbert
Suggested by Leslie. (Die Arche Noah and Die Ebereschenhof in German). Wonderful stories. THE ARK is about the Lechow family, displaced from Pomerania after World War II to another part of Germany and trying to survive find a home in the terrible postwar conditions. They are also worrying about their father, a doctor; the last they’ve heard of him is that he was in a Russian prison camp.. The book focuses mostly on 14-year-old Margret, but there’s also her mother, older brother Matthias, younger sister Andrea, younger brother Joey. It was written in German and published right after the war, then translated and published in the US. It is wonderful.
German Girl in America Book Corner -Non- Fiction
Biography / Autobiography
Belonging- Nora Krug
This graphic novel by Nora Krug follows her search to find out about her family’s WWII history, and coming to terms with that history. I absolutely LOVE this book, and feel like it was written for my generation. For a longer review–> Belonging
Also available in German
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home
Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner
The incredible first hand account of a family divided by the Berlin Wall. When her Grandmother Hanna escaped the DDR at age 20, she only had minimal contact to family. Scratchy occasional phone calls, and a few letters and packages.Years later, the author found herself stationed in Berlin. This really is a fascinating and heartbreaking story.
Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
Hardship to Homeland: Pacific Northwest Volga Germans by Richard Scheuerman and Clifford Trafzer
This fascinating book details the history of the Volga Germans, from the time that Russian Empress Catherine II invited them to settle the Volga River area of Russia to buffer her country against the Ottoman Empire. It covers their move from Germany to Russia, how they lived there, and what made them eventually leave to go to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. The final part of the book details the settlement of the Pacific Northwest, and their influences on the region’s politics and religion.
Hardship to Homeland: Pacific Northwest Volga Germans (Revised, Expanded)
Too Brown to Keep: A Search for Love, Forgiveness, and Healing by Judy Fambrough-Billingsley
Judy Fambrough-Billingsley’s was born in Germany to a German mother and an African-American Soldier. Her mother put her up for adoption, and she and her sister ended up in America with a loving family. Her story tells about the Brown Babies adoption program, and how she was able to reunite with some of her family in Germany.
Too Brown to Keep: A Search for Love, Forgiveness, and Healing
View Master The Biography of William B Gruber by Gretchen Jane Gruber
View Master is a loving and engaging biography of the success story of William Gruber, the inventor of the View Master (that device that you could see pictures on disks through). I enjoyed reading about how a German made it in America…despite some difficulties.
My Berlin Kitchen – by Louisa Weiss
Louisa Weiss (blogger and Cookbook author) born in Berlin to American /Italian parents describes a life of going back and forth, in search of a country… and a partner… while learning to cooking up fabulous meals! There are recipes in each chapter (I’ll be making Pflaumenmuß as soon as plums are ripe)!
My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life
The Lost German Slave Girl by John Bailey
After my post about Germans in New Orleans, someone suggested I read “The Lost German Slave Girl”. It was quite interesting… this true story covered a bit about German immigration to New Orleans, and what happened with things didn’t go smoothly. (It’s not stated in the book, but I have a feeling this case has a lot to do with the German societies meeting incoming immigrant ships to help newcomers navigate the system). The story focusses on a woman who after arriving in New Orleans with her family as a child, somehow got separated, and ended up in Slavery. She’s “found” 20 years later by relatives, and the German community rallies see that she’s declared free. In the end, you are left wondering… was she really Salome Müller?
The book is perfect for people who love a True Crime Legal Thriller.
The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans
The Candy Bomber the Story of the Berlin Airlift’s Candy Bomber by Michael Tunnell
There are many books about US Air Force Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen, the Berlin Candy Bomber, but this one is my favorite! Loads of pictures and an engaging story. (I love how he proposed). This book was intended for younger readers, but I love it.
Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s
The German Boy: A Child in War by Wolfgang Samuel
The story of a family on the escaping from the advancing Russian Army at the end of WW2, told by the 10 year old boy who lived it. This book is heartbreaking, but a very good read.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany by Eleanor Ramrath Garner
Karin recommends this one (and I’ve already got it in my shopping cart). Eleanor was a young American girl who was caught in Germany after WWII broke out.She is now a gracious beautiful lady in her nineties who lives in San Diego and is a member of our American German Society.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany
The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History by Thomas Harding
The story of a house, and a family, on a lake just outside Berlin. This engaging read is a time capsule of one hundred years of Berlin history. Read more of my review here
The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History
Shortest History of Germany by James Hawes
Were you asleep when they taught German History? Want to learn more than just 20th century German History… but quickly? This is the book for you. Quick, thorough, and engaging! For a longer review–> Shortest History of Germany
Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Tim Mohr
An interesting look at the effect that Punk Rock had on the East German Government, and the fall of the Wall. I found it a fascinating glimpse at life behind the Wall.
Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Berlin: The Story of a City by Barney White-Spunner
I really enjoyed this engaging history of Berlin… starting from the time when it was just two small fishing villages along the Spree. Through the Kaisers, the War, the Wall… and up to today. Read more of my review here
Beyond Bratwurst: A History of Food in Germany (Foods and Nations) by Ursula Heinzelmann
I love history and I love food, so I couldn’t put this book down. It’s filled with unexpected tidbits of information… and explains how and why Germans enjoy the foods we all love so much. The book starts at the very beginnings, when the area was still inhabited by hunter gatherers, takes us through imports like spices and potatoes, explains how nationalism ties into menus, covers food rationing and how diet changed due to war….and even talks about modern food trends.
Beyond Bratwurst: A History of Food in Germany (Foods and Nations)
Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee by Ann Marie Ackermann
A mayor in Germany is assassinated in 1835, and locals are unable to solve the crime. Years later, the murderer is uncovered in America. An interesting insight to how crimes were solved in the 19th century, as well as an interesting look at a time in American History that I didn’t know much about. (The defending Robert E Lee part seems like a stretch to me though…)
Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee (True Crime History)
In the Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson
A close look at the American Ambassador to Berlin, Germany in the 1930s (and his family). It’s interesting to see how Americans viewed Germany during this lead-up to World War II. For a longer review–> In the Garden of Beasts
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (2012-05-01)
George, Nicholas and Wilhelm by Miranda Carter
King George of England, Czar Nicholas of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany were all cousins… yet their family feud led to WW! An interesting look at the interaction between countries and related royal families.
George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850 by Teva Scheer
An interesting look at what it was like to live in Germany from 1500 to 1850. All aspects of life are examined… from birth to death, jobs, land and leadership. For a longer review–> Our Daily Bread
Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850
Death in the Baltic- Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff- by Cathryn Prince
Over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, drowned when the Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed at the end of WW2. Yet most people have never heard of this maritime disaster.
The End of the German Monarchy: The Decline and Fall of the Hohenzollerns by John Van Der Kiste
The end of an era… the abdication of Hohenzollerns. Learn all about the family, and what led to their end… and what are they doing now?
The End of the German Monarchy: The Decline and Fall of the Hohenzollerns
German History in America
Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 by Aaron Spencer Fogleman
The importance of German immigration to Colonial America. This is more of a text book.
Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (Early American Studies)
Germans of Louisiana by Ellen Merrill
For a while, New Orleans had the largest German population south of the Mason-Dixon line. I loved learning about how Germans took care of each other when they arrived to this hot new world. Read about my visit to the Deutsches Haus in NOLA
Germans in Milwaukee by Jill Florence Lackey
Germans in Milwaukee are more than just German Fest and Usingers… this corner by corner description of German influences is a fascinating look at the city of Milwaukee.
Germans in Milwaukee: A Neighborhood History (American Heritage)
Tor The story of German Football by Uli Hesse
If you love German Fußball… this book should be on your bookshelf.
Tor! The Story of German Football
Find my Favorite German Cookbooks in English HERE–> German Cookbooks in English
Find some of my Favorite Children’s Books in German and English HERE–> German Children’s Books
Any suggestions for the German Girl in America Book Corner??? Leave a comment or send me an email- [email protected]
How about “Lights & Shadows: Discoveries Away From Home”? It’s about how Germans, Americans and Chinese look at and react to each other’s cultural values. This is a good time to read it, because you might even discover how our attitudes toward society might influence our dealing with a social crisis, though I wrote it before knowing anything about the coronavirus. It’s non fiction, no final truths but something to ponder and discuss. End of advertisement! 🙂
This looks great… and I’ve ordered it.
(I have a feeling this page will be hard on my bank account!)
Tag Karenanne, Thanks for sharing all these book titles. I’ve already read the book by Anthony Doerr; I know I’ll enjoy some more of these books. May I suggest another book…”Under the SS Shadow” by Traugott Vogel. A young boy, son of an SS officer, tells of growing up in Hitler’s youth, and hating the people who killed his father. His life takes an unexpected turn to a surprising ending. It’s a true story, and I enjoyed it so much.
thank you… I’m always looking for books to add to the stack