When it comes to reading, many teachers recommend simple stories or novels to get started. However, non-fiction books are another great way to improve your reading skills in a foreign language.
Learning German from Non-Fiction Books
Why do we recommend non-fiction for beginners and early intermediates? The answer is that non-fiction books are often written in much simpler language. Most non-fiction books try to bring a point across - they are not trying to sound particularly beautiful or impress you with metaphors. You won't have to keep track of a thousand characters and there won't be much of an attempt to include slang or regional idioms in order to make the story sound more realistic.
Non-fiction books are way more straightforward and are written in plain, natural language.
Another advantage of reading non-fiction in order to learn German is that you might know a little bit (or quite a bit!) about the topic. This is very helpful, as you are less likely to lose the plot or get lost.
- the voice of non fiction is always very similar: not such a striking difference like reading Jane Eyre or Lolita.
.... Philosophy, etc. is also non fiction
Best German Non-Fiction
1. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim – Die kleinste gemeinsame Wirklichkeit
2. Richard David Precht
3. Erzählende Affen - Mythen, Lügen, Utopien
4. Reclam Sachbuch (die Pest, etc.)
5. Das geheime Leben der Bäume
Rolf Dobelli – Die Kunst des guten Lebens
Bastian sick Helmut Schmidt Wilhelm Schmid Rüdiger Safranski
Manfred Spitzer Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo Darm mit Charme
Ferdinand von Schirach – Jeder Mensch
Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre – Panikherz
Hape Kerkeling - Ich bin dann mal weg
A short rant:
Reading nonfiction in German is one of the best things a beginner can do. You should definitely try to improve your German language skills by reading novels, literature and poetry - and so on. But reading non-fiction is especially helpful. We also have a lot of non fiction published in German every month. And then there are also German books on politics, philosophy and culture that have originally been published in English or other languages. Those are really great for learning too. Especially when you have read them already in a different language. Reading those in German can really boost your language skills.