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I'm looking for simple but well-known and interesting German literature to improve my reading comprehension as an intermediate learner. It should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Well-known: Either classical literature, or contemporary and popular.
  • Interesting: Should not be written for young children. Harry Potter passes, Green Eggs and Ham does not.
  • Simple: On average, the sentences should not be very long, and most words among the 4000 most common. To quantify, let's say around 70 German Flesch Reading Ease. I took some (too small) random samples and found that Schätzing's Der Schwarm scores 30, while Zweig's Schachnovelle scores 55 and the Harry Potter translation 75.
  • „Standard“: Not much deviation from Hochdeutsch, and not much slang.
  • Original: Originally written in German. Revisions that make the work conform to neue Rechtschreibung and update archaic words are welcome but not necessary.

Please detail any other properties that make the book useful for learners. One book per answer, please.

Please add Title, Author, short description, optional ISBN / link to database, and a note on the difficulty level if possible. Look at an example answer given further down to get an idea of a consistent formatting. You answers here may be written in German or in English.

Note for Amazon book links: Amazon links will automatically be converted to Stackexchange affiliate links with the following syntax:<reference_number>
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The original part makes it quite hard.. :P –  poke May 30 '11 at 12:00
You should use the adapted scale for German texts: –  Phira May 30 '11 at 12:05

36 Answers 36

Anna Seghers Das siebte Kreuz Standard school book in Germany.

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In my opinion, the best things ever written in German language deal with philosophy. If you are interested in politics and history, give the Communist Manifesto a try. It is a simple read, as it was meant to be understood by working class people.

Other writers in German language who say meaningful things in a (rather) simple language include Sigmund Freud, Karl Popper, Arthur Schopenhauer, Konrad Lorenz.

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I just finished re-reading "der Fliegenmelker" by Rafik Shami. A serie of short stories from people living in Damascus in the 50'. Very funny, very human and easy to read.

Because I read mainly during my public transit times, I prefer short stories :)

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Cornelia Funke, 1997, ISBN-13: 978-3791504544, Amazon

Interessant geschriebene Geschichte über den Drachen Lung, der sich mit seinen Gefährten auf die Suche nach einem sicheren Platz für seine Artgenossen macht. In der Menschenwelt gibt es nämlich keinen Platz mehr für Drachen.

Schwierigkeit: mittel bis fortgeschritten

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A classic German book for parents to read to their children is Katze mit Hut by Simon & Desi Ruge, 1980. It's similar to Pippi Langstrumpf in style, so mostly aimed at beginners, and it's quite funny.

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There are thess special kind of books called Easy Reader. They are adult books but then rewritten in a limited vocabulary. There are a few levels depending on the size of your vocabulary.

Look at this site.

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protected by Takkat May 21 '13 at 7:11

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