Announcing: 12 Germans in 2016


During this year’s German Literature Month, I realized just how many unread German books I have. A month would never be enough to catch up. So I’m very excited to introduce the 12 Germans in 2016 event: 12 books in 12 months, and a little dent in the pile.

It has been surprisingly hard to decide which books to read. I’ve tweaked my list for the past two months. In the end, I picked 12 books that have been on the shelf for a while and that have been translated into English. Why? So you can join me, if you want! I’d love to have some company while I read.

Without further ado, here are the titles I’ve lined up for next year:

Saša Stanišić, Wie der Soldat das Grammofon Repariert
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, tr. Anthea Bell

Alina Bronsky, Die Schärfsten Gerichte der Tatarischen Küche
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, tr. Tim Mohr

Jurek Becker, Jakob der Lügner
Jakob the Liar, tr. Leila Vennewitz

Judith Hermann, Sommerhaus, Später
Summerhouse, Later, tr. Margot Bettauer Dembo

Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tschick
Why We Took the Car, tr. Tim Mohr

Julia Franck, Die Mittagsfrau
The Blindness of the Heart, tr. Anthea Bell

Daniel Kehlmann, Die Vermessung der Welt
Measuring the World
, tr. Carol Brown Janeway

Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina
, tr. Philip Boehm

Eugen Ruge, In Zeiten des Abnehmenden Lichts
In Times of Fading Light, tr. Anthea Bell

Anna Seghers, Transit
, tr. Margot Bettauer Dembo

Werner Bräunig, Rummelplatz
Rummelplatz, tr. Samuel P. Willcocks

Daniela Krien, Irgendwann Werden Wir Uns Alles Erzählen
Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything, tr. Jamie Bulloch

I will announce at the beginning of each month which book I decide to read. At the end of the month, I’ll have a review and links, if you decide to read along.

What do you think? Are any of these books tempting you? Feel free to grab the button and spread the word.



  1. Hello I’m coming in a bit late on this, but I do love your choice of 12 German books,some of which I’ve read and commented on at PeakReads. As coincidence would have it I have just bought another cooy of Sommerhaus spaeter, having read it when it came out, loved it and passed it on. I’m loving short stories at the moment- just reading some Alice Munro- so want to go back to these. How do I participate in any discussion? Write something here?

    • Welcome and thanks for visiting. My 12 Germans project is very low-key; I don’t want it to become a chore. At the beginning of the month I post about the book I’ve picked for the month, with a date at the end of the month for the review and discussion. I’ll be happy to link to your posts and any books you’ve already written about. Just leave a comment to let me know where to link to.

  2. I tried to comment on this post when you published it but my iPad played up.
    Excellent choices. I’ve read quite a few of them and liked many. So have been on my piles for ages though.I loved Malina but didn’t get along with this Kehlmann. Loved Sommerhaus später. Maybe my favourite of these.

  3. Sounds like a great idea – I am an avid reader of German books and although I am not all that keen on “challenges” I may do the same in an informal sort of way!

    • I haven’t read a lot of contemporary German literature, and I’m hoping that this will close the gap a little bit.I think I’m looking most forward to Alina Bronsky and Sasa Stanisic. Several of the books deal with the East/West divide, which should be interesting to read about as well. (Jacob the Liar was made into several movies, so I can use that for a book-to-movie challenge entry.)

  4. I have read Stanisic….enchanting, funny, good feeling book.
    I should read in German….it is just a little more work than reading in Dutch.
    I will read 1 book with you in GERMAN: Transit by A. Seghers. I read about this author and she sounds like someone who has a story to tell.
    You have inspired me to make a blog post of 1 German book ( Seghers with reference to you, spread the word) and 12 Dutch books that keep sitting on my bookshelf.
    I don’t expect anyone to read with me….but it is the language I hear daily and should support our writers!
    French will always be my favorite foreign language!

  5. So many intriguing books on your list – I look forward to hearing more about them during the course of next year! Transit was one of my reading highlights from 2014, and it still cuts through even to this day – I really hope you like it.

    I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on the Julia Franck. I read another of her novels (Back to Back) when it appeared on the IFFP longlist last year. My, it was piercing, all the more so when you consider that she drew on her own family history for inspiration.

    • I completely missed Franck on the IFFP longlist last year. How did that happen? (Probably the same way I haven’t yet read any other of her books…) I’ve been sitting on this plan for a while, but I am really glad that I have finally, officially, committed to reading all of these books.

  6. This looks like fun! I have never heard of any of these, so without looking them up I would have to choose by the covers (which is sometimes fun). But, I think I will eventually get them all looked up, and hopefully join you with a couple.
    I have to say that I just clicked randomly on Measuring the World, and it sounds like it was written just for me! Hopefully they won’t all be so appealing, or I’ll be in trouble!

    • Haha, I thought of you when I put this book on the list. There’s a new biography of Alexander von Humboldt out (The Invention of Nature), which I’d like to read together with Measuring the World. We’ll see how it goes. I’d be very happy to have your company reading this book.

      • I’m trying to remember where I stumbled upon The Invention of Nature. It might have been through Doing Dewey, or maybe Kirkus Reviews. Lokking forward to reading (maybe both books?) with you.

  7. The Bronsky and Franck are superb! So is the Kehlmann (and I read in English translation). I don’t think I did the latter justice in my review though, so I’m up for a reread. I’ll also readalong with any in my humungous German literature TBR … and possibly those that aren’t. You know how it is … any excuse. 🙂

  8. All new to me – the only author I’ve read is Daniel Kehlmann, whose “F” I really loved last year, also translated by Carol Brown Janeway, very well. I look forward to seeing how you get on… 🙂

    • There are so many German authors who are waiting for me to be read. The itch gets really bad in November. 🙂 I keep my fingers crossed that one (or more) of these books will come your way. I’d love to read along with you.

  9. Two of my absolute favourite books are on your list! Measuring the World and Tschick. I highly recommend both, but I’ve had several unhappy English readers say the Kehlmann book felt weird in translation. Do you read in German? I’m still new to your blog and I don’t know.

  10. Excellent list. I read Transit last year and thought it was a wonderful book but the rest are new to me. I’ll watch your progress with interest!

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