German Books for Language Learners
Name of Book/Series:Detective Novels, e.g., Stieg Larsson Trilogy
I agree that regular reading of German is the best way to really improve grammar and vocabulary. I started two years ago after returning home from a Goethe Institut course in Dresden. The key is to find something that you actually enjoy reading. It could be romance novels, contemporary fiction or non-fiction, but for me it's detective fiction. I'm fairly disciplined about it and I read at the computer with German-English dictionary websites (LEO and Beolingus) at hand. I look up every word I don't know and I look carefully at the grammar, adjective endings, etc. I often pencil in English translations of words I didn't know. They were numerous at first. Sometimes I have to look up a word repeatedly as I encounter it again and again, but eventually I learn it. No one would do this unless they really liked what they were reading. I've read Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell novels, and most recently, the Stieg Larsson trilogy. I think it's a mistake to make students read exclusively "German literature", because the sentence structure, word choice, subject matter, etc., are just too difficult. When you're learning, it's important that the subject matter pull you along.