Letters to Kerstin: German Book Recommendations and Spanish for Beginners

Recently, I've received a few messages from friends and readers asking me to recommend a few books to them. I imagine book fever is with you after enjoying the Fluent Guides (right?) so I'm more than happy to oblige. In fact, I would love to answer more of your questions here on the blog. If you have a question, submit it to jenny@fluentlanguage.co.uk and note that it's for the blog - I will select the questions and reply to you soon.

fluent language mailbag

German Books - Not Grammar Books!

Dear Kerstin

What books would you recomend in German?  I do not mean Grammar books. I find that most Germans do not even understand Duden, and only the most educated follow what he says.  I would ike something to help me understand the language, and history and mentality for better communication.  I studied literature and I find that story telling is great for teaching and learning.

I did buy a grammar book for school kids with excercises and so forth, but I haven't got up the nerve to use it yet...

Thank you,

Hey Kevin,

every learner is different and I cannot of course predict what would work best for you - it depends if you are after stories, a textbook or a good grammar guide. The stories that I like are of course André Klein’s and also the stuff from Deutsch XXL by Deutsche Welle. I use “Deutsche Grammatik” by Lingolía Verlag for teaching grammar and Menschen by Hueber Verlag for teaching support like examples, stories and exercises. I do make up a lot of it by myself too.

But in terms of books to read, my favourite authors to read in German are Arnaldur Indridasson (icelandic crime novels translated by the amazing Coletta Bürling), Gisa Klönne (Cologne crime novels) and Günter Grass (a bit more literature focused with longer sentences).

One final piece of advice: Don’t be scared of getting better at German. It’s that whole “taking risks makes us stronger” thing.

Good luck! Kerstin

Spanish for Beginners - Going Travelling

My friend Sarah is a total travel nut and recently asked me for recommendations of the best home-based Spanish courses. Here's what I recommended.

Spanish in 10 Minutes a day, a deceptively simple-looking book with a friendly approach and materials. I used this series for my first step in Russian and really raked in the compliments once I joined a group class! If you're more of an auditory learner and want access to language learning on the go, then you might also love Michel Thomas. His method is based on audiobooks and feeling like you're listening in to a class. For a Londoner like Sarah, this might be perfect to while away the time sat on commuter trains.

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