I started reading in German a couple of years ago, and with each book it gets easier. You acquire vocabulary of course, but once I had one or two novels under my belt I felt more relaxed, confident and better able to properly lose myself in the fiction.
As mentioned before, if you are beginner-intermediate, you can totally start with translations of your favourite children’s books – I started with Lemony Snicket and Harry Potter about a year before I began with adult fiction.
Here are three modern books I loved and can recommend – they have a lot of dialogue, which makes them much easier to follow:
Tschick, Wolfgang Herrndorf
This is a kids/YA book which is also a movie so a really great place for a B1-B2 learner to start. Two outcast tweens take an impromptu road trip at the start of the summer vacation: Maik, who has an unhappy home life, and the mysterious Russian kid known as ‘Tschick’.
Und dann steht einer auf und öffnet das Fenster, Susann Pasztor
Fred, a single dad with a troubled 13 year old son, has trained as a volunteer companion to the dying and finds a challenge in his first assignment – the inscrutable Karla. When Fred manages to torpedo a tenuous friendship with Karla, son Phil provides a link between these three lonely souls. Odd couple tearjerkers, anyone?
Wende, Eva Ladipo
A political thriller from a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung journalist. The protagonist, René, has a successful career in the nuclear power sector until public opinion ruins the company. On top of that, one of his colleagues commits suicide. René, who comes from a poor family in East Germany, grabs a new opportunity from a mysterious older woman, Anna, and finds himself leaving Frankfurt for a swish job in London. What kind of secrets does Anna have in her past? And was it really suicide?