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The 6 Best Books to Learn German From Home

German has long been a notoriously tricky language to learn for English speakers due to its complex grammar and multi-syllable words. It can sometimes be tough to wrap your head around, especially if you’re not spending a ton of time around native German speakers. So, which are the best books to learn German?

6 Best Books to Learn German From Home

Now, if you search the German language books, the results are in the millions. There are just so many to choose from.

Don’t worry, I’ve narrowed things down for you, and here are the best six books to learn German. Enjoy!

1. Living Language German

When you’re buying a new German language book and CD for every single level, the costs add up pretty quickly. Luckily, with Living Language German, that’s not an issue.

This comprehensive German learning ecosystem covers beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels all in one handy bundle.

If you love having a wealth of resources at your fingertips, you’re going to love Living Language German. It has three books (one for each level), nine different audio CDs for pronunciation and listening practice, and an online training course that delves deeper into conversational language and grammar rules.

One of the coolest things about this particular German language learning bundle is that it’s completely backed by science.

In fact, there are 65 years of science that’s gone into the development of Living Language German. The team has looked at how our brain acquires language and has reverse-engineered it into this comprehensive course.

Each level takes you through four patented steps: Building a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retaining What You’ve Learned, and Achieving Your Goals.

This helps solidify language and grammar rules in your memory and makes these new skills stick in your mind on a long-term basis. Pretty cool, right?

2. The Everything Learning German Book

This is a super fun and easy-to-use German language book for beginners. Aimed at adults, it’ll help you order a beer and a doughnut, which are two German language essentials that should always be taught toward the start of any German course.

If you want to hone your pronunciation before you head out to central Europe or meet up with German friends, you can take advantage of the CD that comes with this amazing language book. Combine this with the user-friendly exercises in the book and you’ve got a really great beginner German package. 

Obviously, this isn’t designed for intermediate or advanced learners, but if you want to brush up on your German before a trip or start learning practical words and phrases, The Everything Learning German Book is a great option.

3. German Made Simple: Learn to Speak and Understand German Quickly and Easily

The title of this book says it all really. German Made Simple: Learn to Speak and Understand German Quickly and Easily is designed to get you actively using your German skills as quickly as possible. It focuses on practical, real-life phrases that are genuinely useful.

It’s definitely a good book if you’re a self-starter as it’s predominantly reading exercises with the answers in the back of the book. It can sometimes feel like an old-school way of doing things, but honestly, it seems to work – you just need to be disciplined with yourself.

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This is a great option for beginners who want to focus on speaking and reading German as soon as possible. It’s also a great reference book for when you’re on the road as all the answers are just in the back of the book. 

4. Living German

Okay, as much as I love language learning apps like Duolingo, they do have a tendency to give you words and phrases that you’re realistically never, ever going to use.

One I got the other day was “The elephants eat the bees”. Honestly, who thought that would be a useful example for plurals?

That’s why Living German is so refreshing. Its entire focus is on language that you’re actually going to use in a real-life context.

The book and accompanying CD give you plenty of exercises with plenty of context to help you practice your conversational skills and build on the building blocks that you already know.

The benefit of the Living German CD is that it pauses at regular intervals to help you practice both listening and speaking skills, something that is understandably normally lacking in many other German language books.

I wouldn’t say this is a 100% beginner book, but it’s not quite intermediate either – it’s in that sweet spot.

5. Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage

Okay, so we’ve established pretty concretely that German grammar can be tricky to get to grips with. Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage is essentially the Bible when it comes to verb conjugations, past participles, and all those complex rules and regulations.

It’s worth saying from the outset here that this book is definitely not for beginners. This epic grammar book is specifically designed with intermediate and advanced learners in mind. There aren’t actually that many grammar books at this level, and this is definitely the best option.

If one of your German language learning aims is to be able to write coherently, this book is going to help get you there. It’s perfect for improving writing skills and even has a comprehensive grammar index at the back of the book where you can check your work and make sure that you’re still on the right path. 

6. Learn German with Stories: Café in Berlin

Sometimes we can get really bored of German grammar and vocabulary books. I don’t blame you, the vast majority of them are very, very dry.

So, instead, choose to improve your German skills with Learn German with Stories: Café in Berlin. This anthology of 10 short stories is written entirely in German and aimed at beginner learners.

As you read, you’ll learn so much about German history, culture, and lifestyles that’ll make you forget that you’re reading in a completely different language.

It’s a really immersive way to learn and you can be entertained and educated at the same time! Context really helps when we’re learning a new language so tools like this are worth their weight in gold!

Throughout the book, you’ll find grammar tables and dictionary features to help you understand the stories and improve your understanding of how German works in practice.

At the beginning of each short story, there’s a short blurb from the author explaining how they came up with the story and an overview of what it’s about so you have a fuller context before you start trying to translate everything.

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This is a really cool and refreshing way to improve your German skills, and it’s amazing that this is designed for a beginner level. If you’d said you can read whole books in German as a beginner I wouldn’t have believed you.

It’s such a great resource and an awesome way of building your confidence in your German reading abilities. 

Why Learn German?

German is a far-reaching language with around 130 million speakers worldwide. As one of the leading languages in central Europe, if you want to travel around Europe or more there on a more permanent basis, having a decent grasp of German will come in handy.

If you’re looking to move to Germany on a work or spousal visa, you might even have to prove your German language skills to be eligible.

This is usually only a basic level language test, but you still need to be able to hit all four of the key skills – writing, reading, listening, and speaking – to pass and gain permanent entry rights into the country.

Outside of Germany, German is spoken in Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, and some northern regions of Italy. There are also a lot of parallels between German and Dutch so if you know one of these languages, you’ll likely be able to understand a decent amount of the other. 

There are also a whole host of major global businesses that have headquarters in Germany, as well as there being financial capital in Frankfurt. If you’re working with global teams and clients, a little bit of German might go a long way.

After all, you never know who your next client might be or where you might need to go next!

Is German Hard to Learn?

German is considered difficult by some English speakers to learn due to its complex grammar. That being said, compared to many tonal languages, learning German is a breeze. Vocabulary-wise you’ll find a lot of linguistic similarities to English, which is pretty cool.

There are definitely certain words you can look at or hear and make an educated guess. This really helps with building your confidence in your language learning abilities. 

Once you’ve got the hang of the different German grammar rules, picking up the language is pretty straightforward. When you do finally crack the grammar in German, you’ll feel like a superhero and everything else will slide into place and make a lot more sense.

Is German Grammar Hard to Learn?

German grammar is considered hard to learn by English speakers. That’s because a lot of the rules seem backward compared to English and have bizarre verb conjugations and multiple gendered versions that we don’t have in English. 

Although German grammar is tricky and very frustrating, once you get to grips with it, you’ll have a much better understanding of the German language, and you’ll be able to pick up new words and phrases a lot easier than before.

What is the Best Way to Learn German?

This depends on your preferred learning style, but immersion in the German language is widely considered the best way to learn the language.  When you’re constantly surrounded by a language, your brain starts to tune into it, making it easier for you to pick up common words and phrases.

For example, if you’re living in Germany, a lot of the time you’ll need to speak German to get by.

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This necessity helps improve your language skills and boosts your progress, speeding everything up! Obviously, not all of us can drop everything and move to Germany though!

If immersion is not in the cards for you, try and find a local language cafe or speaking practice where you physically speak German with like-minded individuals.

Alternatively, use a platform like iTalki where you can connect with native language tutors over video chat for one-to-one sessions. It’s ideal if there aren’t any classes in your area, or if your schedule doesn’t quite line up with them.

How to Choose the Right German Book for You

As with any language learning resource, there are three key things to look at when you’re trying to find the right German book for you: age, level, and aims.

These three guiding principles will help you filter out a lot of unsuitable German books without much trouble. Besides, who wants to spend their day scrolling through the whole of Amazon?

Age is pretty self-explanatory. Even if your level is beginner and basic, that doesn’t mean that you need to read German-language books that have been designed for children. If you get the wrong age, a lot of the content and vocabulary may not be relevant to you.

For example, a child might not need to make a reservation at a hotel, but an adult traveler is probably going to need that kind of language.

Next up is level. Again, this is pretty straightforward. If you’re looking for intermediate guidance, don’t buy a beginner’s book.

If you’re unsure, read the reviews and if you’re in doubt go for the slightly higher level so that you can push yourself and get more out of your German language learning book.

Finally, you need to consider your aims when it comes to German language learning. What are you looking to get out of the experience? Do you want to improve your understanding of German grammar?

Do you want a basic overview of useful words and phrases? Do you need a more comprehensive pronunciation guide? Work this out and you’ll be able to narrow down your search criteria even more.

Get a Copy of Your Favorite German Book Now!

So, all in all, if you’re looking to improve your German language skills, these six amazing and highly respected books are a great place to start.

Whether you want to focus on grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation, they’ll have you covered and you can refer back to them time and time again.

What’s your favorite way of learning German? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll check them out!

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