Berlin: List and Questions

Next month we’re going to Berlin — my first visit to the German capital! Berlin conjures up so many fictional and historical images in my mind, that I have the feeling of visiting a novel rather than a real city. I’ve started a list of books I read featuring Berlin in the foreground: 

  • Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin
  • Philip Kerr, Berlin Noir trilogy: March Violets; The Pale Criminal; A German Requiem
  • Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz (very difficult to read)
  • Anonym, A woman in Berlin, eight weeks in the conquered city (not finished)
  • John Le Carré, The spy who came in from the cold

That’s all I can think of for the time being, but I’m sure there are plenty others. What books would you recommend? Do you know of any good bookshops to visit while in Berlin? (and on the side, any suggestion of playgrounds and fun stuff for a 3 year old who will need to let off steam after his parents took him to museums and bookshops… ?)

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8 thoughts on “Berlin: List and Questions

  1. NOW we’re talking! I love Berlin – just search for it on Charlotte’s Web and my various posts will come up. One of the good things about German bookshops is that they almost always have a good English section, usually strong on lit fic and crime. I remember spending happy hours in a gorgeous one right on Friederichstrasse (main shopping drag in Mitte), full of English books and DVDs. Sadly can’t remember the name, though. Berlin is also hugely kid-friendly, with many, many more playgrounds than Paris. There is invariably a coffee shop within 200 metres for the parents to grab their essentials. If you are bike-riders, I can recommend the Fat Tire tour – they had a baby seat for our youngest – it’s a great way to get around.

    Oh, you are going to have so much fun! Promise us a full report on your return.

    PS And next time I am in Paris, I do promise to let you know!

    • I take good notes, thanks for the recommendations! Playground with a latte is a good formula for relaxing growups and channelling energy for the little ones. I’ll make sure to visit Friedrichstrasse as well. My bike-skills are not up-to-date (I blame the Paris skirts and heels, but any excuse will do), but perhaps I’ll feel bold and have a go.

  2. A trip to Berlin? How exciting! I’ve never been so I can’t help you with the bookshops, etc. and my mind is drawing a blank on reading recommendations. Have a fun trip!

  3. All my students who spent time in Berlin during the year abroad absolutely fell in love with the place. I’ve never heard a bad word said about it! Have a wonderful trip!

  4. How wonderful! I’ve been in Berlin once, but it was back in high school, so I don’t remember much, except seeing the relatively newly fallen wall. I’ll look forward to hearing about your trip!

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