To help you find the most interesting and diverse books about Berlin, we put together this list that will guide you in your understanding of the history of Berlin and how Berliners think about their city. We included some novels, as well as books on arts, culture, home design and architecture.
Book of Clouds by Chloe Aridjis
A witty story of Berlin, in which the city shares the role of main character with Tatiana, a young Mexican woman, who flits from one job to another. One of her jobs is typing for an ascetic old historian. The subject? The history of Berlin. This book is very much about the city, where the past seeps into the present and the story unfolds in a dream-like sequence.
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Compiled as a collection of linked short stories, this infamous novel, encapsulates the wild, electric city that Berlin was before the Nazis took over and bids a long, mournful goodbye not only to the physical city of Berlin but to an ideology and time that could never be again.
The story centers around Herr Lehmann and his life as a bartender in Kreuzberg just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The novel was adapted into a film in 2003 (watch this clip from the film which hilariously depicts its time). The book gives great insights on how West Berliners felt about their divided city, and all the details of the city, especially of its Kreuzberg neighborhood.
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
Another Berlin neighborhood, Alexanderplatz, was once the heart of Berlin and is still a home to all kinds of people. This book, set in the 1920s, is about the life of Franz Biberkopf, a murderer fresh from a prison, and his life around Alexanderplatz, where he faces misery, lack of opportunities, crime and the imminent ascendency of Nazism.
The Gift tells the story of a Russian writer Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev living in Berlin and his love affair with Zina Mertz. It is filled with vivid descriptions of 1920s Berlin and focuses on the Russian émigré population in the city, where Nabokov himself once lived.
Berlin. Portrait of a City by Hans Christian Adam
Presenting the spirit of Berlin in a beautiful Taschen style, this book is a photographic journey into the city's history, offering pages of aerial views, street scenes, portraits, and more, tracing it from the roaring 20s to the ruins of war, to its rebirth as political and cultural capital. Quotes from famed Berlin icons and connoisseurs, from Marlene Dietrich to David Bowie, accompany the images.
Living in Style Berlin by Stephanie von Pfuel
This book portrays wide range of exclusive living options in our metropolis, a city that has changed like no other in the last 30 years. It takes you on a visit to many stylish homes of Berlin.
This book immerses readers in the carefree spirit of Berlin’s Weimar era. Through exemplary works in paintings, sculpture, architecture, graphic design, photography and film, it uncovers all sorts of characteristics of the time, from economic to nightlife, from political to debauchery.
Cee Cee is one of Berlin’s most widely read online media and a weekly newsletter popular among Berliners. Now published in two consecutive editions, each book has valuable tips on all-things Berlin, including hidden cafés and neighborhood bars, concept stores and specialty restaurants, destinations in the countryside, and dedicated recommendations from the locals.
Architectural Guide Berlin by Dominik Schendel
Presented as four excursions, this guide takes us to prominent architectural highlights from Kurfürstendamm in the West to the prefab housing communities of the East. With its comprehensive maps and full-format aerial photographs, this book is an ideal companion when discovering the architecture of Berlin.