The Daily Beast introduces "Reading in Place," in which we suggest books for travelers both armchair and real, we select the best titles to hoist in honor of Germany’s Oktoberfest.
It’s time for Oktoberfest, that yearly ritual of beer drinking and lederhosen and dirndl wearing, a fun, giddy, celebration of German identity and German skill in brewing the perfect liter mug full of high-alcohol Festbier. We raise a Maß to all the brave souls who hoist their share of suds in one of the raucous big tents in Munich, where the only true Oktoberfest takes place for 14 days each year starting in late September. U.S. book review sections to this day tilt heavily toward the ongoing fascination with the developments of 70-odd years ago, but anyone contemplating a visit—virtual or otherwise—to present-day Germany might want to turn to this offering of books about Germany and the Germans in which neither the word “Third” nor “Reich” figures prominently and one finds nary a reference to that failed artist from Linz, Austria. Here we introduce our guide to the higher enjoyment of bringing books along for the ride or just taking the ride of leaning into a book as if you were.
Steve Kettmann, an American living in Berlin since 1999, is the author, co-author or editor of eight books, including four Times best-sellers. He previously wrote a weekly column for East Berlin's Berliner Zeitung and is now at work on a memoir about German-American and German identity.