I have something a bit different for you today: a book review! But don't worry, it still fits perfectly with the theme of this blog. The book is called German Men Sit Down to Pee and Other Insights into German Culture and is written by Niklas Frank (a German), and James Cave, a fellow (Irish, not American) expat living in Germany. It is a witty, tongue-in-cheek guide to life in Germany for us non-Germans out there. It's basically like a book-length version of my "differences" posts, only much funnier and without the American comparisons.
The book covers some of the things that I've highlighted on this blog and many other things that I haven't gotten around to yet. For my long-time readers, the parts about insurance, riding a bike, national pride and Sunday noise restrictions will be familiar, but you'll also learn about birthday traditions, beach etiquette, nudity and much more from this handy guide to German life.
Honestly, this is the book I wish I'd had before moving to Germany. Before I moved I spent some time online reading about what to expect of life in Germany, but in retrospect I didn't find a lot of information that ended up being very useful once I got here. Blog posts and online articles tend to be too short, too generalized, or only about one little facet of the culture. This book, in contrast to much of what I read, gets it right: it's book-length, is filled with information about a wide variety of German cultural quirks, and the funny tone and amusing graphics make it a thoroughly entertaining read. And despite the fact that I've lived in Germany for almost three years, even I learned some new things about German history and culture from this book.
If you are moving to Germany (or have recently moved) and are looking for an entertaining source of information, I recommend this book. It is a great companion for discovering the little things about the culture that Germans might not think to tell you or that the people in your home country simply don't know, the little everyday things that are often baffling to newcomers. This book provides a thorough introduction to everyday German quirks so that you can be prepared to bring a cake into the office on your birthday (a custom that I as a self-centered American still find appalling!).
You can buy the book as an ebook for Kindle or NOOK or as a paperback, or you can enter my giveaway for a chance to get a copy for free! Just leave a comment below and share this review on social media to be entered into the drawing. [Edit: giveaway has ended.]
And in case you're wondering, yes, it's true: German men do sit down to pee -- as long as there are no urinals around.
*Disclaimer: I was sent a free review copy of this book by one of the authors, but I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.