Upcoming trip to Prague and you are looking for non-travel books to read that will help you to set the flavor for your trip? Hopefully this list will inspire you to take a deeper look at Prague (or more precisely at the Czech Republic). Enjoy!
The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
This anti-war novel is a telling insight into the Czech mentality. The Czech harbinger to Forrest Gump - Good Soldier Svejk combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.
After reading it at least you'll understand all those restaurants named "Svejk" around the country.
I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal
A tragicomic masterpiece by the best-loved Czech writer of his generation. Follows the ups and downs of a height-impaired hotel waiter who rises to fabulous wealth under the Nazi occupation in World War II only to lose it all in the Communist takeover after. Adapted as a movie in 2006 by Oscar-winning director Jiri Menzel.
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
No reading list would be complete without reference to Franz Kafka, Prague's most famous novelist, who wrote his originals in his native German.
The Metamorphosis is definitely the highlight of this book, but the other stories (In the Penal Colony , A Hunger Artist or A Country Doctor), are also as amusing as they are perplexing and horrific...
Tales of the Lesser Quarter by Jan Neruda
Neruda's tales present bitter-sweet stories of life among the inhabitants of the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) of nineteenth century Prague. Thanks to him we have the opportunity to discover not only forgotten old world charm, secrets of house signs but also timeless portraits of human characters.
Note: On the walk up to Prague Castle (through the Nerudova street) there's the House of the Two Suns where Neruda lived and this street was renamed in his honor.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The tangled-up lives of a surgeon, his wife, and his mistress, played out against the 1968 Prague Spring and the subsequent Soviet-led invasion that ended it. Adapted as a movie in 1988 starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche.
Also worth looking for: The Joke and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
Have we missed any books that should be mentioned here? Share your thoughts and recommendations!
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