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The Berlin Stories
by Christopher Isherwood

Field-Tested by Jennifer Sharpe

in Paris, France and Ischia, Italy

When I’m on vacation, I go into people-watching overdrive. That said, I can’t think of a more satisfying travel read than The Berlin Stories, a world-champion, people-watching masterpiece. Written during Hitler’s rise to power, the book is like a cutaway diagram of Berlin in the 1930s, with close-ups on the frayed, absurd, twinkling characters whose lives Christopher Isherwood drifted in and out of. Like a song that nails your heart to the wall but keeps you laughing (a Magnetic Fields song?), this book has been stuck in my head ever since I first read it. I started the book in Paris, then finished it in Ischia, Italy, a place that, strangely enough, turned out to be a hotbed of ailing Nazi-aged Germans who go there to get “the cure” from the island’s natural spring waters.

Jennifer Sharpe is the editor of America’s No. 1 Website, Sharpeworld.

Buy The Berlin Stories

Read the next Field Test by Brian Taylor