German Men Sit Down to Pee
And Other Insights Into German Culture
by Niklas Frank & James Cave
Books about national cultures and characteristics tend to range from the serious (Culture Shock: Widgetonia) to the tongue-in-cheek (They Eat Horses, Don't They?). A new book, German Men Sit Down to Pee, occupies a middle ground: It has its whimsical moments, such as "Dig a hole when you go to the beach" or "Don't mention David Hasselhof," but it's also packed with practical and occasionally surprising advice like "Bring your own cake into the office on your birthday" and "Complain about the trains." The book is especially useful if you're planning to live in Germany, but it also offers fascinating insights into contemporary German life for tourists and armchair expats.
The book is extremely digestible (unlike, say, a self-assigned homework assignment based on the "Know your sausages" chapter, which describes some of the 1,200 sausage varieties in Germany). It's divided into 60 chapters that average one to three pages each, so you can pick it up and learn about a topic or two whenever you have a spare moment. Here are a few examples of chapter headings:
"Some homes have an S.P.U.K. or WC-Geist, a gadget that issues you with a verbal reprimand if it catches you breaking the rules and standing up. These gadgets are available in many different authoritative yet hilarious (to the Germans, at least) voices such as former German chancellors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder."
If you have any interest at all in visiting, living in, or simply reading about life in modern Germany, German Men Sit Down to Pee should be on your "must read" list.
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