There are lots of good books about Budapest out on the market, but it is not always so easy to find them. If you are a tourist you will probably find yourself looking for a travel guide with maps and useful information on the inside. If you are an expat living in Budapest you might be looking for historical books which will give you deeper insight in the culture, and if you love a good novel you might be looking for a good book which has a story that takes place in Budapest.
If you fit into any of the categories mentioned we have recommendations and some titles we believe might be interesting to you. You will not find all of these books in bookstores in Budapest, so therefore we add links to where you can order all the books online from Amazon.com. And do not forget to buy yourself a bottle of wine suitable to the book, because that will make the feeling even more authentic. Don’t get it? In Alexandra Bookstore in Budapest on Andrassy avenue they have a beautiful bookstore, a nice confectionery and a wine store. In the wine store they have a small booklet where they recommend wines to the different books mentioned in the booklet. So when you buy a book, you also get a bottle of wine and enjoy the two of them together. If you read this article somewhere outside Hungary it will be hard for you to get hold of Hungarian wine, but then you can either buy some local wine instead, or maybe just a good cup of coffee or some hot chocolate. Most important; enjoy your reading and enjoy the book!
Seven good books about Budapest
Rick Steves’ Budapest
In this travel guide you will find the thoughts of the author on Budapest and its attractions, restaurants, activities spiced up with maps, practical advices and some excursion information. There are lots of pictures added to the texts, and if you want to walk with a book in your hands as you get to know Budapest on your own, this might very well be it!
Order the book from Amazon.com: Rick Steves’ Budapest
Budapest Noir: A Novel
This is a novel written by the Hungarian writer Vilmos Kondor, born in 1954. He has studied in Paris (at Sorbonne) and after that returned to Hungary. Budapest Noir is his first novel which has been praised by both Hungarian and foreigners. In this book you will get to know Zsigmond Gordon who feels like both Clark Kent and Sherlock Holmes at the same time. The story is set to the mid 1930s, and it „offers a haunting social and political critique, empowering us not to forget the emergence of one of history’s darkest moments: the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.”
Order the book from Amazon.com: Budapest Noir: A Novel
The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II
Maybe you have read many books about the Second World War, but very few of them focus on Hungary and on the battles taking place in Budapest. In this book written by Krisztian Ungvary you will get much more insight in the battle which describes one of the fiercest battles of World War II; the siege of Budapest. Both Stalin and Hitler demanded victory at all costs, and the cost was extreme: 80,000 Soviet troops, 38,000 German and Hungarian soldiers, and 38,000 Hungarian civilians perished. The book provides the first full account of this shocking battle.
Order the book from Amazon.com: The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II
In this book you will find 320 pages filled with information about the Hungarian gastronomy. You will get to know more about local traditions in different parts of Hungary and of course specialties and various details. But, the book does not only contain dry information. It also includes beautiful pictures and of course good recipes. If you are interested in the Hungarian cuisine, this is probably the book you are looking for. The book is written by Aniko Gergely.
Order this book from Amazon.com: Culinaria Hungary
Prague: A Novel
No, it is not a mistake. Even though the cover photo of the book feature the Charles Bridge in Prague, and the title is Prague: A Novel, the story of the book takes place in Budapest. The story is about five expats who come to Budapest in the 1990s to seek their fortune, and also get an answer to their suspicion that Prague is a bit better. This book written by Arthur Phillips is not a personal favorite, but if this sounds like something you would like to read, then why not!
Order the book from Amazon.com: Prague: A Novel
Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
October 23rd and the following days shook the world in 1956. The Hungarians stood up against the Communist rulers and impacted the world. In this book you will get to know the story of the Hungarian revolution, get to know what happened when, and also get to know the parts of the city where the most important events took place. You can say it like this that “Twelve Days adds immeasurably to our understanding of this historic event and reminds us of the unquenchable human desire for freedom.”
Order this book from Amazon.com: Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (Vintage)
The Will to Survive: A History of Hungary
There are lots of books about the history of Hungary on the market, and most of them are written by Hungarians. This book is not written by a Hungarian. While some people judge the book because of that, others claim that the greatness of this book is exactly the fact that it is not written by a Hungarian. John Lukacs writes the following: “There are occasions when the sympathetic and interested eye of a foreigner may penetrate the jungle of confusing events and complicated sentiments with a clarity of vision amounting to something more than the antiseptic desideratum of “objectivity”. Such is the case with The Will to Survive. Many professional historians, including Hungarians, could learn from the judgments of this former guest in their midst.” If you want to know the Hungarian history in details that will make your tourist guide look at you with big eyes and maybe start asking you questions instead, this book might be it!
Order this book from Amazon.com: The Will to Survive: A History of Hungary (Columbia/Hurst)