The Frau is a reader as well as a writer. And naturally, to acquire new insights for her writing, she enjoys reading about the current place she calls home. Below are four must-reads for any expatriate in Switzerland (three of which armchair travelers will appreciate as well).
By John McPhee
“Switzerland does not have an army. Switzerland is an army.” This is a quote from La Place de la Concorde Suisse and also sums up why any expatriate in Switzerland should read it. The text, which originally appeared in The New Yorker, demonstrates how the Swiss army sums up Swiss life. There are also facts the Frau learned that made her laugh: did you know that Swiss German men who misbehave in the army are assigned to a Swiss French battalion as punishment? Did you know that most Swiss bridges are ready to explode at a moment's notice? Oh. And don’t be put off that the book was published in 1994. Since most things never change in Switzerland, it is still very relevant today.
By Diccon Bewes
What makes the Swiss tick? As most people who are living in Switzerland have discovered, there’s a lot more to the country than cheese and skis. Part information, part observation, this bestselling book is a must to anyone wanting to find out more about the little landlocked island we all call Switzerland. The book answers big questions about neutrality during World War II (hmm, see book above) as well as little ones, such as what the heck is Heidi Week at the local Swiss McDonald’s?
By David Hampshire
Already have that Swiss Army knife but still feel like you need another survival tool? This book will answer questions about permits, unemployment, apartment contracts, buying a house in Switzerland, and more. Even though the Frau has been in Switzerland for almost six years, she still sometimes finds herself referring to this book to confirm her suspicions concerning many Swiss procedures (and also because she is kind of a nerd like that).
By Paul Bilton
Big laughs usually come from little truths. And this tiny book is full of them. Get to know the Swiss with something they are not usually known for: humor. Then, for even more insights into why you may find the Swiss a little strange, be sure to read the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Country You Are From.
Enough of what the Frau thinks. Do you have any books on Switzerland to recommend?