Book of the Year / Buch des Jahres!

Join us in reading and discussing Wolfgang Herrndorf’s best-selling road-novel Tschick! Start reading now, and look out for exciting book-related events and activities next Fall and Spring semester! German and English language readers welcome!

About the book

Tschick (Engl. Why we took the Car), was published in 2010, and became an instant success. The novel tells a tale of two teenage boys, who “borrow” a car and go for a ride… What unfolds is a story of crazy ideas and unexpected friendships in a world in which everyone is just trying to find their place. With much humor and uncompromising directness, the novel dives right into questions of loneliness, addiction, and love.

From the book cover

“Mike doesn’t get why people think he’s boring. Sure, he doesn’t have many friends. (OK, zero friends.) And everyone laughs at him when he reads his essays out loud in class. And he’s never invited to parties. But one day Tschick, the odd new boy at school, shows up at Mike’s house out of the blue. He dares him to go on a road trip with him. No parents, no map, no destination. Will they get hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere? Probably. Will they meet crazy people and get into serious trouble? Definitely. But will they ever be called boring again? Not a chance.”

Have we piqued your interest? Whether you are studying German or not, whether you read German or prefer the English translation… Please join us in reading and discussing this book together!

Book Owl

Online Book Club: Die UWM-Leseeulen

Sign up for our online book club and become a “reading owl”!
From mid-June until the end of September, we will read and discuss the book together. Any UWM student can become a Leseeule!
Click to access the Facebook page and get started.

Events & Activities

Please join us in the Fall and Spring semesters for a series of book-related events and activities. You can look forward to book discussions, a writing competition, and a film screening of Fatih Akin’s 2016 adaptation of the novel. Please check back this fall for details and look out for announcements on UWM German Facebook page, or connect via Twitter.

How to receive a free copy of the book of the year, Tschick

(while supplies last)

  • If you are a German Major, Minor, or Business Minor, please e-mail Dr. May-Chu at to arrange for a time to pick up your free copy of the book.
  • A copy of the book in either English or German has been reserved for the first ten students who sign up for the UWM-Leseeulen book club. By signing up, you pledge to read the book over the summer and contribute actively to our group discussion between July and September 2018. Any UWM student who wants to join the UWM Leseeulen is free to do so, but we only have free books for the first 10 students.

Everyone is invited to read the book and join us for our events and activities! If you were unable to get a free copy of the book, you can purchase the original German version or the English translation through your preferred book store.

  • Author: Wolfgang Herrndorf
  • German: Tschick (ISBN: 9783499256356)
  • English: Why we took the Car (translated by Tim Mohr; ISBN: 9781783440313)

If you have any questions, please e-mail Dr. Karolina May-Chu at

The German Book of the Year initiative is made possible by support from UWM’s Center for International Education, Language Resource Center, and US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers grant. We are grateful for their support!

*Thank you to Furfur, who has created the original owl image and made it available on Wikimedia Commons. It has been adapted from the original.