Recommended Books

The following books will help you learn about Budapest and about the wonderful foods the city has to offer.* From Kati Marton’s Enemies of the People to Julie Orringer’s acclaimed novel The Invisible Bridge, these remarkable books will give you a great insight into Hungarian culture, history and of course, into life in Budapest throughout the different eras. I Hope you’ll enjoy reading these books!


Hajnalka Módis
Founder of Budapest Local


Enemies of the People

This exceptional book by Kati Marton exposes the truth about life and surveillance under the Soviet eye. She elaborates on the many issues her parents faced, including secret police observation and betrayal by both family and friends during the Communist era.

This book also tells the story of Marton’s journey as she puts together the puzzle about her family’s and her own past.

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The Invisible Bridge

Paris, 1937. A poor Hungarian-Jewish student, András Lévi arrives from Budapest with a single suitcase and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to a young widower, Clara, with whom he immediately falls in love.

From a remote Hungarian village to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps, Julie Orringer’s book is about marriage tested by disaster and about family threatened with annihilation, bound by love and history.

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Fatelessness

Fatelessness by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész is a semi-autobiographical story about a 14-year-old Jewish boy living in Budapest who was sent to Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

He manages to survive and returns to Budapest after the war. Once back home, he has to adjust to life in a city that had completely changed, and come to terms with the full extent of what had happened while he was away.

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Strangers in Budapest: A Novel

Budapest in the early 1990s: A young American couple, Annie and Will, move from Boston to Budapest with their infant to build a new life. They soon meet Edward Weiss, a Jewish American WWII veteran who helped free Hungarian Jews from a Nazi prison camp and who came to Hungary to exact revenge on someone he is convinced seduced, married, and then murdered his daughter.

As Annie helps Edward track down his son-in-law, she will also become enmeshed in a dark and deadly conflict that will end in tragedy and a stunning loss of innocence.

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Love and Treasure

In 1945, American soldiers in Austria discover a train filled with gold watches and wedding rings, picture frames and Shabbat candlesticks. Lieutenant Jack Wiseman is responsible for guarding this treasure when he meets Ilona, a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything during the Holocaust.

Seventy years later, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie and asks her to return it to its rightful owner. As Natalie sets out to find out the truth, she also learns family secrets that her grandfather took to his grave.

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Origin

Dan Brown’s latest novel about science and religion tells another adventure of Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology Robert Langdon who travels to Bilbao to attend a major announcement —the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” However, as tragedy strikes Professor Langdon has no choice but to discover the truth.

Although the majority of the novel is set in Spain, there are also some detailed scenes in Budapest with such iconic sites and locations as the Chain Bridge, the Great Synagogue on Dohány Street, the 7th district and even Szimpla.

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Budapest Noir

Budapest Noir is a novel by Vilmos Kondor about a crime investigator looking into the death of a Jewish girl in Budapest in 1936.

The story focuses on depicting what life was like for the Jewish community in Budapest during that time and does a great job at providing a social commentary on the political positioning of Hungary between the two World Wars.

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The Ninth Circle

In Alex Bell’s book The Ninth Circle, a man wakes up in a flat in Budapest with blood dripping from his head, unaware of who he is or how he got there.

He makes friends with a scholar – but begins to receive cryptic clues about his past, the murder of a woman, and, most chillingly, advice to stay away from his only friend. The story follows his efforts to put the pieces of the puzzle of his life – and his past – back together.

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Life Is A Dream

Life is a Dream consists of ten short stories, written by Gyula Krúdy, giving a glimpse into life in early 20th century Hungary.

This witty collection takes a deeper look into the human condition, focusing on topics such as love, food, sex and death. The stories are described as romantic, erotic, comedic and wistful.

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Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture

If you’re a history buff, you’ll probably want to know a little more about Budapest’s back story – and this is the best book to cure your curiosity. In the early 1900’s, Budapest was a city of great writers and intellectuals and their creative output helped shaped the city you see today.

Through expert analysis, you’ll learn all about this period in Hungarian history and come away with a little context you can apply when touring the city.

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Budapest Through My Lens: A Solitary Perspective

To finish things off we present to you some visual indulgence in the form of a photo essay of Budapest, complete with 130 evocative black and white shots of some of the city’s main sights. The author offers a “unique view, a turn-of-the-century sense of history, and the multitude of architectural styles in Budapest from Neo-Classical façades and Gothic spires to turrets and towers of medieval castles”.

Taken by renowned photographer Stephen Spinder, the book includes photos taken since 1991 and show the city’s fast changing face since that time.

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101 Coolest Things to Do in Budapest

This guide takes a different approach to laying out Budapest for the incoming traveller. In its own words it’s written for those that are “tired of long-winded, boring guides”, and keeps things simple by presenting 101 ideas on things to do in the city.

This includes local food tips, suggestions on how to indulge in local culture, ideas on where to party and “adrenaline pumping adventure activities”.

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Rick Steves Budapest

The American author and television personality brings his wisdom to Budapest in this handy guide to everything worth seeing and doing in the city.

Through the course of the book, he lays out several self-guided walking routes that, among other highlights, include taking a dip in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths, some food tasting at the Great Market Hall, and a twilight cruise on the Danube.

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Lonely Planet Hungary

The heavyweight champion of traveling brings you Hungary in all its glory. As well as extensive coverage of Budapest, including what to see, eat, do – and indeed, what not to do – this guide also covers stuff outside the city which is great if you’re planning on expanding your horizons a little while you’re here.

Each point of interest has a description, practical information and a little contextual history. just circle what you’re interested in ready for your arrival.

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Budapest By Locals

Let’s face it, the best way to see a city is with a local. But, just in case you don’t know any (come on one of our tours if you want to change that), this book is the next best thing – a guide written by actual locals for the aspiring ones.

The book takes Budapest piece by piece, telling you about its layout, historical sights, music, food and natural wonders. It’s a little heavier compared to the other guidebooks – but a must have for anyone that really wants to get to know the city.

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Culinaria Hungary: A Celebration of Food and Tradition

Every country has food it’s well known for, and Hungary is no exception. Aniko Gergely takes a deep dive into what is good here, introducing the reader to such delights as ‘salami, goulash, marmalade-filled crepes and many other specialities’.

More than just a cookbook, this volume builds excitement in the reader by explaining the culture that surrounds the various dishes discussed.

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A Taste of the Past: The Daily Life and Cooking of a Nineteenth-Century Hungarian-Jewish Homemaker

Jews have played an important part in Hungary’s history and they’ve certainly left their mark on culinary culture here.

In this book, the life of Jewish housemaker Therese (Riza) Baruch is reconstructed and told to give readers, among other things, an idea of what would have been on a Hungarian Jewish dinner table in the 19th century.

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Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World

Hungarian wine has never quite got the attention it’s deserved, particularly considering it hits the same quality as some of the best French and Italian varieties on the market.

Luckily, Hungary is embracing wine tourism, and in turn, introducing tens of thousands of people a year to this delightful tipple. Robert Smyth’s book guides the reader around Hungary’s various wine regions giving you a taste of what to expect.

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Food Wine Budapest: A Terroir Guide

Written by Carolyn Bánfalvi, this book celebrates Budapest’s culinary renaissance, shining a light on the work of some of the city’s most talented chefs and their mouth-watering masterpieces.

Food Wine Budapest tells you about the best restaurants, talks about Hungary’s traditional dishes and sets you up with the language and vocab you’ll need to get by.

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The Lost Art of Baking with Yeast: Delicious Hungarian Cakes & Pastries

While baking with yeast has all but become a lost art in some places in the world, in Hungary it’s still a staple of pastry cooking. In this book, Baba Schwartz shows, through simple recipes, just how delicious, yet easy certain pastries are to make.

She also parts with handy tips on things like the perfect way to knead dough and talks about the important role that yeast plays in the baking process.

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Food & Cooking of Hungary

Another high-quality cookbook, this one includes 65 recipes with easy to follow steps. Helpfully it also includes 300 luscious photos documenting the creation of these Hungarian masterpieces – enough to get your mouth watering before you’ve even put on an apron.

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Other Pages You Might Be Interested In…

free budapest guides
Free Guides
budapest trip planner
Trip Planner
budapest tours and activities
Experiences
aria hotel budapest
Featured Hotels

*Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links to Amazon.com, which means if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we’ll earn a small commission. And while you won’t have to pay anything extra, this small commission will make it possible for us to continue publishing more stories on Budapest Local.

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