A French Book Reading Resource

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Cèid Donn
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Cèid Donn » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:54 pm

I don't understand your 3/10 rating (or why you feel we need an ambiguous number rating like that). What qualities, or lack thereof, are you gauging with that rating? Is it because you thought the story lacked merit, and therefore not worthy of a reader's time? Or that it's not good for learners? Or is it simply because you didn't find the book "fun" or personally disagree with the book's themes or politics? I honestly don't know what we are suppose to make out of that rating, especially given this author apparently has received some prestigious awards (also, the Nobel for Literature is typically awarded to an author whose overall body of work offers something exemplary, and not for a particular publication). I personally find the themes and topics you mentioned in your comments about it interesting, but then you give it a low rating, so...???
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:48 am

Postby Cèid Donn » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:54 am
I don't understand your 3/10 rating (or why you feel we need an ambiguous number rating like that). What qualities, or lack thereof, are you gauging with that rating? Is it because you thought the story lacked merit, and therefore not worthy of a reader's time? Or that it's not good for learners? Or is it simply because you didn't find the book "fun" or personally disagree with the book's themes or politics? I honestly don't know what we are suppose to make out of that rating, especially given this author apparently has received some prestigious awards (also, the Nobel for Literature is typically awarded to an author whose overall body of work offers something exemplary, and not for a particular publication). I personally find the themes and topics you mentioned in your comments about it interesting, but then you give it a low rating, so...???


Well, you are absolutely and totally correct to say what you did and to ask the question you did. I was hoping I could slip under the radar with that one.

My explanation to your question is that I don’t like to criticize or tear things apart in general. Especially in this case since this author has noble themes dealing with the refugees/homeless worldwide and the traumas they undergo. I totally respect his speaking up for the downtrodden.

That said I do have some problems with his writing:
• He has as the main character who is this penniless, downtrodden, stateless young woman travelling across three continents of the world in search of her true identity and her home. It just isn’t real. The character somehow floats from one country to another, but one never learns how the character is able to support herself financially. Her whole journey lacks credibility. She just floats through different situations, all the time seemingly financially independent. It’s unreal.

• And then there is the author’s tendency to have a long list of characters, many of which get mixed around but not really developed. Just for the record, I have read both David Copperfield and War and Peace. Three times each and at 10 yr. intervals. They had characters that were ..developed..and not just popped in and out of a plot artificially.

• The author is a great believer of Frantz Fanon and his The Wretched of the Earth. I have not read this book, but he is obviously trying to put flesh, blood and emotions on the theories of that book.

• Any artist must commit to their art wholeheartedly in the presentation of their art. There are many instances throughout the book where the author really does show a creative flair for plot development but mostly the author just lacks credibility and commitment.

That said, the book was awarded the 2008 Nobel prize for literature. Whatever. But then again M. Houellebecq has received the Prix Goncourt prize in French literature, given by the académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year." Believe me there are many who feel/think that award to M. Houellebecq was misplaced. Me among them. So I guess I don’t fly with the flock.

In summary, there are very many books in French literature that I truly love. Truly. I guess I love French literature, but just not All French literature. Also, I know it is part of the French national character to debate so I guess I am becoming a bit more French with each book.

Please somebody out there read this book and tell me why it should be the 2008 Nobel prize for literature. Seriously.

Or better yet, tell me a book in French literature of the 20th-21st century that you really like, because I do want to learn.

Cèid Donn I have tried to write a respectful answer to your question and hope you find it so.

Thank you.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:14 pm

In the interests of full disclosure and total transparency, I thought people may be interested in what a B1 reader such as myself considers to be a good read, ie. 8/10 - 10/10. The purpose of sharing what one neophyte thinks is not to say what is good or bad but rather to suggest what others may find of interest to explore.

If you have questions, by all means ask; that is the purpose of the thread.

Also, if you know how to do tables, by all means share the knowledge. I don't know how to build a table. Obviously. :)

Hope this is of use to some one on their journey.


.......BookTitle...................................Author.................Pages............Grade
L'Armoire Magique............................C.S. Lewis* ...............198..............8/10
HarryPotter, à l'école des sorciers.........J.K Rowling* ..............232.............8/10
HarryPotter et Le Prisonnier D'Azkaban...J.K Rowling* ..............461.............8/10
Le Petit Prince................................ Saint Exupery.............62.............10/10
Le Retour de l'Enfant Prodigue............ A. Gide.....................15.............10/10
Bonjour Tristesse..............................F. Sagan...................126.............8/10
L'Amant .........................................M. Duras.................142............10/10
La Symphonie pastorale......................A. Gide....................150.............8/10
Stupeur Et Tremblements....................A. Nothomb...............186............10/10
L'Élégance du hérisson.......................M. Barbery..................410............8/10
Le Sabotage amoureux......................A. Nothomb................124.............9/10
Métaphysique des tubes.....................A. Nothomb...............157.............10/10
Mercure ......................................A. Nothomb.................226.............9/10
La biographie de la faim.....................A. Nothomb...............241.............10/10

* Engliish Author
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:55 pm

I encourage people to post suggestions for books they like so we can all get ideas for books to read. Thanks.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby zjones » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:40 pm

Carmody wrote:I encourage people to post suggestions for books they like so we can all get ideas for books to read. Thanks.


I will when I can, but I am very slow when reading in French. I read 30m-1h each day, and it feels like I'm making progress at a snail's pace. In fact, I'm not sure how other people get so many books under their belt! I feel like I have been reading Changer l'eau des fleurs for forever.

I managed to get a copy of Bonjour Tristresse, I'll let you know how that goes once I start. First, I have to finish my current read and also Autre-Monde Tome 3.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:27 pm

zjones wrote:
Carmody wrote:I encourage people to post suggestions for books they like so we can all get ideas for books to read. Thanks.


I will when I can, but I am very slow when reading in French. I read 30m-1h each day, and it feels like I'm making progress at a snail's pace. In fact, I'm not sure how other people get so many books under their belt! I feel like I have been reading Changer l'eau des fleurs for forever.

I managed to get a copy of Bonjour Tristresse, I'll let you know how that goes once I start. First, I have to finish my current read and also Autre-Monde Tome 3.

It's probably natural to be a bit discouraged, but the more you (really meaning all of us) read, the more words you learn, and then the faster you will read. (There is no emoji for "I went through what you are going through, but I know you'll get through it just like I did").
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:12 am

I encourage people to relax and enjoy the journey. There is no pressure to have to read as much as anyone else.

I am retired and read French literature 2-3 hrs. a day. That is not normal. It is probably not healthy either but I love French literature and am picking much needed vocabulary words.

MorktheFiddle is brilliant. I can't replicate him and his achievements; all I can do is congratulate him on doing so well.

I am a Tortoise who has always been a Tortoise. However i am progressing which is all I can hope for. And at long last I actually enjoy the pace of the Tortoise. Being a Tortoise allows me to enjoy not just the smell of roses but the sight of sunflowers.

The main thing is to enjoy your own journey at your own pace.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby kanewai » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:20 am

I've started to respond to this thread so many times, but couldn't quite get a grip on how to organize it, or how to pick out which books I'd recommend. There's books I remember loving, but that I can't actually remember much about. There's books I hate, but I think should be read anyways. There's classic authors who I don't like but whom I'd still recommend because they're part of any discussion on French literature.

And then I realized that I was overthinking this. There are books that I've passed on to friends and said: read this! These are the ones that I've bolded. I've added a few comments on others that were interesting.

These are all the French books I've read going back to 2012.

  • Alain-Fournier. Le Grand Meaulnes. 1913.
  • Albert Camus. La peste. 1947. Explores the humanist side of existentialism in a city under quarantine.
  • Alexandre Dumas. Le comte de Monte-Cristo. 1844. Grand adventures with vivid characters.
  • Alexandre Dumas. Les trois mousquetaires. 1844. Also, grand adventures with vivid characters.
  • André Gide. L'immoraliste. 1905. A man's sensual and emotional awakening in North Africa.
  • André Gide. La symphonie pastorale, 1919
  • André Malraux. La condition humaine. 1933
  • Boris Vian. L'écume des jours.  1947. A surrealist jazz-age romance.
  • Émile Zola. Germinal. 1885. An epic centered around a miner's strike. It would have made a great Elia Kazan movie.
  • Émile Zola. L'Œuvre. 1886.
  • Émile Zola. Au Bonheur des Dames. 1883. Life inside Paris's first grand department store.
  • Fred Vargas. L'Homme à l'envers. 1999 .
  • Fred Vargas. Pars vite et reviens tard. 2001
  • Georges Perec. La vie mode d'emploi,  1978  
  • Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary. 1856. More focused and tightly written than the other 19th Century writers.
  • Gustave Flaubert. L'éducation sentimentale. 1869.  
  • Guy de Maupassant. Bel ami. 1885. A relatively easy read about a pretty-boy social climber in Paris
  • Guy de Maupassant. Pierre et Jean. 1888
  • Honoré de Balzac. Le père Goriot. 1835. Father Goriot was too much of a passive victim for me to really 'like' this novel, but I figure everyone should read Balzac once, since he's referenced so much by other authors.
  • Honoré de Balzac. Illusions perdues. 1843
  • Jean Genet. Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs. 1944. Life among the pimps, drag queens, and petty criminals in the Paris underworld. Sexually explicit 
  • Jean Giono. Le hussard sur le toit. 1951. A man's journey though plague-ridden towns of Provence.
  • Jean Giono. Colline. 1929.
  • Jean Giono. L'homme qui plantait des arbes. 1953 
  • Jean-Jacques Sempé, René Goscinny. Le petit Nicolas. 1960.
  • Jean Racine. Phèdre. 1677. There are shenanigans going on at the royal palace while Theseus is off fighting the Minotaur.  
  • Louis Aragon. Aurélien. 1944
  • Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Voyage au bout de la nuit. 1932. A man sees horrible things in the world, and becomes a horrible person at the end. Lots of French friend recommended Céline to me. It makes me wonder who my friends really are.
  • M. Joseph Bédier, Tristan et Iseut. 1900 
  • Marc Levy. Un sentiment plus fort que la peur. 2013. I hated this book.
  • Marcel Pagnol. L'eau des collines. 1962. Just a perfect little pair of novels (Jean de Florette and Manon des sources)
  • Marcel Proust. Du côte de chez Swann. 1913. A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. 1919. Le Côté de Guermantes. 1920. Sodome et Gomorrhe. 1922. Aggh. Proust. There are some sublimely beautiful passages here, surrounded by hundreds of pages of unrelenting dullness. 
  • Marguerite Duras. L'amant de la Chine du Nord. 1991 
  • Marguerite Yourcenar. Mémoires d'Hadrien. 1951. An imagining of the life of the Emperor Hadrian.
  • Marguerite Yourcenar. L'oeuvre au noir. 1968 
  • Maurice Druon, Le roi de fer. 1955. La reine étranglée. 1955
  • Michel Houllebecq. Soumission. 2015. I still don't know what to make of Houellebecq. He's worth reading for his critiques of modernity. Sexually explicit.
  • Michel Houllebecq. La possibilité d'une île. 2005.
  • Michel Houllebecq. Sérotonine. 2019
  • Michel Tournier. Vendredi ou les limbes du pacifique. 1967. A re-telling of the Robinson Caruso story.
  • Patrick Modiano. Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue. 2007. The Frenchiest thing I have ever read.
  • Patrick Modiano. Rue des boutiques obscures. 1978
  • Pierre Boulle, La planète des singes. 1963. Doesn't make any more sense than the movie, but it's still a good, light read.
  • Pierre Loti. Pêcheur d'Islande, 1886
  • Stendhal. La chartreuse de Parme. 1839. I didn't finish, but everyone loves Stendhal, so maybe I should try another of his books.
  • Victor Hugo.  Les misérables. 1862. Victor Hugo is like a dotty old uncle who's stories never end, and who tends to go off on too many tangents, but when he stays on track his stories are fantastic.
  • Victor Hugo.  Notre-Dame de Paris. 1831. One of my favorite novels, though it's slow going at first.
  • Voltaire. Candide, ou l'optimisme. 1759
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Santiago Posteguillo. Yo Julia: 490 / 750
Alexandre Dumas, Vingt ans après: 420 / 1000
Massimo Montanari. La fame e l abbondanza: 90 / 260
Living Lang. Arabic: 05 / 30
Assimil German: 42 / 100

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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby kanewai » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:22 am

I’m afraid to edit this on my phone & mess up the formatting, but I’d also highlight authors / books that French friends have passed on to me and urged me to read: Duras, de Maupassant, Flaubert, Céline, Modiano, & Houellebecq. Chateaubriand, too, though I haven’t read him yet.

Interestingly, all the various recs were based on “the way they use language” rather than the actual plot.
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Santiago Posteguillo. Yo Julia: 490 / 750
Alexandre Dumas, Vingt ans après: 420 / 1000
Massimo Montanari. La fame e l abbondanza: 90 / 260
Living Lang. Arabic: 05 / 30
Assimil German: 42 / 100

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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MamaPata » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:39 am

What did you think of Le Grand Meaulnes? I’m about 30pages in. I keep suggesting it for the book group in order to help me progress with it, but no takers yet! :lol:
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