A French Book Reading Resource

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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:59 pm

David1917 wrote:
MorkTheFiddle wrote:Le roi de fer. Read it twice, just because it's fun. But got bogged down in La reine étranglée. I have the set in hard bound copies. Because of Game of Thrones, this set of books may be worth millions. :roll:


How would you rate the difficulty of this series? Basically, I'm feeling the need to "plunge" into reading some real French extensively. Having spoken Spanish for 15 or so years and spent another few poking around at Italian and Portuguese before finally actually studying French, I feel that I should break off the training wheels and get at it. Studying French with Assimil, etc. feels too easy most of the time. I've skimmed the thread and looked up a few of the books listed, and this is the first one that caught my eye, both for its plot and its being a 7-part series I can hope to read in full. Considering the GoT comparison, I assume it is widely palatable for mass consumption.

Basically I don't want to read Harry Potter, but might need to read something at that level or a bit beyond, along the lines of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or "50 Shades." Any tips appreciated.


I found some of the vocabulary in Roi du Fer to be challenging, but the plot is fairly easy to follow and narrative is straight forward, not pages and pages of description. Maybe start with something more contemporary as your first book, just so you don’t need to know cloak, candlestick and carriage etc.?
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:12 pm

Have just finished L'Étudiant étranger by Philippe Labro. It is a book suggested by my local Alliance Francaise and I thought I would give it a try.

It is a B1 level of French and the vocabulary level was very reader friendly for me. Any book that is easy of the vocabulary is always welcome, however, it wasn't as gripping as I would have liked it.

I give it a 7/10.

From Publishers Weekly:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780345346964

This French bestseller by Labro, a journalist and filmmaker, is a semiautobiographical novel about a French scholarship student's adventurous year at an elite, all-male, unnamed Virginia college. In a delightfully witty style, Labro poses a traditional European upbringing against the equally narrow rituals of Southern society in 1954-55. Ignoring the similarities, the nameless narrator revels in American differences: the college's unwritten dress code, male friendships that lead to future wealth and power, the significant convertible, Fats Domino and rock 'n roll, and, of course, American women. His first relationship is with April, a black maid. In a revealing analysis of 1950s race relations, the narrator finds himself walking a thin line between his love for a forbidden woman and his desire to be accepted by segregated Southern society. In contrast, his second girlfriend is Elizabeth, a co-ed in the midst of rebelling against her monied Bostonian parents who would have her star in high society. He is unable to understand her rejection of a realm of which he has grown enamored. Labro's third novel successfully captures, through the eyes of an outsider, the essence of the American collegiate rites of passage that were all-important in the 1950s. (June)
Last edited by Carmody on Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:26 pm

Thank you, Carmody. I am scouting about for hard copy books in French (and Spanish), just as a bit of a rest from computers and Kindle. Cheers.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:03 am

Me too!!!
All suggestions welcome, but I don't do SciFi, murder, mystery, or Fantasy.
Probably for me, I try to steer towards the Classics when possible, but I hear Victor Hugo and Flaubert can be a bore.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:45 pm

Just for the record I don't think the Labro book is worth the read unless you are down at my level of B1.

Also, I just got this in the mail from Alliance Francaise:

https://www.culturetheque.com/EXPLOITATION/US/lire.aspx

Definitely worth a review.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:39 am

Carmody wrote:Me too!!!
All suggestions welcome, but I don't do SciFi, murder, mystery, or Fantasy.
Probably for me, I try to steer towards the Classics when possible, but I hear Victor Hugo and Flaubert can be a bore.

It was Montaigne who lured me into French. I'm reading him again right now on Kindle, the modern French translation. After a bit of Montaigne, I read and liked La condition humaine, about the rebellion in China. I can't think of any 19th century French ficion writer I like. From an earlier time I enjoy the letters of Madame de Sévigné and the Maxims of La Rochefoucauld. Outside of prose, I do like Hugo's poetry, as well as most of the big names in French poetry since him: Mallarné, Vigny, etc. Not that I have read a great deal of any of them. And then going way back, there is François Villon, whom I read a long time back in a modernized spelling version. If you like poetry at all, he is well worth it, and not all that hard to read. You have to have some notes of course, to understand the references.
I ordered Boris Vian's L'Ecume des jours, but have not started it. Currently, I am reading his J'irai cracher sur vos tombes on the Kindle. The novel is a superficial portrait of American (yes, USA, not French) race relations, using the most mundane of caricatures of people and sexual relationships. I'm keeping going just for picking up the colloquialisms and slang Vian uses. Otherwise, I rate it 1 out of 10.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Arnaud » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:43 am

Carmody wrote:All suggestions welcome, but I don't do SciFi, murder, mystery, or Fantasy.
Probably for me, I try to steer towards the Classics when possible, but I hear Victor Hugo and Flaubert can be a bore.

I've never read him, but I know Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt is used by FLE teachers (Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran and L'hôtel des deux mondes), it's an easy read. You probably can find some of his theater plays on YT, too.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:08 pm

MorktheFiddle

Thanks for your suggestions.

Let me know what you think of J'irai cracher sur vos tombes I have read it and found it interesting.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:36 pm

I have just finished another book by Blandine Le Callet called La Ballade de Lila K.

It is scifi and very much along the lines of 1984. It is dystopia from beginning to end and had a lot of vocabulary that I really struggled with. I like the author but scifi dystopia is just not my thing. It was grim throughout.

I would give it a 4/10.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:12 am

Have just finihed Frappe-toi le coeur by Amelie Nothomb and loved it.

The theme is what it is like to be an unloved child and the pain it causes. It has sold over 10 million copies so maybe the topic is not as obscure as it might sound.

I thought it brilliant and am so glad she wrote it. I would give it a 10/10.
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