TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:28 am

Dix heures et demie du soir en été M. Duras

At long last a really great find. This book was suggested by Alliance Française. The author is well known but not this short book.

A good analysis can be found here: https://www.marguerite-duras.com/Dix-heures-et-demi-du-soir-en-ete.php

What embarrasses me is my first read through and not picking up the subtleties of the layers.

This is a short but excellent book that will always be great to come back to read.

I give it a 9/10.
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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:29 pm

Many thanks to people for visiting.
It is easy to feel I am talking to myself in a closet when I don't get any feedback.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby jeffers » Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:18 pm

I really enjoyed reading Le chapeau de Mitterand by Antoine Laurain. The story was simple but engaging, and the language was pretty easy for me to follow throughout. I also listened to the audiobook on audible twice. When I switch French back into high gear this will be one of my first re-reads. I will also be looking for more by the same author, starting with La femme au carnet rouge since I just figured out that I already bought it on kindle as well as the audiobook in 2019! :lol:

An aller simple by Didier van Cauwelaert was also quite a good read, and relatively simple although with a lot more colloquial language. I really enjoyed the first section of the book, set in Marseille. When the voyage begins I found I didn't enjoy the narrative as much, but it was interesting enough that I was able to read it twice and listen to the audiobook (read by the author in this case) four times.
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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:52 am

Many thanks for the suggestions; they sound interesting.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby katsu » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:26 am

Just dropping in to recommend Chanson Douce, by Leïla Slimani, which I recently finished. Many of you have probably heard of this novel, which won the prix Goncourt a few years ago and was recently made into a movie. The New Yorker called it "The Killer-Nanny Novel That Conquered France," which sounds like a possible spoiler, but really isn't--the first line of the book, after all, is "Le bébé est mort."

Going in I was half-expecting a kind of thriller in which an evil nanny terrorizes an innocent young couple, but it turned out to be something much more interesting and subtle than that. All of the characters, particularly the nanny, are fully-realized and easy to empathize with. There's also lots of commentary on contemporary French culture, most obviously involving class but also race to an extent.

What most surprised me was how easy the French was. This is partly due to the refreshing lack of passé simple: the entire book is told with a mix of passé composé and present tense. I also found the vocabulary to be relatively easy. Overall, this was a much easier read than the Marc Levy novel I read before it. I would heartily recommend Chanson Douce to French learners like myself who are looking to graduate from YA fiction to more "grown-up" books.
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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:13 pm

Katsu
What most surprised me was how easy the French was. This is partly due to the refreshing lack of passé simple: the entire book is told with a mix of passé composé and present tense. I also found the vocabulary to be relatively easy. Overall, this was a much easier read than the Marc Levy novel I read before it. I would heartily recommend Chanson Douce to French learners like myself who are looking to graduate from YA fiction to more "grown-up" books.

Thank you very much for your suggestion. I must say that I have read Dans le jardin de l’ogre L. Slimani and found it a very poor book.

Of course I love the absence of the passe simple and certainly welcome the passé composé but I am dragging my feet to read another of hers. But thanks for suggesting it; I might very well give it a try based on your review.

Please do consider Dix heures et demie du soir en été by M. Duras. The vocabulary is not too challenging and it has lots of layers.
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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:08 pm

Le rempart des béguines de Françoise Mallet-Joris,

I really liked this book. I read 'Bonjour tristesse' by Sagan first and in that book she referred to the books by this author.

It is about the Sapphic initiation of Hélène at the age of 15 by her father's mistress who has been widowed for 8 years, Tamara sometimes cruelly taking advantage of the candor of a Hélène in need of tenderness. Interesting character, this Russian Tamara, 35 years old, an adventurous life, memories of disappointed loves, underlying madness...

It was a ground breaking book at the time, 1951, because of its focus on females homosexuality.

This was a tough read for me in a few parts since there are paragraphs that run on up to 6 pages long, but it was interesting for the psychology of Hélène, the main character.

The works of both Françoise Sagan and Françoise Mallet-Joris are in a genre that I have difficulty defining but nevertheless enjoy. It is a combination of: autobiographical, interior ruminations, plus an examination of psychological interplay of the characters that really interests me.

I would give it a 8/10.

If anyone has any questions about any of the books I review, by all means please feel free to ask.......
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:41 pm

Carmody wrote:I really liked this book.
The works of both Françoise Sagan and Françoise Mallet-Joris are in a genre that I have difficulty defining but nevertheless enjoy. It is a combination of: autobiographical, interior ruminations, plus an examination of psychological interplay of the characters that really interests me.

I would give it a 8/10.

If anyone has any questions about any of the books I review, by all means please feel free to ask.......

La Chute by Camus also mixes the autobiographical, interior ruminations and psychological interplay of the characters (even though in effect there is only one character). The mix of the real and the fictional can be disorienting: where does the real Camus end and the fictional protagonist begin? The description of the actual physical "fall" referred to in the title, BTW, is riveting and hair-raising.

Thanks too for recommending Mallet-Joris. In recent French cinema a film appeared about two young women who fall in love. Perhaps someone can remember the name of it?
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:41 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote: In recent French cinema a film appeared about two young women who fall in love. Perhaps someone can remember the name of it?
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu ?

http://frenchfilmfestival.org.uk/FFF201 ... arch-2020/
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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:29 pm

Many thanks to you folks for visiting; I wonder sometimes if anyone is out there.

As a person who is very reluctant to ever deal with Amazon, I would like to suggest two alternatives for your consideration:

https://wordery.com/

https://www.ibiservice.com
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