TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

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Carmody
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TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:53 pm

Books in French

I am in my fourth year of studying French and have a B1 level, for what it is worth, from Dialang. I have found that it is absolutely necessary to maximize my time spent in learning my chosen language of French. I think it is possible that others may feel the same way and I would like to offer here an ongoing resource for people who are focused on reading books in French. Hopefully by having an ongoing resource for what authors people like, don’t like, and why it will save people time in their language learning efforts.

For starters, an excellent resource is this website that provides excellent and comprehensive reviews:
http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/

Please suggest other websites that might be useful as well.

Everyone has their own tastes in reading and what my tastes are can be seen by the listing of books below that I have read and about which I would be glad to discuss with anyone who has questions. Since I read French books for a minimum of 2 hrs. each day, I will be adding to the list regularly. I of course encourage everyone to add their lists of books so we can ask questions re specific authors.

My list to date includes the following books:
Books I have read
*** That were found to be especially outstanding.

L'Armoire Magique C.S. Lewis
Harry Potter, à l'école des sorciers J.K Rowling
Harry Potter et Le Prisonnier D'Azkaban J.K Rowling
Le Petit Prince Saint Exupery
Le Retour de l'Enfant Prodigy A. Gide***
Bonjour Tristesse F. Sagan***
L'Amant Marguerite Duras***
La Symphonie pastorale A. Gide
L'école des sorciers JK Rowling
Stupeur Et Tremblements A. Nothomb***
L'Élégance du hérisson M. Barbery
La Carte et le Territoire M. Houellebecq
Le Sabotage amoureux A. Nothomb
Métaphysique des tubes A. Nothomb
Histoire du lion Personne S. Audeguy
Le lit defait F. Sagan
Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles K. Pancol
La Peste A. Camus
Le Sud Yves Berger
Mercure A. Nothomb
La biographie de la faim A. Nothomb
Thérèse Desqueyroux F. Mauriac***
Poil de carotte J. Renard
La Chambre Rouge Mallet-Joris
La Place A. Ernaux
La Douleur M. Duras***
Le Château de ma mère M. Pagnol
Les Années Annie Ernaux
La grammaire est un chanson douce E. Orsenna
Un Coeur Simple G. Flaubert
Le chant de l'océan M. Dupuy
Lambeaux C. Juliet
L'homme qui plantait des arbresJean Giono
J'irai cracher sur vos tombes B. Vian***
Un barrage contre le Pacifique M. Duras
Un Pedigree P. Modiano
Jean le bleu J. Giono
Sans famille H. Malot***
Le Château de mon père M. Pagnol
Un Sac de Billes J. Joffo***
Voyage au pays des arbres J.M.G. Le Clézio
35 kilos d’éspoir A. Gavalda

Please remember that value of this thread is based on what everyone contributes to it. The more people who contribute to it the greater the breadth and depth of possible choices for reading of books.

The particular value of this thread can be that since it is on the Language Learners Forum, we can all discuss the books in addition to content by suggesting the language level that might be appropriate: A1-C2.
Last edited by Carmody on Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DaveAgain
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:16 pm

For reader reviews I use amazon.fr and babelio.com.

Books I enjoyed enough to recommend to others include:

Huis Clos - Sartre
Trois hommes dans un bateau - Jerome [ebooksgratuits.com]
Aventures de Baron Munchhausen - Gautier [bnf.fr]
Les Peugeot deux siecles d'aventure - Frerejean
Tarartin de tarascon - Daudet [ebooksgratuits.com]
Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part - Gavalda
Andre Citroen - Wolgensinger
Balzac - Zweig
Alexandre Dumas - Troyat
Raspoutine - Troyat
Alienor d'Aquitaine - Pernoud
Honni soit qui mal y pense - Walter

I'm currently reading and enjoying 'Histoire de la decadence et chute de l'empire Romain by Gibbon. [bnf.fr]
My next to-read is Occupe-toi d'Amelie by Feydeau. [archive.org]
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:45 pm

DaveAgain
Books I enjoyed enough to recommend to others include:

Huis Clos - Sartre
Trois hommes dans un bateau - Jerome [ebooksgratuits.com]
Aventures de Baron Munchhausen - Gautier [ebooksgratuits.com]
Les Peugeot deux siecles d'aventure - Frerejean
Tarartin de tarascon - Daudet [ebooksgratuits.com]
Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part - Gavalda
Andre Citroen - Wolgensinger
Balzac - Zweig
Alexandre Dumas - Troyat
Raspoutine - Troyat
Alienor d'Aquitaine - Pernoud
Honni soit qui mal y pense - Walter

I'm currently reading and enjoying 'Histoire de la decadence et chute de l'empire Romain by Gibbon. [bnf.fr]
My next to-read is Occupe-toi d'Amelie by Feydeau. [archive.org]


Many thanks for your contributions; most appreciated.

Please tell me:
1) What did you think of Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part - Gavalda
2) Is the 'Histoire de la decadence et chute de l'empire Romain by Gibbon the multivolume tome that we have all heard so much about. How long do you plan to invest in that effort? I would think it would take an awesome effort, even in English!
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DaveAgain
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:58 pm

Carmody wrote:Many thanks for your contributions; most appreciated.

Please tell me:
1) What did you think of Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part - Gavalda

I liked it, they're short stories. There was some unknown (to me) vocabulary. Memory tells me it was mostly upbeat. I bought it after MorkTheFiddle mentioned it on here, it then sat on my bookshelf for a year before I got around to reading it!
2) Is the 'Histoire de la decadence et chute de l'empire Romain by Gibbon the multivolume tome that we have all heard so much about. How long do you plan to invest in that effort? I would think it would take an awesome effort, even in English!
Yes that's right. I mostly skip the footnotes (unless they're most of the page) which cuts down on the text you read.

I've read the first volume, it's quite a pacy read so far. Interesting and enjoyable. I'm reading the Guizot translation from Bnf.fr (click on the 'document numerique' link in the right hand column, then on 'consulter en ligne')
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:04 pm

DaveAgain

Many thanks for the feedback.
Your reading of Gibbon sounds totally Admirable.
I love History books and have read the Wm. Manchester biography of Winston Churchill, that I loved. I don't think I could not it in French.
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DaveAgain
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 pm

Carmody wrote:DaveAgain

Many thanks for the feedback.
Your reading of Gibbon sounds totally Admirable.
I love History books and have read the Wm. Manchester biography of Winston Churchill, that I loved. I don't think I could not it in French.
I received a Churchill biography for Christmas (in english!). I've added the bilingual book of his war-time speeches the the very long list of books I'd quite like to read, but am too much of a cheapskate to buy until I've read the many, many, many out of copyright books that appeal to me. :-)

There's a Julian Jackson biog of De Gaulle that came out before Christmas that I'd like too, but I'm waiting for it 1. in french, 2. second-hand.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:47 am

I am rereading the The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: by William Manchester. It is two big volumes and really fascinating. The third volume is by Reid but not that good in my opinion. My talking about history books could very easily get out of control.

And now a major question: what dictionary do people use for their French reading? I use the Larousse French Dictionary with 260,000 words.
https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=Larousse+French+Dictionary&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

I was surprised how many words in my recent book 35 kilos d’espoir by A. Gavalda were not listed in the dictionary. I could go to Reverso on the computer but I don't want to keep going to a computer.

I have also the Collins French Dictionary
https://smile.amazon.com/Collins-Robert-Dictionary-Complete-Unabridged/dp/0007556527/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=collins+French+Dictionary&qid=1550194257&s=books&sr=1-2

but it is big and heavy and I can't keep that on my lap when reading a book. I only read books in hard or soft cover, and never in Kindle format.

I usually read each book 3 times so as to maximize my vocabulary takeaway from it. First time is a run through and then the following iterations are successive deep dives where I look up more words.

Everyone has to a a system for their French reading and I would be interested to hear what the different systems are. My system is primitive but seems to work....for me at least.

Anyone who can read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire must have an excellent system already in place. I would love to learn.

Many thanks!
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:59 pm

Please everyone, jump in and discuss whatever French book you are reading and what you think of it.

I am currently reading the much talked about Dans le jardin de l’ogre by Leïla Slimani. She was awarded the Prix Goncourt . She is also easily searched on YouTube if you are interested.

For some reason I am finding the vocab of Slimani much for manageable than the 35 kilos d’éspoir A. Gavalda which is a Young Adult book.

If you have read either one please join in and let me know what you think.
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Lianne » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:04 pm

I recently finished my first French novel through extensive reading (not including the time I read Divergent with the English and French versions side by side). It was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel called La lune des coyotes (I think the original title was Coyote Moon). I hadn't done extensive reading before, because I didn't think I was ready for it, but was surprised to find I could follow the plot without looking things up! Though I definitely didn't know every word.

Now I've moved on to a series called La vie compliqée de Léa Olivier. I picked up the first book of the series at the library. It enticed me because there were 9 books on the shelf in the series (and actually, according to Goodreads there are 14 altogether). So I can continue with the same story for a long time. It's from Quebec, so there is definitely some funny Quebec French in there, but I can usually tell the difference. It's also written in the form of emails and text messages, meaning it's quite informal.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:06 am

Congratulations; sounds like you are on a roll!
:)
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