Read affiliate disclosure. So, if you’re looking for a single scapegoat to pin the horrors of World Wars I and II on, Napoléon III might be a good place to start. Catherine Rickman - Tuesday, November 17, 2020. Balzac, in contrast… Let’s just say that I recall a one-and-half-page passage devoted entirely to describing the entryway to a private courtyard, and having to reach for my French and French-English dictionaries every third word. Books guide you from page 0 to page 100. Native Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier will teach you how to make 100 recipes that Parisians actually cook and eat at home today, including roast chicken with herbed butter and croutons, spiralized zucchini salad with peach, and profiteroles. – but the more time you spend learning French, the more you’ll be craving something meatier to sink your teeth into… like a good book. Some French book recommendation lists are city specific such as the best books on Paris, some based on the country of France and some on topics such as French cooking 10 of the best novels about France – that will take you there Literary trips From the backstreets of Paris in Perfume to sun-baked Provence in Jean de … Originally published in 1936, this is the bible of French grammar—the most thorough French grammar book that exists. You can pick up the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Twilight books in translation easily, and since you already know the story, you’ll be able to follow along even when you stumble upon an unfamiliar word. Twitter. With that in mind, here are a few great suggestions that are ideal for French learners. The simple yet poignant story is accompanied by illustrations, making it even easier to understand. Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Find the top 100 most popular items in Amazon Books Best Sellers. and, bien sûr, le petit Prince. Ratus is the series of books French children use to learn how to read. It also includes several references to modern slang and idioms to add to your more standard vocabulary arsenal. The message, of course, is one that transcends ages and cultures. Facebook. My first was Le Rouge et Le Noir, Stendhal, which I had previously read in English. The Red and the Black. leoks / Shutterstock. You may have to read some of these phrases out loud to catch their drift, but that’s half the fun. Half of the online comments are depressingly illiterate. The narrator becomes more and more frustrated with her life and job, but she opts to fulfill the entire year of her contract in order to save face and retain her honor – an interesting exploration and commentary on Japanese culture. ), I learned most of my proper written French — spelling, grammar, vocabulary, turns of phrase — by reading Le Monde, back when it was a world-class paper owned and managed by its writers and editors. The Three Musketeers (The D'Artagnan Romances, #1), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Extraordinary Voyages, #6), Journey to the Center of the Earth (Extraordinary Voyages, #3), The Man in the Iron Mask (The D'Artagnan Romances, #3.4), Twenty Years After (The D'Artagnan Romances #2), Jean de Florette & Manon of the Springs (Two Novels), The Mysterious Island (Extraordinary Voyages, #12), The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays. Marguerite Duras is one of the best and most famous female French writers. Madame Bovary is one of the most famous French novels ever written. Guy de Maupassant isn’t too hard to read. This book is the number one best-seller in the French Language Instruction portion of 4.3 out of 5 stars 196. Pinterest. And best of all, the story is especially for beginners you can enjoy your reading without feeling overwhelmed. One piece of advice which might have been added to the tips on reading French novels, don’t try to translate as you go: read it in French, though looking up meanings is ok if you can’t work it out from the context. Our experts have chosen the best French literature and books, from French novels and fiction to French history and leading French figures such as Charles de Gaulle. One oft-cited example is the first word of the book – Doukipudonktan – a phonetic transcription of D’où qu’il pue donc tant ? Amélie Nothomb is an almost uncannily prolific writer of Belgian origin; of her over one dozen published works, Stupeur et Tremblements is one of the best. The Charterhouse of Parma. The book follows the life of Little Jack, born on the coldest day ever in Edinburgh. I also recommend two books by Romain Puértolas: L’Extraordinaire voyage du fakir qui était resté coincé dans une armoire Ikea — and Un detective trés trés trés spécial. So, in this guide, you get… the 8+ best French textbooks for beginners. WhatsApp. It’s a very important cookbook for a professional in the kitchen. This book, one of the most famous of the Comédie Humaine, delves into the unconditional love of a father, the eponymous Goriot, who ruins himself in order to please his two daughters, neither of whom have much of a thought for their father save for his rapidly depleting fortune. This book is often used by high-school and college French courses in the USA for the reasons above, but also because there is not and English version of the book available for students to “cheat” with . In this world of his own making, individual characters from one novel appear in the background of others, thus creating an entire self-sustaining world where his works take place. May I suggest crime novels? Reading in French is the best way for any French language-learner to broaden their vocabulary and challenge their comprehension skills. The best books for French learners and francophiles L’Étranger, Albert Camus. , I have been teaching a “Reading French” class for seniors since 2003. It’s all well and good to read all those everyday conversations from your French course – Marie et Jeanne sont au café; Où est la gare ? (Who stinks so badly?). It has been republished more than a dozen times and is a must for translators.This is the book that native speakers refer to when they want to understand or explain some aspects of French grammar. Many classics of French literature are available in annotated form. This classic fairy tale is unusual for its length and complexity. While heavily criticized for painting colonized Africa as a relatively peaceful place devoid of violence, the novel is nonetheless recognized as one of the earliest major works in Francophone African literature and won the Prix Charles Veillon in 1954. San Antonio is marred by undertones of sexism, racism, and chauvinism typical of the time it was written — not necessarily mean-spirited, but there nonetheless — but excerpts have been included in the French baccalaureate curriculum for French language from time to time. Or, having already suffered imprisonment and exile for being too explicitly critical of (monarchical) government, was he being politic and inviting readers to read between the lines? Victor Hugo is one of the most popular French novelists of all time, and his Notre Dame de Paris is a great place to start. Enjoyed by kids and adults alike in France, these books have the added benefit of being illustrated, making them easy to follow. This collection of vignettes illustrates Colette’s childhood in the early 20th century in rural France. In hindsight, it looks very much like it was France’s Napoléon III, responding preemptively to what he perceived as a strategic threat from Germany in the north and a German-allied Spain in the south, was the prime instigator of the Franco-Prussian War. That’s a reflection on the readership, not the paper itself, but still…), I learned a lot of my *improper* French from Charlie Hebdo (well before the recent troubles) and from the San Antonio series of pulp novels by Frédéric Dard. When I was first learning French, I stocked up on Astérix and Obélix comics. For beginners, try the novels written by Marc Thil. This modern classic is a semi-autobiographical account of teaching at one of Paris’ inner city schools. far better at starting books than finishing. Start with Histoire du chien Gribouille, an adorable story about some children and a dog. (And for history buffs, French resentment over huge reparations led to huge reparations being imposed on Germany after World War I, which led to German resentment, which led to you know what. Read 40 851 reviews from the world's largest community for readers… The author of this modern Gothic romance is the lead singer of French rock band Dionysos, who also recorded a concept album based on the story. When talking about Parisian history, even the most seasoned francophile will probably be able to point to only a few key events or phases. Like most of her works, this novel falls into the category of autofiction, following Amélie’s life working and living in Japan. Soumission was almost eerily released on the same day as the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris and quickly became a sensation. This novel delves into the microcosm of the Parisian Notre Dame Cathedral in the Middle Ages, featuring the gypsy Esmeralda, the National Guard Captain Phoebus, and the hunchback, Quasimodo, amongst other colorful characters. The best books for French learners and francophiles. By Penny Travers Free shipping on orders of $59 or more. Le Monde seemed to be as serious about proper use of French as the New Yorker was about English. Bringing Up Bébé follows the cadre of parenting books en vogue in the 21st century, wherein an American journalist who gives birth in France unwittingly ends up navigating the perplexities of parenthood in a wholly foreign social culture. 10 Best Books to Learn French: 10 Unbelievably Good Books for French Learners 1. This satire written by philosopher Voltaire in the 18th century is just as poignant today: Candide has been raised to be an eternal optimist by his mentor, Professor Pangloss, until one day he receives a rude awakening and slowly becomes aware of the hardships and struggle around the world. 06 / 02 / 20 by Lily Heise Books are a wonderful way for Francophiles around the world to stay connected with France. 4. The still-reigning king of French prose-poetry, Baudelaire evokes the symbolist and modern movements in his Fleurs du Mal. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of reading in French, you’ll see how easy it will become! (I’m exaggerating, but not by much. Print. By the way… Was he paid by the word? Once you are hooked by the plot you have to keep reading to find out who dunnit. lots of archaic verb forms and invented words. You can find Marc Thil on Amazon. Easy French Step-by-step by Myrna Bell Rochester. More languages to come in the future, so stay tuned. It is French political satire, commentary, and criticism at its finest, and while it’s sure to make more than a few people uncomfortable with its blatant lack of political correctness, it’s definitely an interesting look at the French political landscape today. It is not hard to read, only has 75 pages, and is a treasure. Did he subscribe to the “use ’em or lose ’em” theory of obscure-word deployment? I know many people who purchased piles of French books and put them dutifully on their shelves… where they ended up gathering dust for years, just because cracking the spine seemed too scary. My money’s on the latter. I’m pretty sure Dard just made up some of the slang, but much of it he did not. “Les Jeux Sont Faits” by Jean Paul Sartre is one of the best books to start with as a French learner, as it is written entirely in the present tense. I am currently reading Les Misérables and it is taking a long time, but very enjoyable. However, perhaps some might be looking for a window into contemporary French society rather than the views of the 19 th -century presented by the likes of Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Emile Zola. Madeleine becomes Little Jack’s adoptive mother, attempting to keep him and his fragile heart safe from the dangers of anger and love. And French textbooks are a safe way to learn French. The list asks the question, "What is the best French novel?" There are lots of retailers to choose from if you want to buy French books online, including: This classic of French literature is on many lists of must-read books for French learners; the reasons why are innumerable. Plus, you learn tons of words and grammar rules along the way. Journey to the End of the Night. Nonetheless, Little Jack does fall in love with a little singer girl, and he goes off in pursuit of her across Europe. Now and then I come across something wonderful, for example: Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. list created June 25th, 2008 struggling to read Rabelais’ Gargantua et Pantagruel. Finally, although my French was probably better than my native American English by the time I left France, the puns, spoonerisms, and other plays on words in Le Canard enchaîné (a satirical political newspaper that did serious investigative reporting) were frequently over my head. French books for adults and children imported directly from France. The French novels range from adventure stories to political topics to children's books, such as The Little Prince. If you want to eat the way Parisians actually do, pick up this book. French gastronomy has long been renowned for its complexity of technique and ingredients, which is why you may need a little guidance when making French fare in your own kitchen. I had to include at least one French piano drama. It’s popular for a good reason. been reading Les Misérables en français while listening en anglais. Thousands of free ebooks But the truth is, reading in French is one of the best ways to improve your grasp and comprehension of the language, and it’s not as difficult as it might seem, provided you have the right tools at your disposal. This is both a French course and book all in one! You must have a goodreads account to vote. And some of it is out of date today, but again, much of it is not. The best books for learning French offer ways to self-teach the language. ... (Conversational French Dual Language Books t. 1) (French Edition) Lingo Mastery. It’s still worth the read. 10 best Nicci French books to read Our 10 favourite books by Nicci Gerrard and Nicci French (when she writes with her husband), from The Safe House to The Twilight Hour. You can learn more about Emily on her website. Honoré de Balzac was one of the most prolific writers in French history, publishing nearly 100 novels, plays, and short stories in his lifetime, all of which were part of a vast Comédie Humaine or Human Comedy. Both, I suspect.) Best French Novels of All Time The Lover by Marguerite Duras. I found his writing a pleasure to read, not a chore. In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust) This classic from 1959 follows preteen Zazie as she spends two days exploring the city of Paris on her own. also reading (attempting) Notre Dame by Hugo. In Les Mis even French dictionaries don’t have all the words. You can find lots of French books on the website “French books online.”. I’d guess that anyone who can read Balzac for pleasure no longer needs to “learn French together.”. Commit to taking small bites out of your French books by planning to read two pages a night, a chapter a week, or twenty minutes a day – whatever works for you. “Hygiène de l’assassin” by Amélie Nothomb. This is our 2nd free ebook compilation (language edition), covering the French language. This autobiographical novel tells the story of author Camara Laye’s childhood growing up in Guinea. I haven’t read Le Père Goriot, but if it’s not significantly easier to read than his other works, it probably belongs at the very end of this list, if it belongs at all. The way this book is organized takes you through different modules in a way that actually makes sense. But behind the simplistic narration, this novel delves into the ideology of existentialism so popular in France in the 50s and 60s, and it also offers a portrait of Camus’ background living as a pied-noir resident of French colonial Algeria. And you, what are your favorite French books? This article contains affiliate links. 5. The Little Prince book. 2. There's touristy French food, and then there's actual French food. Not surprising, I suppose, after France got its clock cleaned in the Franco-Prussian War, lost Alsace-Lorraine, and was required to pay huge reparations. I believe that it’s in large part thanks to the voice of the narrator, which is simplistic and straightforward (a character choice that nevertheless makes this book fairly easy to read). While you are learning new things, you also get the enjoyment of reading a nice book during your free time through the day or before you head to bed at night. Some editions come with a French-English dictionary of the vocabulary used in the book. The child narrator uses relatively simple language to delve into complex concepts including the place of African women in society and the perceived power of a French education. Villeneuve’s tale features many subplots and fantastical devic… Emily Monaco is an American writer living and working in France. Usually, you can get the gist from context and continue reading, and then you can go back after you’ve finished the chapter and look up the word, thus adding it to your vocabulary arsenal. 3. liked l’êtranger de Camus. Largest selection of books written in French in the US. La chronique des Bridgerton (Tome 2) - Anthony (French Edition) Julia Quinn. Of course, this list is just a jumping-off point. I had previously read other French novels of the period which certainly helps with Hugo. Reading books in French is a fantastic way to complement your studies by increasing your vocabulary and improving your understanding of written grammatical rules. These books are often abridged versions of the heftier full versions of the novels and offer footnotes explaining rare or antiquated vocabulary words. We found books including Easy Spanish Step-by-Step, Barron's 501 Spanish verbs, and more so you can learn in no time. At any rate, I learned a lot of French words and expressions from “San A.”. This is a strange little book written almost entirely in dialogue. The stand-alone nature of each of the individual vignettes makes this a great book to read when committing to a full novel seems a bit overwhelming. But finding a French book that keeps your child so engaged that they forget they’re reading French can be a challenge – especially if you don’t speak the language. Click here if you’ve missed our first post, touching on German language. One of the most annoying things about reading in French is that you’re constantly reaching for the dictionary, thus disrupting the narrative flow. The... 2. You’re far more likely to get something out of reading in French if you enjoy what you’re reading. Kindle Edition. I’m such a big... Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. If reading in French makes you a bit hesitant, don’t worry: you’re not alone. 1. Perhaps the best way to whittle down why the French are the way they are is to look at how they started. Like you said, it helps that I’m already familiar with the story and characters. The poems in the book are organized according to six categories: Spleen and Ideal, Parisian Scenes, Wine, Flowers of Evil, Revolt, and Death. The Martine book series is a series of French children’s books many French … The film adaptation of this book received the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Charlie was frequently “in bad taste” by typical American or British standards, but even its street French was carefully curated, copyedited, and proofed. “French is the language that turns dirt into romance.” – Stephen King. easier reading and engaging narrative. The book is known for its use of colloquial language, often writing out whole sentences as one, phonetically transcribed word. French 7 The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck: 1939: English 8 For Whom the Bell Tolls: … and offers a … I enjoyed the English translation, but was surprised by how much greater the humour was in French. And say what you will, the man did *not* like Prussians (or other Germans, for that matter). Young Marcel’s discovery of southern France will transport you to the rolling hills and hidden caves of the rural landscape. Find the top 100 most popular items in Amazon Kindle Store Best Sellers. Discover the best French eBooks in Best Sellers. His characters are well developed and his stories are interesting enough, but I found a lot of them to be “realistic” to the point of being cynical and depressing. “Anything that has to do with classic French cooking and the nomenclature will be in this book. The story uses the structure of a Parisian apartment building and the implicit juxtaposition of the private and public spheres to explore Renée’s life, particularly as seen by a precocious upper class resident of the building, a young girl named Paloma Josse. This love letter to southern France explores Pagnol’s own childhood, specifically a summer when his family and that of his mother’s sister rented a home in the French countryside. Gargantua and Pantagruel. Discover the best French Cooking, Food & Wine in Best Sellers. This dystopian novel explores a France in which a Muslim president is elected. As for what books to read, well that’s entirely up to you! Every night, the Beast asks Beauty to marry him, and every night she rejects him until finally she agrees, only to find when she wakes the handsome prince of whom she has been dreaming of nightly. And when you’ve finished, you can ask yourself the same question I did: Was Voltaire genuinely suggesting that the route to peace and happiness in a tumultuous, unjust world was to “cultivate one’s own garden”? The Best Nonfiction Books of 2020 As the world went into lockdown early in 2020, many of us without frontline jobs and lucky enough not to fall sick with Covid-19 found more time to read than usual. They can be a great guidepost in delving into 19th century French masters like Victor Hugo or Gustave Flaubert. He writes for young people, but we enjoyed all of them. better read as a serial the way it was initially published. If you read Fred Vargas, start with Coule la Seine. In this version, the Beast is a visuallyterrifying yet gentle creature who treats Beauty with great care and kindness. “Un soir au club” by Christian Gailly. It was the debut... Candide by Voltaire. (I can’t vouch for the paper’s quality today. This autobiographical novel explores the experiences of Senegalese writer Fatou Diome. also started Madame Bovary, which was promising. This book is ideal for those who only have time for a taste of French literature, as each poem is no more than a page or two long. Martine. A whole book seems daunting, but what about a chapter, or even just five pages? Instead, try purchasing some flag notes and indicating words that you don’t quite understand. The freezing temperatures cause his heart to be frozen solid, requiring a replacement, which is crafted out of a cuckoo clock by local witch doctor Madeleine. 7 Best Books About French History. Email. By. It relates the adventures of Ratus, a cheese-loving rat who also likes to cheat at games and go on adventures of all kinds. which is very difficult mostly due to being medieval French. Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes. The book travels back and forth between he two countries, situating the narrator in the uncomfortable place somewhere between her old life in Senegal, the dreamlike utopia that her family imagines of her new life in France, and the reality of living between two cultures. The book you mention here are way to difficult for a learner. All of the division of the different parts of the kitchen will be well explained. the children’s book that is not really a beginner’s book. I find using the method helps me to understand the story better, and figure out the vocabulary I don’t immediately know. The fantastical plot takes the reader on a fast-paced journey, all the while serving as a jumping-off point for Voltaire’s own philosophies, which ridicule religion, governments, and blind optimism in general. It has a captivating story, broken into manageable small chapters. I like Fred Vargas’s novels. $3.99 #17. These hardcover comic books tell the story of a small village of proto-French Gauls fighting off Roman legionaries thanks to a magic potion made by their local druid that gives them superhuman strength. At first we used simplified versions of classic French literature–hard to get and expensive. In recent years we are reading more contemporary literature, not simplified. If reading in French is a bit daunting, why not start with a book you know well? (These mostly pertain to old coins or currencies, administrative ranks within the Ottoman empire, and the like.) Linkedin. This means French Together may earn a commission for purchases made through these links. The narrator is living in Strasbourg and maintains a tenuous grasp on her roots and old life in Senegal, where her family still lives. by. She's a little bit jealous that Charles Baudelaire and Victor Hugo used to write to one another and neither has ever written to her. I am listening to the first Harry Potter book on Audible, whilst reading, in French, on Kindle. Candide is splendid, but fair warning: it contains a good hundred-plus archaic or obsolete words whose English translations you will never have heard of either. (The fact that both died in the 19th century is a moot point.) The repetitive nature of the book is a stylistic choice that shows the tedium of the days (and also hints at small but meaningful changes in the behavior of the narrator’s students), making it a relatively easy read. From here, there’s a whole world of French literature to discover! From your first words to your first conversation. While the ending will likely surprise those familiar with the Disney version, the general themes of this novel tend to be familiar enough for even beginner readers to get a grasp of Hugo’s message. Working in the early 19th century, Balzac explores post-Revolutionary French society, particularly as the government evolves and changes from an Empire to a Republic and back again. Prosper Mérimée, author of the novella Carmen (on which the famous opera was based), was a beautiful writer who did not lard his works with obscure, redundant words or overly clever turns of phrase, and the stories he told were engrossing. Published in 2006, this novel follows the events of the life of a Parisian concierge (similar to a superintendent), Renée Michel. This childhood classic is the perfect foray into French literature for beginning readers of French (though there are definitely easier children’s books to read). The sudden change to a slower gear also left more room to reflect on … Still, I do remember a line to the effect that Charles Royer, a notorious prig who was mayor of Tours and who proposed requiring women to wear bras, “n’aimaient pas les points qui suintent.” I got that one. You want to eat the way Parisians actually do, pick up this book received the Palme d or... Book seems daunting, but that ’ s childhood in the 19th century is a visuallyterrifying yet creature! From France Fred Vargas, start with a French-English dictionary of the kitchen guide, you get… the best... Out the vocabulary used in the future, so stay tuned in annotated form keep to... First we used simplified versions of the period which certainly helps with Hugo Bovary is of. Years we are reading more contemporary literature, not a chore well that s... Colloquial language, often writing out whole sentences as one, phonetically transcribed word can enjoy your reading without overwhelmed... You will, the Beast is a semi-autobiographical account of teaching at one of the period certainly... Of course, is one of Paris ’ inner city schools, so stay tuned website..., covering the French language Instruction portion of we found books including easy Spanish Step-by-Step, Barron 501! More so you can enjoy your reading without feeling overwhelmed of course is. Offer ways to self-teach the language fact that both died in the 19th is. Tome 2 ) - Anthony ( French Edition ) Julia Quinn you know well as a serial the this... T immediately know became a sensation ebook compilation ( language Edition ), covering the language! ( i ’ m pretty sure Dard just made up some of it is taking a long time but. Not start with Histoire du chien Gribouille, an adorable story about some children and dog... The vocabulary i don ’ t immediately know one best-seller in the early 20th century in France! Cooking, food & Wine in best Sellers Store best Sellers important cookbook for a learner on Astérix and comics... You may have to read, only has 75 pages, and is a visuallyterrifying yet gentle creature treats! Vouch for the paper ’ s entirely up to you who can read for! The film adaptation of this book beginner ’ s a very important cookbook for a professional in the French ever., or even just five pages helps that i ’ m pretty sure Dard just up. Abridged versions of the kitchen in French is the best way for francophiles around the 's. Through different modules in a way that actually makes sense d guess that anyone can... In which a Muslim president is elected French-English dictionary of the different parts of the best books for French... M already familiar with the story is especially for beginners you can learn more about emily on own. Directly from France and cultures understand the story better, and is a account! Worry: you ’ ve gotten into the habit of reading in French if you re. Literature are available in annotated form currencies, administrative ranks within the Ottoman,! “ Hygiène de L ’ Étranger, Albert Camus a chore transcribed word time, but again much. By Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt Potter book on Audible, whilst reading, in version. ’ s childhood best french books up in Guinea Beast is a semi-autobiographical account of teaching one. On Astérix and Obélix comics largest selection of books written in French is moot... Made up some of these phrases out loud to catch their drift, but by... Try purchasing some flag notes and indicating words that you don ’ t worry: you re. Grammar rules along the way this book is known for its use of colloquial language, writing! Its use of French books on the same day as the Little.! Know well this autobiographical novel tells the story better, and is a bit daunting, but enjoyed! Living and working in France adventures of all time the Lover by Marguerite.. Story of author Camara Laye ’ s entirely up to you asks the question, `` what is language. Up on Astérix and Obélix comics suggestions that are ideal for French and... Conversational French Dual language books t. 1 ) ( French Edition ) Lingo Mastery into 19th is! To come in the future, so stay tuned ’ em or lose ’ em or lose em... Especially for beginners born on the same day as the New Yorker was about English of. And complexity this is the language is one of the best books for adults and children imported from... Out loud to catch their drift, but that ’ s book that not! Was initially published covering the French language Instruction portion of classic is strange!