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Reading French books for fun!

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    I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread where people can share their thoughts on good French books to read. It would be great if people could recommend books here and say what they thought about them - both in content and how hard it was to read the language.

    I'm hoping to go to university next year to continue studying French and to start Russian from scratch so I'm at A-level standard, but this thread is for anyone!

    Books I have read so far/am reading:

    Un Sac de Billes - Joseph Joffo. Read this as part of my A level studies and it was really good read, plus it's a true story (about a Jewish boy during WWII in France) so I think that made it more interesting. However a few people were a bit disappointed with it as there wasn't a huge amount that happened! The language wasn't too hard, although it did get a bit sticky in some places!

    Agates et Calots – Joseph Joffo. The prequel to Un Sac de Billes (but written after). Not a lot happened in this book to be honest, particularly as the main character is only about 7, however it was quite sweet. The language is probably about the same as USDB, if not a little easier.

    Kiffe Kiffe Demain – Faïza Guène. This book annoyed me a bit as there wasn’t much of a plot and it is probably aimed at 13/14 year old girls. However the language wasn’t too difficult and it had some interesting slang in it.

    Et si c’était vrai… - Marc Levy. I’m about a quarter of the way through this and so far so good. The film ‘just like heaven’ was based on this book, but I’m hoping there will be more plot twists than the film! The language is harder than those mentioned above, particularly with medical terms near the beginning, but it does get easier the further you get in and the story is quite easy to follow.

    Please share your experiences as I’m sure lots of people will appreciate them!
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    L'Herbe Bleu and No et Moi are good.
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    La Silence de la Mer - Jean Bruller
    Content: It was quite depressing. It really makes you think. If you are interested in books about war, politics and history, you'd probably enjoy this. It's not set in the battlefield, but it's still a good read.
    Language: It's good practise for an A2 student. The text isn't too hard to get through, it's relatively short so you can complete it during one sitting.

    Bonjour Tristesse - Sagan
    Content: I didn't like it. I thought the book was uneventful, partially because I felt like I couldn't connect with the main character. She was just incredibly spoilt and selfish.
    Language: It's not too challenging, but you can still pick up new vocab while reading.

    I've also read Harry Potter in French for fun. I was a bit unimpressed that they renamed Snape to 'Rogue' though
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    (Original post by heymoriarty)
    [B]
    I've also read Harry Potter in French for fun. I was a bit unimpressed that they renamed Snape to 'Rogue' though
    But the choixpeau makes up for it, whoever thought that up was a genius!
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    "Et si c'était vrai" turned out to be a bit rubbish in the end, so I probably wouldn't recommend it!
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    The Count of Monte Cristo - masterpiece of French literature.
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    La Fontaine It's a collection of fables and they're good for language learning as they're designed to be simplistic.

    Also anything by Sagan, she is slowly becoming my favourite author. Favourites are: Bonjour Tristess, Un Sang D'aquelle, Aimex-voud Brahms
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    ha! i'm going to get started on Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers soon, does that count:hahaha:
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    (Original post by Zolata)
    ...
    I'd recommend Georges Perec's Penser / Classer. It's quite a ... different ... book, but is broken up into short chapters, each of which is readable as an independent unit, and is superbly written.

    (Original post by heymoriarty)
    ...
    I read Le Silence de la Mer during my A-Levels too! Nothing to add to what you've said; I just wanted to share the excitement
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    (Original post by rac1)
    ha! i'm going to get started on Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers soon, does that count:hahaha:
    Of course, it definitely counts! I think it's great to read books that you've already read in English as you know what's going to happen and can grasp it without reaching for a dictionary every few seconds. I guess when you advance more it's better to read "proper" French books, if I can call them that, or just books in French that you don't know anything about as it may test your skills more, but for now I enjoy reading translations of books I've read in English. In fact, what I sometimes do is read a book in English and read the French one soon after so it's clear in my head and it's fairly easy to understand that way.
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    Personally, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Molière - his plays actually make quite an easy & fun read once you get a hang of the language make sure you get an annotated version though, some of the more "archaic" expressions are really bizarre.
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    (Original post by skimbleshanks)
    Personally, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Molière - his plays actually make quite an easy & fun read once you get a hang of the language make sure you get an annotated version though, some of the more "archaic" expressions are really bizarre.
    Le bourgeois gentilhomme is actually really funny
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    (Original post by Dougieowner)
    Of course, it definitely counts! I think it's great to read books that you've already read in English as you know what's going to happen and can grasp it without reaching for a dictionary every few seconds. I guess when you advance more it's better to read "proper" French books, if I can call them that, or just books in French that you don't know anything about as it may test your skills more, but for now I enjoy reading translations of books I've read in English. In fact, what I sometimes do is read a book in English and read the French one soon after so it's clear in my head and it's fairly easy to understand that way.
    Thanks, good idea too!
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    Err, apart from all of these more academic reccommendations - I tend to read sort of 'trashy' English books that have been translated into French. So, easy reads like Sophie Kinsella for example.

    Trust me, when you live in France, the last thing you want to do is sit down to a heavy piece of french literature
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    Any French books that have French on one page, the English translation on the other? Or at the back or something?
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    Haven't read a book in French for aggges....read Les Choses in December, I think, then a lot of Colette and random books when I was in France for a month in the summer....inc. one called "La Crise de la Jeunesse", which is practically all about what's happening today. It was v. easy to get cheap books since there was a vide-grenier in the nearby village and there's an antique shop with tons of cheap stuff, and all the books in my grandparents' house....but yeah. Recently all I've tried is Zazie in the Metro, which made me giggle in the easy bits and give up in the slangy ones. I'll have another stab at it this weekend.

    I read lots of books about France, if that counts.
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    I have been working my way through Zola's Rougon-Macquart series after loving them in English. He's not the easiest author to read, so it's a feeling of great achievement when I finish one. L'assommoir is my favourite.

    My all-time favourite French novel is Madame Bovary, which you really have to read.
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    (Original post by rac1)
    ha! i'm going to get started on Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers soon, does that count:hahaha:
    I've read part of that in French, after accidentally leaving it in my bag when I came back from French exchange :ninja: . Some of it's amusingly easy to understand (e.g. >>AAAAAARGH! Harry a crie[/]), but a lot of it is vocab you don't know and it actually really reinforces certain vocab and tenses.

    I've read the translation of Les Grandes Meaulnes and I personally found it a bit frustrating and dull, so I wasn't motivated to attempt the French. However, I know that a French class in my school have tried it and have found it pretty hard going, but then again they are just post-GCSE standard so it might be better at A level.
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    (Original post by najabri)
    I've read part of that in French, after accidentally leaving it in my bag when I came back from French exchange :ninja: . Some of it's amusingly easy to understand (e.g. >>AAAAAARGH! Harry a crie[/]), but a lot of it is vocab you don't know and it actually really reinforces certain vocab and tenses.

    I've read the translation of Les Grandes Meaulnes and I personally found it a bit frustrating and dull, so I wasn't motivated to attempt the French. However, I know that a French class in my school have tried it and have found it pretty hard going, but then again they are just post-GCSE standard so it might be better at A level.
    LOL
    I think it was the French premiere for one of the Harry Potter films I was watching and there was this part that sticks in my mind where a lot of people I'd never seen before came on to the stage, then one of them goes "Harry je déteste les araignées"
    I was like whooooo it's French Ron!

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