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Reading French books for fun!

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    (Original post by Zolata)
    But the choixpeau makes up for it, whoever thought that up was a genius!
    je suis d'accord!
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    (Original post by Zolata)
    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!

    @Zolata,

    Heey, i'm currently doing 'un sac de billes'. I was wondering if you could tell me how you prepared for the exams, and where you got your notes/style of essays for this story. Im currently teaching it to myself and have stuck on what i'm supposed to do next after reading it!
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    (Original post by :)J)
    @Zolata,Heey, i'm currently doing 'un sac de billes'. I was wondering if you could tell me how you prepared for the exams, and where you got your notes/style of essays for this story. Im currently teaching it to myself and have stuck on what i'm supposed to do next after reading it!
    I'm also sitting the exam this summer, so I'm starting to revise for it about now too. Are you doing AQA?

    Whilst we were studying the book in class we planned some of the essays and wrote a couple too. The AQA website has all of the past exam papers on it, plus some extra sample questions, so you can see what sort of things they might ask. The general areas that they might ask questions on are: themes (or important ideas), characters (either describing them or describing their relationships with each other), your personal reaction to the book (e.g. what you found mouving or touching), and what you learnt from the book (e.g. the historical/social context). They could also ask smething about the techniques that the author uses, but personally I would avoid that for this book as there isn't really much to say about that.

    The essay questions are very very general, as they have to fit to any book that you might have read, so there should almost always be something to talk about.

    As for the oral, make sure you can talk a bit about the author (e.g. that he wrote the book in the 70's, that the book is about his childhood etc.) and his other books (you don't have to read them, just know that they exist). The rest of the questions should be quite easy to anwer if you've read the book. They might be like "what did you learn from reading this book?", "is this a book for adults or children" or something as simple as "did you enjoy it?".

    Hope that helps! It will probably be different if you're on a diferent exam board though :/ Let me know if you want any other details
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    If you are looking for developing your reading and comprehension skills while learning about French culture, you should look for My French Passport series (author: S. Berton, M'aidez Publishing). The level 1 was created for beginners with no previous knowledge in French. The book is in color and is on Amazon. They have free audio recordings on www.maidezeducation.com so you can also practice oral comprehension.

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Updated: December 4, 2013
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