Need Help Please

DiskuteraDéfi 999 (999 Challenge en français)

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Need Help Please

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dec 9, 2008, 7:33am

Hello everyone, I am participating in the English 999 Challenge. I would like to get my French back up to speed (once lived in Paris); therefore, I have a category for books in French. May I ask for your help with suggestions please. My interests are quite varied, but as I have been away from the language for some time I am reluctant to choose anything too "heavy" (hard to enjoy the book if I am having to look up every second word;-)) All suggestions welcome.

Redigerat: dec 9, 2008, 9:16am


I hope that Cecilturtle will see your message, (s)he speaks English and French and I'm sure that (s)he will be able to help you.
What do you like to read? Non fiction, fiction, action, thriller, romantic, ... This will help us to find books for you.

( And sorry about my English!!! )

dec 9, 2008, 8:20am

Thanks Cathcartes! Your English is better than my French! Fiction, Mysteries, Sci-fi and Fantasy are at the top of the list but I pretty well read everything.

dec 9, 2008, 9:24am

I loved (read and re-read, which is not common for me) "Le cimetière des poupées" by Mazarine Pingeot. The book is a psychological novel, got bad reviews (I repeat: I LOVED it) and one of the bad things was the poor vocabulary (normal for the book because that's a woman like everyone who tells her life), just what you want.

dec 9, 2008, 10:16am

-----I am reluctant to choose anything too "heavy" (hard to enjoy the book if I am having to look up every second word;-))-----

Don't try the books by Amélie Nothomb. Her novels are very well written but the words she uses are sometimes too hard for the frenchspeaking readers themselves.

dec 9, 2008, 10:33am

Have you considered finding both English and French versions of a book and going between them, maybe a chapter at a time? That way you can plunge into an intermediate or advanced-level work, but not worry about losing the plot. (Try the French first, for a challenge!)

When I'm reading in French, I also set a self-imposed limit as to how many words I can look up in a dictionary (usually it's one per page). That way I have to use context to figure out most of the words I don't know, but I still get an exact definition for the one I'm most curious about.

dec 9, 2008, 10:37am

Oh, and Le scaphandre et le papillon is an interesting and not-too-difficult read in French. (It's also been made into a movie, but I haven't seen it yet.)

dec 9, 2008, 10:48am

Oops! Sorry, I forgot you were speaking English too!

dec 9, 2008, 11:22am

Moi? Ah, non pas du tout! Tu as de bons conseils. :)

dec 9, 2008, 11:26am

Oui, toi. ;-)

Tu dis quand même:
5. Littérature française (je suis anglophone)
dans la présentation de tes catégories? Ou alors j'ai raté un épisode. :-(

Redigerat: dec 9, 2008, 2:12pm

Ah, ce n'est rien. De toute façon, il paraît que mon français n'est si pire qu'on sait tout de suite que je suis anglophone. ;)

dec 9, 2008, 7:19pm

Merci pour le vote de confiance, Cathcartes!

I don't have much merit, I grew up in the two languages. I'm not much of a fantasy/sci-fi reader, but here are some choices that are both interesting and - I think - fairly accessible:
Tonino Benacquista - I recommend Le Serrurier volant - it has the advantage of being illustrated which might provide a welcome break!
Albert Camus - he needs no introduction. I find L'Étanger is actually (linguistically) quite easy to read.
Joseph Kessel - adventure novels
Philippe Labro - wrote of his experience as a French student in the US - there' are good cultural clashes in there!
Maurice Leblanc - the inventor of Arsène Lupin one of France most famous detectives
Maupassant - short stories are always a good way of exploring literature
Marcel Pagnol - wrote a lot of plays but his childhood memories are excellent - you get a real feel for the South of France
Françoise Sagan - very 1960's-ish but fast cars and cocktails are always fun. I recommend Bonjour Tristesse - you can always watch the movie with David Niven!
Éric-Émmanuel Schmitt is one of my favorites; philosophy told in stories - he's very popular right now.
Fred Vargas - solid murder mysteries
Bernard Weber - he's a bit sci-fi: explores utopian societies and various technologies.

Hope that helps et bonne lecture!

dec 10, 2008, 7:22am

Thank you all very much for the help. I will be adding various of these to my list. Ah Camus! - I remember L'Etranger from the 6th Form, many, many moons ago. Maybe it's time to revisit him.

All the Best!

dec 10, 2008, 4:07pm

Regarding fantasy, I could recommend a couple of french authors :
Henri Loevenbruck for la Moïra
Pierre Grimbert for la saga de Ji or la malerune
Jean-Louis Fetjaine pour la trilogie des elfes.

Of course, you'll have to know the words for this kind of books in french !

Good reads!

dec 10, 2008, 4:49pm

Thanks grimm!