Books and learning

Some French people who I spent my birthday with, gave me a book by Guy Gilbert - a well known French Priest. As a Catholic who attends Mass, I have been learning the Mass in French, and the book has been a great way of learning to read in French and help my Christian French, if that’s the right term. I just got my second book by Guy Gilbert. Has anyone else found French books about subjects that they are interested in to help their French?
Guy Gilbert worked in some pretty tough areas of Paris as a trainee priest, and he had a great sense of humour, he mused on whether karate should have been included in his training at one point.

Hold that thought ! Oh fiddle, that reminded me of some priest working in the favellas who had learnt jujitsu…but can’t remember his name.

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Nerdy stuff, like bird watching, yes. I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. For specific vocabulary, I’ve always found it useful to have specific reference books. I can’t speak with regard to learning French in general, as I had it hammered into my brain from the age of 11 and actually liked it, so developed a passion for it, then continued with the onslaught by studying it at university. Medieval French from the 12th century was one of my focus points during my studies. Learnt lots of old French words that hardly anyone uses any more, but it improved my core French nonetheless, if only from an etymological and linguistic point of view. Oh, that and books by Bescherelle on French grammar and conjugation :wink: Like I said, nerdy, stuff !

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Nerdy stuff is good. I am a nerd. A rare gardener nerd.

In that case, “L’Almanach du Jardin / du Jardinier” might be of use for that particular topic.


Sounds good. I used to have the big RHS books in the UK, I killed a rat with one when the cat let it loose in the living room. I love to shock people with that story.

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We have such a tome on our coffee table - no rats though, at least none that we can see !

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Good old RHS, a bit rigid but good reference.

We read loads of gardening books, and things like rustica. Also geology, archaeology, local history, wildlife and architecture books. Not nerdy at all.

Oh if you’re trying to make me drool, I am drooling.
And ‘nerd’ is a badge of honour, not an insult.
Sheldon Cooper once had a love affair with a geology book, so when I saw what you had written I was reminded of that :laughing:

A taste of a bookshelf…


A very nice thread, thank you @JaneJones.

I love reading, and joined the local Public Library when I was 5. What a magical place: the Reading Room with the newspapers spread out on large lecterns for readers to partake of their contents free of charge, in studious silence, standing up.

Aged about twelve my eye was drawn to a title, “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall (Jonathan Cape, 1928). When I took it to be stamped the librarian pointed to an indigo star printed in the inner cover, where the book is date-stamped.

She told me that the book was for grown-ups only, but for some reason she stamped the book and gave it to me. I read some of it, and realised it was a story of forbidden love, behind my understanding, but somehow it touched a part of me that moved me, and gave me a glimpse of the ‘grown-up’ world. It opened my eyes.

The scales of innocence began to be shed, not in a prurient way, but with an irreversible metanoia, “the turning around in the seat of consciousness” described in the allegory of Adam and Eve.

Although not a Christian, I love my French language Sainte Bible for its beautiful simplicity and familiarity, echoes of the King James version of the English one.

I often take it down for pleasure, for a brief instance of solace, and to simplify my “thinking in French”. I also enjoy following the Catholic liturgy and the singing in our local church. The priest has a sweet tenor voice.

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Hi Annajayne
As a “resting” Catholic (not my phrase), can I be the first person on this thread to say how much easier it would be if we had kept the Latin Mass!
Seriously, I was pleased to join with the Commune in celebrating Mass this Christmas , not so different from the ‘high’ Anglican liturgy I’m more familiar with.


My foster parents were keen supporters of Latin Mass, very devout Catholics. So I think you aren’t the only one. Being only a youngster myself, I am enjoying learning the Mass in French. I know the high Anglican liturgy as well. My friend was a church warden and I remember her nearly killing us with too much incense one Christmas and doing a vicar of Dibley another when she forgot about serving and had to be dragged out of a party!

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Wonderful thoughts. Thank you.

If you are still looking for a book to practice your French, there is one called
“Qui-suis je” by Sandrine Grillon, my son has a reasonable level in French and enjoyed it.
While you read you have to guess which animal is described, he told me he didn’t know most of the facts as well.
Good luck

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