Books in French - your suggestions please!

Prompted by another thread (the one about the elegant hedgehog :dizzy_face: ) I wondered if people had other recommendations for French novels (or non-fiction) for us to read.

If you could also give an indication of how difficult the language is, that would direct those of us whose natural milieu was the back of the class towards appropriate material!

Its not a book recommendation ,but a suggestion .Why not look for books that you have read in english that have been translated into french,the reasoning is that if you don’t have to work out a plot line, you can
concentrate on the word structures.


I’d suggest you look for books which are linked to your interests …

Way back in the middle ages in UK… I used to get Paris Match every week (OK it’s not a book…). Was hard work at first, but interesting enough to encourage me to persevere…
Moving on to books is a bold leap… but well worth it.

Same here Stella. I learned Italian by reading Annabella and Grazia magazines until I understood them. I used to get the magazines at Moroni’s newsagents in Old Compton St in Soho, back when Soho was Soho. They carried all the, then exotic, everyday magazines that people in many European countries would read.

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2 suggestions of books by Robert Merle : “Un animal doué de raison” and “Le propre de l’homme”.

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This is a good idea because, even when translated into French, these books tend to have a familiar English style. I like Georges Simenon’s Maigret books in French because he’s good at evoking scenes and characters, as well as the whoe thing being a detective puzzle. It helps if you’ve watched the excellent Bruno Cremer Maigret TV series in French.

Yep, in fact I’m doing that already. The French translations are in omnibus editions of 8 novels each, pretty good value at about 24 euros.

Thanks, I’ll have a look at them.

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I think the other way round worked better for me. I started by reading french books that I had previously read in an english translation…for example the Fred Vargas police thrillers most of which I had read in translation. Straightforward language, and stories that keep you wanting to read on.

Our local librarian also selected books for teenagers for me, some of which are very well written and good reads. That really helped as I found it depressing crawling at a snail’s pace through a book, and slightly shorter books helped loads.

Took several years before I progressed to “real” books, and enjoyed them, so well done to those who have dived straight in!

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I wonder if I should start with Peppa pig? :thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :disappointed:


You’d be better off with T’choupi!

You may be right. :pensive:

Au revoir là-haut, couleurs de l’incendie, miroir de nos peines all by Pierre Lemaitre

My partner started off with Asterix (the comics :slight_smile:

Is T’choupi= Tufty I wonder

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No Tufty is a squirrel isn’t he, tchoupi is a creature of nightmare who is a cross lookswise between the Pillsbury Doughboy and a king penguin. Tchoupi was much loathed by my daughters.


Made me think of this


A first dictionary

Pélagie la Sorcière !

My 2 favourites are Lettres de mon Moulin by Daudet and The Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupéry.

For anyone that still reads English, Amazon is selling for 0.99p today:

Living Planet - the update to David Attenborough’s Life on Earth

Also on offer today only 0.99p :book by Anne Boden the founder of Starling Bank - how she disrupted banking by founding Starling which is probably the most solid of the fintechs. (Yes I hear you about Revolut @graham :slight_smile: )

I wonder if Amazon have books in French on Kindle. I’ll have a look later. Trouble is for me I read each night in bed before sleep, with no electronic translator beside me it would be agony passing even one word I didn’t understand.

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I spent a lot of my early life misunderstanding words in English! I learned to have a working understanding and to carry on. Often I was wrong :joy_cat: