The Book Club's Best of 2023: Top 5 Picks
Hello, fellow French learners! Welcome to FrenchBookmark, where we celebrate the joy of reading and discussing amazing books together. In 2023, we had the pleasure of exploring 30 incredible texts within our book club, each one carefully selected to cater to your unique reading needs.
As you know, we have two groups within our Book Club: the beginner group for A2/B1 level students, and the intermediate/advanced group for those with a B2/C2 level. Choosing the perfect book can be a challenging task, but fear not! I have carefully curated a selection of books that will not only engage your minds but also help you improve your French reading skills.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your language proficiency, you know that choosing a reading book is always a delicate choice because you have to consider:
- The difficulty of the book
- The subject covered
- The length of the book
- The author
Unforgettable Narratives, Captivating Characters, and Thought-Provoking Themes
I’ve picked the best 5 books of 2023 below. For each book, I will specify why it was a good reading choice. The books are not in order of preference:
- Dora Bruder by Patrick Modiano
- L’aiguille creuse – Arsène Lupin by Maurice Leblanc
- Mademoiselle Fifi et autres nouvelles by Guy de Maupassant
- Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol
- Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
So, let’s dive into the wonderful world of French literature together and explore the magic of reading en français!
1. Dora Bruder by Patrick Modiano
If you enjoy investigations and are interested in learning about the German occupation of France during World War II, this book is for you.
Get ready to embark on a journey through the streets of Paris, where the ghosts of the past linger in every corner. Nobel Prize-winning author Patrick Modiano takes you on a thrilling exploration of war-torn France, weaving together original documents and letters from deportees to create a haunting tale of survival and sacrifice. Dora Bruder‘s primary focus in the book is Paris’s enigmatic streets, having silently witnessed numerous lives that have left minimal impact. With the city’s streets as your guide, you’ll uncover the secrets of the German occupation during World War II.
2. L’aiguille creuse – Arsène Lupin by Maurice Leblanc
If you have a penchant for intrigue and are seeking a lighthearted introduction to the world of literature, then this book is an excellent choice.
To accommodate the learning needs of our A2 level beginner group, I opted for a simplified adaptation of the book. This version of l’aiguille creuse ensures an engaging and enriching experience, with its suitability for the group’s level. The adaptation remains faithful to the original, making it an ideal selection for a first read with numerous events, varied characters, and Arsène Lupin, a world-famous character. Your personal assessment will determine whether the enigmatic character lives up to his reputed gentlemanly demeanor.
3. Mademoiselle Fifi et autres nouvelles by Guy de Maupassant
If you appreciate the allure of the unexpected, this book is an excellent starting point for exploring the works of a brilliant author whose impact is truly unforgettable.
This 19th century author wrote over 300 short stories throughout his life. In Mademoiselle Fifi et autres nouvelles, you will be presented with a selection of these captivating narratives. Trust me when I say that the unpredictable nature of Maupassant’s works is one of their most appealing aspects; in a mere handful of lines, we are transported to entirely new worlds and find ourselves drawn to the complexities of his characters, whose stories consistently surprise and delight.
4. Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol
Seeking sunshine and endearing characters? This book promises an enjoyable escapade that will uplift you.
Jean de Florette is a book to read in summer to feel the warmth of the Provence. For a summer read that transports you to the sun-soaked beauty and rich traditions of Provence, this text offers an immersive exploration into the authentic lives and relationships of its residents. The characters are real and touching. In this story, you will immerse yourself in the customs of Provence, the relationships between the inhabitants and their struggles in this region’s arid landscape.
5. The reveries of the solitary walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
If you enjoy both the Enlightenment era and thoughtful introspection, prepare for an engaging journey into the heart of this transformative period.
This challenging yet rewarding book presents a collection of profound reflections written by an influential philosopher ahead of his time. In this introspective journey, Jean-Jacques Rousseau offers candid insights into his life and reasons for abandoning his pursuit to educate mankind. Each chapter serves as a thoughtful exploration of his experiences, providing valuable context and understanding into this revered figure’s perspectives on life and the world around him. The reveries of the solitary walker offers a unique opportunity to gain deeper insights into this great author’s thoughts, discover his groundbreaking ideas, and appreciate his assessments of his contemporaries.
New literary adventures of 2024
With 2024 bringing new literary horizons, we are excited to share our upcoming selections. Explore the titles on our list and join us for thought-provoking discussions on these captivating reads that promise to enchant, inspire, and explore the depths of human emotion.