fr_FR

Join

Read & Discuss Books In French

Reading provides you with a plethora of benefits.

When you read, you can spend the time to really break down and internalize grammar, vocabulary and better understand the structure of sentences.

Read alone
49
for one year
  • +200 worksheets and synopsis
  • +200 video
  • +100 quizzes
  • No call
Monthly
25
per month
  • Pre-call preparation
  • 1 hour call each week
  • Follow-up emails
  • Access to the analysis of books we’ve read
Yearly
199
one year
  • Pre-call preparation
  • 1 hour call each week
  • Follow-up emails
  • Access to the analysis of books we’ve read

Read Alone

Plan 0


49€/mo

49€ covers one year for 1 person and includes:

+200 worksheets and synopsis
+200 video with subtitles in French
+100 quizzes

No call.

best french books

Membership

Plan 1


25€/mo

25€ covers one month of class for 1 person and includes:

Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Follow-up emails 
Limited to 6 French learners

Join and Support

Plan 2: Get the exact same membership benefits of Plan 1 and support the club


35€/Mo

35€ covers one month of class for 1 person and includes:

Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Follow-up emails

Weekly homework correction
Limited to 6 French learners

support book club
private program

ONE YEAR

Plan 3


199€/Year

199€ covers one year of class for 1 person and includes:

Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Follow-up emails 
Limited to 6 French learners

choose french book group

Choose your group

  • Group B: every Monday at 7pm (Paris time)
  • Group C: every Tuesday at 1pm (Paris time)
  • Group D: every Thursday at 3pm (Paris time)
  • Group E: every Friday at 2pm (Paris time)
  • Group F: every Saturday at 7pm (Paris time) (beginner +)
  • Group G: every Saturday at 6pm (Paris time) (beginner +)
  • Group H: every Wednesday at 7pm (Paris time)

Next books (B2-C2)

Here’s the book for July 2024: Manon des sources by Marcel Pagnol

A formidable storyteller, Marcel Pagnol recounts the revenge of Manon who discovers the existence of the source searched in vain by her father, and which was known to the other villagers. Shepherdess, “beautiful wild woman”, Manon is the flamboyant heroine of this Provençal novel.

Here’s the book for June 2024: La douleur by Marguerite Duras

Written in 1944 and first published in 1985, Duras’s riveting account of life in Paris during the Nazi occupation and the first months of liberation depicts the harrowing realities of World War II–era France “with a rich conviction enhanced by [a] spare, almost arid, technique” (Julian Barnes, The Washington Post Book World ). Duras, by then married and part of a French resistance network headed by François Mitterand, tells of nursing her starving husband back to health after his return from Bergen-Belsen, interrogating a suspected collaborator, and playing a game of cat and mouse with a Gestapo officer who was attracted to her. The result is “more than one woman’s diary . . . [it is] a haunting portrait of a time and a place and also a state of mind” (The New York Times).

Here’s the book for May 2024: La fin de la jalousie et autres nouvelles by Marcel Proust

Deeply in love with the beautiful Françoise Seaune, Honoré de Tenvres is constantly moved by this incredible love. Until the day she is told that she has a reputation for being an easy woman. Upset, he suddenly discovers the torments of jealousy… Worldly, voluptuous and cruel, the characters in these short stories by Proust flit around with a refinement that announces the heroes of In Search of Lost Time. There are 4 novels.

Here’s the book for April 2024: The Game of Love and Chance by Marivaux

The Game of Love and Chance is a three-act romantic comedy by French playwright Marivaux. The Game of Love and Chance was first performed 23 January 1730. In this play, a young woman is visited by her betrothed, whom she does not know. To get a better idea of the type of person he is, she trades places with her servant and disguises herself. However, unbeknownst to her, her fiancé has the same idea and trades places with his valet.

Here’s the book for March 2024: La femme au collier de velours by Alexandre Dumas

Une mort très douce is a short autobiographical story by Simone de Beauvoir, published in 1964, which describes how the author lived the last months of her mother’s life with her. According to Sartre, this book is the best she has written.

Here’s the book for February 2024: La femme au collier de velours by Alexandre Dumas

The first chapter of this short novel is in fact autobiographical. Dumas discusses at some length Charles Nodier (1780-1844), writer and close friend with whom he was welcomed in Paris in his early days and thanks to whom he was introduced into the intellectual life of the capital. At the end of this first chapter, Dumas explains that Nodier told him a story, which he relates in the rest of the novel. From the start the tone is set: reality and fiction are inextricably intertwined…

Here’s the book for January 2024: La peste by Albert Camus

Published in 1947, this novel is set in the city of Oran in Algeria. The plague descended upon the city, resulting in the deaths of many people. The state of the plague is still unknown, as the prefecture refuses to worry public opinion. The prefect orders the city gates to be closed after a few weeks. Oran is isolated from the rest of the world, and its inhabitants are entrapped in the plague. Camus compares the plague and war, as well as the rise of Nazism, without quoting either one.

Books of past years

Dora Bruder by Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano opens Dora Bruder by telling how in 1988 he stumbled across an ad in the personal columns of the New Year’s Eve 1941 edition of Paris Soir. Placed by the parents of a 15-year-old Jewish girl, Dora Bruder, who had run away from her Catholic boarding school, the ad sets Modiano off on a quest to find out everything he can about Dora and why, at the height of German reprisals, she ran away on a bitterly cold day from the people hiding her. He finds only one other official mention of her name on a list of Jews deported from Paris to Auschwitz in September 1942.

Les armoires vides by Annie Ernaux

In this portrait of her Norman childhood, we find some of the recurring themes in Annie Ernaux, such as the importance of the figure of the mother, to whom she will devote her text Une femme, and that of the father, about whom she will write The place. The tension between two social environments, that of her parents, former workers who opened a bar, and the bourgeois environment with which she is increasingly confronted as she pursues her studies. The contradictory feelings that this tension between two social environments inspires in him, namely a mixture of shame, contempt, and love for his family, are also omnipresent images of his work.

White Dog by Romain Gary

 Set in the tumultuous Los Angeles of 1968, Romain Gary’s story begins when a German shepherd strays into his life: “He was watching me, his head cocked to one side, with that unbearable intensity of dogs in the pound waiting for a rescuer.” A lost police canine, this “white dog” is programmed to respond violently to the sight of a black man and Gary’s attempts to deprogram it—like his attempts to protect his wife, the actress Jean Seberg; like her endeavors to help black activists; like his need to rescue himself from the “predicament of being trapped, lock, stock and barrel within a human skin”—lead from crisis to grief.

Anna, soror.. by Marguerite Yourcenar

A few weeks after the start of spring 1925, Anna, soror was written during a stay in Naples. Never was a romantic invention more immediately influenced by the places where it was located. Anna and Miguel’s love story is similar to the love story of Byblis and Caunus in Greek mythology. It is the joy and pain of a forbidden passion.

Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol

The story takes place in Provence, in the small village of white Bastides. Ugolin, Papet’s nephew and the last of the Soubeyran clan, plans to create a large plantation of carnations and make a fortune by reselling these flowers, with the financial support of his uncle. But the well of the Mas de Massacan not providing enough water for such a plantation, the two men decided to buy the field of Pique-Bouffigue aux Romarins where they knew that there was a spring. But Pique-Bouffigue, busy in his fig tree cutting branches to make traps, refuses to sell his property…

For a Night of Love (and the flood) by Emile Zola

Julien plays the flute every day for the beautiful Thérèse de Marsanne, whom he sees from his window every day. Despite her daily serenades, the young girl does not look at him and ignores him until the evening, when she invites him into her room. Julien rushes, but is he really prepared for anything for a night of love? Two short dramatic stories that use a new facet of the author of Rougon-Macquart are presented below.

The princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette

“Mademoiselle de Chartres married the Prince of Cleves at the court of Henri II. Immediately after her marriage, she professed her love for the Duke of Nemours during a ball at Court. Despite the violence of their feelings, the two young people remain silent. Madame de Cleves, a model of virtue, confesses her guilty love to her husband one day. And this admission is not helpful. The prince is afflicted with suspicion and jealousy, leading him to believe that he is being deceived. Now, the princess has to take charge of her destiny.”

Salt on my Skin by Benoîte Groult

“This highly-charged novel follows the passionate relationship between mismatched lovers: a Parisian intellectual and a Breton fisherman, brought together by lust. Through love-letters and exotic encounters around the world, their life-long affair evolves—liberating them from the restrictions and disappointments dealt by real life.”

Reveries of the Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“I am alone on earth, without a brother, neighbour, friend, or society other than myself. » Rousseau was at the twilight of his life when he found refuge far from the torrent of the world in a blissful solitude magnified by the beauty of nature. In a lyrical, admirably sensitive way, the philosopher walks to meet himself. Between memories and meditations, he embraces the pleasure of memory and writing, in the pure consciousness of existence.

Mademoiselle Fifi and other stories by Guy de Maupassant

Mademoiselle Fifi and Other Stories.

Mademoiselle Fifi is, in reality, a young Prussian officer, occupying France in 1870, blond, with a slim waist, ferocious and brutal, so nicknamed because he despises everything and everyone and repeats constantly: “Fi, fi SO “. He will find stronger than him. Unsatisfied provincials, surprise lovers, prostitutes, wives of notaries, ruined nobles, fishing friends, everyone has their accurate and moving portrait. These stories are brief, as demanded by the daily press which published them successfully. Brief but spending the essential.

le silence de la mer de Vercors

The Silence of the Sea by Vercors tells the story of an old man and his niece who show their resistance by refusing to speak to the German officer they have to accommodate, even though he is an educated young man who dreams of a reconciliation between the two countries. The novel was secretly published during the Occupation in France and quickly became a symbol of mental resistant against the Germans.

la femme rompue de simone de beauvoir

These three long stories draw us into the lives of three women, all past their first youth, all facing unexpected crises. In the title story, the heroine’s serenity is shattered when she learns that her husband is having an affair. In “The Age of Discretion,” a successful, happily married professor finds herself increasingly distressed by her son’s absorption in his young wife and her worldly values. In “The Monologue,” a rich, spoiled woman, home alone on New Year’s Eve, pours out a lifetime’s rage and frustration in a harrowing diatribe. Enthralling as fiction, suffused with de Beauvoir’s remarkable insights into women, The Woman Destroyed gives us a legendary writer at her best.

noces duivi de l’été de albert camus

A second collection of essays, Noces (1938; “Nuptials”), contains intensely lyrical meditations on the Algerian countryside and presents natural beauty as a form of wealth that even the very poor can enjoy. Both collections contrast the fragile mortality of human beings with the enduring nature of the physical world.

Le collier rouge by jean-christophe rufin

In 1919, in a small town in the province of Berry, France, under the crushing heat of summer heat wave, a war hero is being held prisoner in an abandoned barracks. In front of the door to his prison, a mangy dog barks night and day. Miles from where he is being held, in the French countryside, a young extraordinarily intelligent woman works the land the land, waiting and hoping. A judge whose principles have been sorely shaken by the war is travelling to an unknown location to sort out certain affairs of which it is better not to speak.

rufin_collierrouge

L’amant by Marguerite Duras

An international best-seller with more than one million copies in print and a winner of France’s Prix Goncourt, The Loverhas been acclaimed by critics all over the world since its first publication in 1984.

Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras’s childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. In spare yet luminous prose, Duras evokes life on the margins of Saigon in the waning days of France’s colonial empire, and its representation in the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts.

Here’s the book for September 2022: La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh by Philippe Claudel

Traumatized by memories of his war-ravaged country, and with his son and daughter-in-law dead, Monsieur Linh travels to a foreign land to bring the child in his arms to safety. The other refugees in the detention center are unsure how to help the old man; his caseworkers are compassionate but overworked. Monsieur Linh struggles beneath the weight of his sorrow and becomes increasingly bewildered and isolated in this unfamiliar, fast-moving town. And then he encounters Monsieur Bark. They do not speak each other’s language, but Monsieur Bark is sympathetic to the foreigner’s need to care for the child. Recently widowed and equally alone, he is eager to talk, and Monsieur Linh knows how to listen. The two men share their solitude and find friendship in an unlikely dialogue between two very different cultures. 

Monsieur Linh and His Child is a remarkable novel with an extraordinary twist, a subtle portrait of friendship, and a dialogue between two cultures.

Marius by Marcel Pagnol

His three comedies—Marius (1929), Fanny (1931), and César (1936), known as the Marseille trilogy—deal with the lives of a Marseille fishmonger, Fanny, her lover Marius who goes off to sea, César the father, and his friend Panisse. The salty language of the people and Pagnol’s ability to capture the atmosphere of the port at Marseille made the plays universally appealing, and the films made from them influenced the later Neorealists. The plays also inspired the Broadway musical Fanny, which was later adopted into a motion picture.

marius by marcel pagnol

Terre des hommes by antoine de saint-exupéry

The National Book Award-winning autobiographical book about the wonder of flying from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the beloved children’s classic The Little Prince.

A National Geographic Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time

Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying. 

terre de hommes

Bonjour tristesse de françoise sagan

“A sensational 1954 French novel that has become a contemporary classic.

Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cécile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father—a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye—for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress, Elsa. Cécile cherishes the free-spirited moments she and her father share while plotting her own sexual adventures with a “tall and almost beautiful” law student. But the arrival of her late mother’s best friend, Anne, intrudes upon a young girl’s pleasures. And when a relationship begins to develop between the adults, Cécile and her lover set in motion a plan to keep them apart…with tragic, unexpected consequences.

The internationally beloved story of a precocious teenager’s attempts to understand and control the world around her, Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse is a beautifully composed, wonderfully ambiguous celebration of sexual liberation, at once sympathetic and powerfully unsparing.”

bonjour tristesse

La Main gauche et autre nouvelles de Guy de Maupassant

The Left Hand is a short story written by Guy de Maupassant in 1889. It is the story of a group of friends who tell themselves stories to frighten themselves when one of them, a judge, tells the story of a murder they have to solve. This murder is that of a man who lives in a mansion. The man was killed by strangulation; it is a hand mark on his neck that tells us this. A person who knew the dead man told the judge that there was a hand in the house. The hand of the enemy of the dead man, who was hung by a chain on a piece of furniture. That’s how through our imagination we can guess that the murderer is the hand that to take revenge for the murder of its owner killed the man.

la main gauche maupassant

Zadig ou la Destinée by Voltaire

“This story is a philosophical, romantic satire, attacking religious mania, the foibles of people in general, and the burdens of being virtuous and happy. Voltaire uses ancient Babylon as his setting, which provides a great contrast to France of the Enlightenment; Babylonians though scientifically and technologically advanced, had a closed culture ruled by an absolute monarch. In brief, the story chronicles the adventures of Zadig, a benevolent and charismatic figure who reveres the good and the beautiful. Despite incidental amorous detours, Zadig’s love for Queen Astarte glows as a paragon of sublime fidelity to woman.”

book cover zadig ou la destinee by voltaire

Nouvelles orientales by Marguerite Yourcenar

“These novels published in 1938 includes ten short stories of oriental inspiration, which are tales and legends. Passionate and fascinating, Yourcenar invites us to immerse ourselves in the imagination of the Balkans, China, and even Japan. The short stories are easy to read. Marguerite Yourcenar was inspired by tales or oriental miscellaneous facts to write them with her own style. The themes are universal: lost love, regret, transcendence, redemption, and heroism. “

I won’t tell you more, Oriental Tales is a collection that you must read once in your life!

nouvelles orientales yourcenar

Les rois maudits de Maurice Druon

Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation!”

The Iron King – Philip the Fair – is as cold and silent, as handsome and unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he cannot rule his own family: his sons are weak and their wives adulterous; while his red-blooded daughter Isabella is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.

A web of scandal, murder, and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King; but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences Grand Master Jacques Molay to be burned at the stake, thus drawing down upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty…

les rois maudits

Claude Gueux de Victor hugo

Claude Gueux was a poor workman, living in Paris about eight years ago, with his mistress and child. Although his education had been neglected, and he could not even read, the man was naturally clever and intelligent and thought deeply over matters. Winter came with its attendant miseries,—want of work, want of food, want of fuel. The man, the woman, and the child were frozen and famished. The man turned thief. I know not what he stole. What signifies, as the result was the same: to the woman and child it gave three days’ bread and warmth; to the man, five years imprisonment. He was taken to Clairvaux,—the abbey now converted into a prison, its cells into dungeons, and the altar itself into a pillory. This is called progress.

La vie devant soi de Romain Gary

The Life Before Us is the story of an orphaned Arab boy, Momo, and his devotion to Madame Rosa, a dying, 68-year-old, 220-lb. survivor of Auschwitz and retired “lady of the night.”

Momo has been one of the ever-changing ragbag of whores’ children at Madame Rosa’s boardinghouse in Paris ever since he can remember. But when the check that pays for his keep no longer arrives and as Madame Rosa becomes too ill to climb the stairs to their apartment, he determines to support her any way he can.

la vie devant soi

La nausée de Jean-Paul sartre

Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogs his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which “spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time ― the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain.”

la nausee jean paul sartre

Zazie dans le métro de Raymond Queneau

Impish, foul-mouthed Zazie arrives in Paris from the country to stay with Gabriel, her female-impersonator uncle. All she really wants to do is ride the metro, but finding it shut because of a strike, Zazie looks for other means of amusement and is soon caught up in a comic adventure that becomes wilder and more manic by the minute. In 1960 Queneau’s cult classic was made into a hugely successful film by Louis Malle. Packed full of wordplay and phonetic games, Zazie in the Metro remains as stylish and witty as ever.

zazie dans le metro queneau

Thérèse raquin de Emile Zola

In a dingy apartment on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Therese Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband’s earthy friend Laurent, but their animal passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. THERESE RAQUIN caused a scandal when it appeared in 1867 and brought its 27-year-old author a notoriety that followed him throughout his life. Zola’s novel is not only an uninhibited portrayal of adultery, madness, and ghostly revenge, but also a devastating exploration of the darkest aspects of human existence.

therese raquin emile zola

La gloire de mon père de Marcel Pagnol

Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol’s childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight. Marcel Pagnol never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father’s Glory appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol’s own.

livre la gloire de mon pere

L’élégance du hérisson de Muriel Barbery

In an elegant hôtel in Paris, Renée, the concierge, is all but invisible―short, plump, middle-aged, with bunions on her feet and an addiction to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leon. In short, she’s everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in an upscale neighborhood. But Renée has a secret: she furtively, ferociously devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor, she scrutinizes the lives of the tenants―her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth.

l'élégance du hérisson

Next books (A2-B1)

Here’s the book for July 2024: Le roman de la momie By Théophile Gautier

A book suitable for level A2-B1. You don’t have to buy the book.

What Will We Read Together?​

August : Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Intermediate+, B2-C2)

French Reading Club FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions..

WHAT SHOULD MY LEVEL OF FRENCH BE?

The book club is perfect for you whether you have an intermediate or advanced French level.

WHAT MATERIAL DO I NEED?

You need four things: a stable internet connection, a computer, the book of the month, and Zoom, the free video conferencing tool. You will have to order the book yourself early enough to make sure you receive it before our first class.

THE BOOK IS ONLY IN FRENCH?

Yes, your book will be only in French. And we’ll only speak French during our calls.

Do you prefer reading alone?

Join the Plan 0 and improve your French.

This post is also available in Français.

New schedule, new book - join our book club now! Every Monday at 7 pm.