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.
$25 covers one month of class for 1 person and includes:
Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Limited to 6 French learners
Join and Support
Plan 2: Get the exact same membership benefits of Plan 1 and support the club
$35 covers one month of class for 1 person and includes:
Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Weekly homework correction
Limited to 6 French learners
$199 covers one year of class for 1 person and includes:
Pre-call preparation items
1-hour call each week
Limited to 6 French learners
Choose your group
- Group 1: every Tuesday at 1pm (Paris time)
- Group 2: every Thursday at 3pm (Paris time)
- Group 3: every Saturday at 7pm (Paris time) (beginner +)
- Group 4: every Friday at 2pm (Paris time)
- Group 5: every Monday at 9am (Paris time)
- Group 6: every Monday at 7pm (Paris time) (starting March)
Group Schedules For 2023
Here’s the book for February 2023: 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.
Here’s the book for january 2023: 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.
Here’s the book for december 2022: 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.
Here’s the book for november 2022: 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.
Here’s the book for October 2022: 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.
Here’s the book for July 2022: 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.
Here’s the book for June 2022: 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.
Here’s the book for May 2022: 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.”
Here’s the book for April 2022: 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.“
Here’s the book for March 2022: 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.”
Here’s the book for February 2022: 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!
Here’s the book for January 2022: 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…
Here’s the book for December 2021: 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.
Here’s the book for November 2021: 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.
Here’s the book for October 2021: 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.”
Here’s the book for September 2021: 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.
Here’s the book for August 2021: 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.
Here’s the book for July 2021: 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.
Here’s the book for June 2021: 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.
What Will We Read Together?
February : Le silence de la mer by Vercors (Intermediate+), Tartarin de Tarascon by Alphonse Daudet (Beginner+)
March : Mademoiselle Fifi et autres nouvelles by Guy de Maupassant (Intermediate+)
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.