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Hello Hello! How are you?
It’s time for another discussion post on my blog and today I’m going to be talking to you about French books that I have on my TBR and that I want to read.
Why French books?
As you may know, I have lived in France since I was 18-months-old (I’m 22 now) and never actually went to school in the UK where I was born, so I first learned to read and write in French. When I got into reading more when I was a teenager, I went through as many books as I could lay my hands on, and they were mostly in French. I quickly realised that the books I liked to read were written in English and I went back to my native tongue to read.
Even though I am bilingual in French and English, I have always had that tiny struggle with some books to really get into them, or understand certain things. And the same goes for films in French, I need subtitles to understand it all, which is hilarious really because I am probably the fastest speaker I know, I’m always being told to slow down when I speak in French. So, once I got back into English literature, French books took a backseat.
Apart from books for school assignments, exams and whatnot, I have not actually read a book in French, for myself, that I picked, in ages, except Carnages by Maxime Chattam that I read last month. As I’ve grown, I’ve figured out what books I like to read, and recently, I’ve been trying to get back into French literature, so here are my top 10 books in French that I have on my TBR, and would like to read soon (in French)!
My top 10 French books I want to read
L’enfant Océan by Jean-Claude Mourlevat
MG/YA fiction – The Pull of the Ocean (English title)
On a stormy night, little Yann Doutreleau wakes up his six older brothers, all twins. He lets them know that they must flee their home–or risk being killed by their violent father. Without question, the siblings follow Yann into the wet darkness. And so begins their remarkable odyssey toward the ocean–as well as an unforgettable story of brotherhood.
The social worker investigating the Doutreleau family, the truck driver who gives the boys a lift, the police officer who believes they’ve run away, the baker who gives them bread–each of the many people the seven boys encounter gives a stirring account of what he or she witnesses. The twins themselves add their voices, as do the Doutreleau parents; but not until the end of the journey does little Yann express his reasons for his galvanizing actions.
Un avion sans elle by Michel Bussi
Mystery – After the Crash (English title)
On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?
Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone…
Même le silence a une fin by Ingrid Betancourt
Nonfiction memoir – Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (English title)
In the midst of her campaign for the Colombian presidency in 2002, Ingrid Betancourt traveled into a military-controlled region, where she was abducted by the FARC, a brutal terrorist guerrilla organization in conflict with the government. She would spend the next six and a half years captive in the depths of the Colombian jungle.
Even Silence Has an End is her deeply moving and personal account of that time. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt’s indomitable spirit that drives this very special narrative – an intensely intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate reflection on what it really means to be human.
Papillon by Henri Charrière
Nonfiction biography – same title
Henri Charrière, called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil’s Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.
Charrière’s astonishing autobiography, Papillon, was published in France to instant acclaim in 1968, more than twenty years after his final escape. Since then, it has become a treasured classic — the gripping, shocking, ultimately uplifting odyssey of an innocent man who simply would not be defeated.
Les Fiancés de l’hiver (#1 La Passe-Miroir) by Christelle Dabos
YA fantasy – A Winter’s Promise (English title)
Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.
Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.
D’un monde à l’autre (#1 La quête d’Ewilan) by Pierre Bottero
MG/YA fantasy – The Quest of Ewilan: From One World to Another (English title)
13-year-old Camille’s life is forever changed when, trying to avoid an oncoming truck, she falls through a portal to a parallel world called Gwendalavir. There, she’s immediately threatened by creatures called Ts’liches, who claim that they’ve been searching for her so they can kill her! Luckily she’s zapped back home, but her best friend Salim is skeptical of her story…until giant spiders attack them from the other side.
Soon she discovers the secret of her past: she was born on Gwendalavir, the daughter of two powerful magicians who sent her to our world for her protection. Camille has inherited a tremendous gift–magic drawing, the ability to manifest things by envisioning them in her mind. As the battle for two worlds intensifies, she hones the skills that might be a decisive weapon in the struggle of her people to regain power and restore freedom and dignity to Gwendalavir.
Block 46 (#1 Emily Roy & Alexis Castells) by Johana Gustawsson
Thriller – same title
In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.
La Vie secrète des écrivains by Guillaume Musso
Thriller – The Secret Life of Writers (English title)
In 1999, after publishing three cult novels, famous author Nathan Fawles announces the end of his writing career and withdraws to Beaumont, a wild and beautiful island off the Mediterranean coast.
Autumn 2018. Over the past twenty years, Fawles has not given a single interview. As his novels continue to captivate readers, Mathilde Monney, a young Swiss journalist, arrives on the island, determined to unlock his secrets. That same day, a woman’s body is discovered on the beach and the island is cordoned off by the authorities.
And so, begins a dangerous face off between Mathilde and Nathan, in which the line between truth and fiction becomes increasingly blurred…
Purgatoire des innocents by Karine Giebel
Thriller – I am yet to find an English edition…
Raphaël spent years in prison for armed robbery and then for recidivism. During his absence, his mother died of grief while his younger brother William took the same path as him. Raphaël, upon his release, took him to their first joint robbery, a jewelry store in Place Vendôme, with the help of a young couple. The case turns sour, a police officer and a passerby are killed, and William is seriously injured. Their run becomes for Raphaël a real race against time: he must save his brother. The four fugitives land a few hours from Paris, and find the number of a veterinarian, Sandra, whom they take hostage at her home, on her isolated farm, and force William to be treated. His life against that of the robber. It is with this in mind that Sandra must operate in her living room, without trembling, she who is not a surgeon.
But the days go by and William is still in no condition to hit the road again. And when Sandra’s husband warns his wife of his return, everyone is waiting. Some also take him hostage and Sandra be saved… or maybe something else… Because what Raphael doesn’t know is that they are in the devil’s house. What Raphael doesn’t know is that they are in the house of a psychopath of the worst kind, who has just brought two teenage girls who were kidnapped out of college in the back of his truck. From predators, they will become prey at the mercy of a ruthless monster …
Le Signal by Maxime Chattam
Thriller/Horror – I also can’t find an English edition for this one yet
The Spencer family have just moved to Mahingan Falls. A haven of peace. At least that’s what they thought ….
Sordid murders, phone conversations scrambled by inhuman screams and then those old rumors of witchcraft and that scary something in the forest that hunts their teenagers… How will the overwhelmed sheriff handle this unprecedented situation? They don’t know it yet but it’s only the beginning …
Have you ever been really scared while reading a book?
I don’t know about you, but rereading the blurbs, I want to pick these books up soon! It is a fair mix of books, but in my experience, mostly all science-fiction and fantasy books available in French bookshops are English and translated into French. The books I gravitate towards more in French are mysteries. They are actually called “thriller” or “polar” in French, but I think I would categorise them as mysteries, which is not my usual genre for English books, but apparently, it is for French ones!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post and will want to pick up some of these books. See you soon, stay safe,