5 French Books for a Relaxed Holiday
Holidays are here! Time to relax at home or take the opportunity to travel with your friends or family.
Whatever your plans are, you probably want to keep up your French and what better way to maintain your level than to read books by French authors?
Here is our selection of 5 easy-to-read French books for you to enjoy this summer.
- Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers) – Alexandre Dumas
«One for all and all for one! »
An absolute classic that is on every French child’s reading list.
Set in early 17th century, the story recounts the journey of young enthusiastic D’Artagnan whose dream is to join the elite corps in charge of the King’s protection, the Musketeers of the Guards.
He befriends the three most talented musketeers of his time (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) and together they get caught up in Court intrigues and state affairs that’ll have to be solved with swords and ingenuity.
Adventure, friendship, romance, a unique historical setting – this book will carry you through time, sword-fights and travels.
The book can also be supplemented with one of the many cinema and TV adaptations of the story, and is a must-read for any true Francophile.
2. Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) – Jules Verne
If you’re a fan of adventure and have already read all of Alexandre Dumas’ works in French, then you’ll probably like to discover Jules Vernes as well, who’s often depicted as the “father of science fiction” and whose stories have conquered generations of keen travel enthusiasts.
In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne tells a story about a journey of Professor Aronnax, a French marine biologist, who joins an expedition to find and destroy a mysterious sea monster that’s been roaming the oceans and causing havoc among the ships.
With the help of master harpoonist Ned Land, Aronnax indeed finds the dangerous beast, but the truth is not exactly what they were expecting…
Trust me, science fiction and sea adventures make a perfect holiday read!
3. L’encyclopédie du savoir relative et absolu (The Encyclopedia of Absolute and Relative Knowledge) – Bernard Werber
Knowledge can take a lot of different forms.
That’s what you’ll see if you ever try this funny and enriching book by famous writer Bernard Werber, also author of the fantastic Les Fourmis series (if you haven’t read those, then they’re another interesting suggestion for you!).
The book is actually a collection of short texts, anecdotes and little known-facts from a wide range of fields (biology, physics, philosophy, metaphysics, etc.), explained in a simple and humorous manner and amusingly illustrated, making science and intellectual reflection fun and accessible for everyone.
The Encyclopedia of Absolute and Relative Knowledge is an entertaining read that you can easily break up into small reading sessions, and that you can use to show off with your friends during summer parties.
4. Le silence de la mer (The Silence of the Sea) – Vercors
Written in 1941 by Jean Bruller under the pseudonym Vercors, the book tells A story of a French household, an old man and his niece, forced to host a German officer during the war.
This officer is a true Francophile at heart and a wonderful musician, whose dreams of brotherhood between the two nations have been disenchanted.
Although friendly and respectful, he’s still seen as an occupant and his hosts refuse to speak to him.
The book revolves around those three characters, and the symbol of resistance through silence.
Le silence de la mer is easy to read, short but emotionally powerful, and is a great reference of French literature under the Occupation.
It brings about an intimate reflection on the universality of love and dignity, and is particularly recommended to those who have an interest in History.
5. Tintin: le temple du soleil (Prisoners of the Sun) – Hergé
This summer delve into the world of comic books.
Easy to read and visually appealing, they take you on a different type of journey that is just as pleasant and diverse as any other book.
Comic books are very appreciated by both the French and the Belgians (adults and children alike), and they can be a fun way to immerse yourself in these cultures.
Young Belgian reporter Tintin is, of course, famous worldwide, and in this album is travelling to Peru with his friends Snowy and Captain Haddock, through rainforests, mountains and villages, before discovering a hidden Inca civilization.
Following Tintin’s adventures is always a great way to travel the world without leaving home!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Marie Thevenin
Marie is an intern at Alliance Française de Cork since May 2016. She studied languages and business management in Caen, Normandy, then travelled to Germany, then Japan for her studies in teaching French as a Foreign Language, before moving to Ireland this year. She currently works as a French teacher at AF.
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