French Books to Read Summer 2024

5 French Books to Read This Summer for Beginners and Intermediates

Looking for French books for beginners and intermediates? Here are my 5 picks that can help you practice your French while having a great time! 

1) En Voiture Simone!

Let's start with a bestseller that has sold over 1,000,000 copies in France: En Voiture, Simone.

I chose it for its light subject and humour.  It’s a small paperback that you can take to the beach.

It’s the story of a French family established in Brittany.

You don’t need to have very good French to understand it, thanks to its conversational language and the use of simple words.

2) Demain J'arrête !

Another feel-good bestseller is: Demain j'arrête!

It’s a novel that also seems full of humor and could make you laugh.

It’s the story of a young single woman, Julie, who drops out of school for a guy who fancied himself an artist, and she ends up finding a job in a bank, not really happy with her life. Everything changes for her with the arrival of a new neighbor, a handsome guy.

This book requires more commitment since it’s longer than En Voiture, Simone, but I find that the level isn’t too difficult. And it’s perfect if you want to learn some colloquial French.

3) Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du café

The title certainly piqued my curiosity. I know the subjects are a bit dark, such as grief and loneliness, but according to the reviews, it’s a story that is both dramatic and funny.

The main character is also a woman who suddenly lost her husband and daughter in a car accident. I'm curious to read this novel for two reasons: first, to see the author’s perspective, who is also a clinical psychologist. The second reason is that it’s a story of exile and rebuilding, which reminds me a bit of "Bridget Jones's Diary."

It’s written in large print with lots of dialogues, making it quite easy to read.

4) Quelqu’un d’autre

I now present a novel recommended by my students: "Quelqu’un d’autre" by Guillaume Musso. Known as "the French master of suspense," Musso is one of the most well-known and widely read contemporary authors in France.

I don’t usually read thrillers or detective novels, but this book really intrigues me.

5) Chanson douce

With this novel, Leila Slimani became the first Franco-Moroccan writer to receive the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious literary prize in the publishing world. This will be my first time reading Leila Slimani, so I’m curious to observe her "dry and sharp" style. 

We read on the cover that the author examines relationships of power and money, class and cultural prejudices. The story is about a young couple looking for a nanny, who eventually finds Louise.

The novel starts with the murder of two children by their nanny, which certainly makes us want to read on to understand what led to this tragedy.

Check out my video!

I've also made a video discussing these recommendations. The video is in French and includes both English and French subtitles. It's an excellent opportunity to practice your listening and reading skills, so be sure to watch it!

Interested in learning and practicing French? 

I offer online lessons where we can practice speaking French and also discuss literature. Feel free to send me a message at info@tumulearning.ca 

Tell me in the comments which book you're most excited to read and which literary genre interests you the most. If you have any book recommendations, share them in the comments.

Your comments really encourage me to create more French resources and lessons.

Thanks!

Umut, PhD / French Teacher

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