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Le Livre de Poche


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In my ongoing attempts to master the French language (estimated

completion date sometime in the 23rd century - there are just too many

words) I have come to very much enjoy the works of two authors

recommended as being "not to difficult, even for a prize chump like

you," namely François Mauriac and Alphonse Daudet, both of whom are

published in the Livre de Poche series. There are many, many books in

this inexpensive series, so many as to be somewhat disconcerting for

someone who only knows who about 5% of the authors are. My question:

could anyone recommend further writers in the style of Mauriac and

Daudet with whom I can continue my explorations?

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I would recommend anything by Georges Simenon as being simple yet interesting - his language is spare and elegant, just what you need. I learned all the (little) French I know from reading Maigret, then progressing to Daudet, with a dictionary and a grammar in constant attendance.

<edit> I agree with Valerie about Pagnol, too. Lovely stories, easy to read.

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Hi there!

It would be Marcel Pagnol for me - after reading his books my French learning accelerated enormously.  He wrote Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources, La Gloire de mon Pere and Le Chateau de ma Mere.  The last two I have seen in a pocket book (i.e. French student edition) and they were very easy to read that way.  With the other two books I read the whole unadulterated story and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Hope this helps?

Valerie

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I remember reading a few months ago about a scheme being introduced

into the UK for adults with literacy problems. Modern UK famous authors

wher being comissioned to write 'good gripping yarns' in very simple

English and not too many words to encourage people to start reading. Is

there anything similar in France? It could be just what a lot of Brits

need to get them going with the French language.

Diana

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I agree about Pagnol - wonderfully evocative writing and not too difficult.  From him I moved on to Jean Giono, who also wrote about Provence, though a bit further north.  He is more difficult but worth persevering with.  Un des Baumugnes is one of the most moving books I have ever read I (filmed years ago as Angele, if you ever get the chance to see it).
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On a similar subject - our French teacher introduced us to a musician

named Georges Moustaki (http://www.creatweb.com/moustaki) becasue the

lyrics of his songs are so clear - he's actually Greek but lived in

France for a very long time.  Does anyone know of other musicians

that have similar clear lyrics?

Hastobe

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There are plenty songs in the charts that you can find the lyrics for on the net.  Just listen to one of the music stations.

Georges Brassens is reasonably clear.  And Edith Piaf, if you like being screeched at.

Or something like "Oh! Hé! Hein! Bon!" by Nino Ferrer if you can get a hold of it.  So dreadful it's almost quite good!  http://www.lesparoles.com/paroles-de-chansons/Nino-Ferrer/17867,Oh--H--Hein--Bon.html

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[quote user="hastobe"]On a similar subject - our French teacher introduced us to a musician

named Georges Moustaki (http://www.creatweb.com/moustaki) becasue the

lyrics of his songs are so clear - he's actually Greek but lived in

France for a very long time.  Does anyone know of other musicians

that have similar clear lyrics?Hastobe[/quote]

Seeing his name here has just reminded me of some of his greatest hits:

Le Métèque, Ma liberté. Such simple and evocative songs. Thank you so much for that...

You might want to look into Léo Férré (Avec le temps), Yves Montand singing Jacques Prévert and of course Jacques Brel (Ne me quitte pas, sung in English as If you go away).
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I also would recomment Maupassant's short stories. There's a good collection under the name of "Boule de Suif" (actually the title of one of the stories it contains).

If you want to develop some familiarity with day-to-day French whilst having a gentle laugh at the same time, why not read some children's books? I would heartily recommend any of the "Petit Nicolas" books by Jean-Jacques Sempé, which are more or less considered modern classics. In a similar vein are the "Les contes du chat perché" books by Marcel Aymé. You'll find either of these series by going on amazon.fr and sticking one of the titles in. They are delightfully well written, the French is high quality without being difficult, and being children's books they are quite conversational in style. They also have a charming quality of innocence and playfulness about them. I dig them out and re-read them every few years.

In a slightly different category is an author named Remo Forlani. These are not written for children, but are definitely in the "lighter reading" category and I found them quite charming as well. The three that I've read are called "Valentin tout seul", "Tous les chats ne sont pas en peluche" and "Papa est parti, maman aussi".

Rob

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Authors/books easy to read in French ?... Try :

Les fables de la Fontaine 

Pagnol : his trilogy 'Marius, Fanny, Cesar' 

Jean Giono : La femme du boulanger

George Sand : La mare au diable,

La Comtesse de Ségur: any titles can't remember any off hand

Hervé Bazin : Vipère aux poings

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry : Le Petit Prince of course but all his books telling his experiences in the early days of the flying postal service to Africa.

Avoid Zola, Victor Hugo, Proust, Malraux, Camus, Voltaire, until you are super efficient at the language.

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Also the following titles (Sorry forgot the name of the author! how embarassing!)

Les sucettes à la menthe,

Les allumettes suédoises,

Un sac de bille.

About the author's childhood during the 40's-50's.

Another title easy to read (Yet again can't remember author's name! Which is very normal of me to often remember what I read and the title of it rather than who wrote the piece)

Les petits enfants du siècle.

Amusing tale of life in the suburbs in the 60's-70's from the view point of a child growing up. Will raise a smile...

Ask any good 'libraire' for these titles or go on line to www.fnac.fr

Happy reading!

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Mouloudji, Georges Brassens, Claude Nougaro, Jacques Brel, Barbara, Gilbert Bécaud, Juliette Gréco, Marie Laforet, Julien Clerc, Joe Dassin, Serge Lama, Thomas Fursen, William Sheller.....list is long...

That should get you going with clear understandable lyrics in french, songs on all types of mood, musics of very different type and style...

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Thinking of music, I would also recomment Francis Cabrel - his lyrics are not easy to understand, but should be easy enough to follow if you have the sleeve in front of you while listening. And I find his musical style excellent - sort of a mixture of rock and blues (a matter of personal taste, of course). As a starting point, I would especially recommend his album "Samedi soir sur la terre" (from about 5 years ago).

Also it's worth listening to one of Celine Dion's French albums - I would recommend "D'Eux".

The author of "Les petits enfants du siècle" is Christiane Rochefort (don't know about the others). She also wrote another book in a similar vein called "Printemps au parking".

Rob

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[quote user="Rob G"]Also it's worth listening to one of Celine Dion's French albums [/quote]

Is it?  [:D]

She's not very "cool", you know.  Only people without much in their heads like her.  Or so I'm told.  By French people.  So it must be right, yah?

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Oops, there I go again, not being cool.

I'm frankly not bothered whether it's cool or not. It's not that I consider myself a "fan" as such - but in the context of this thread, which is about devloping language understanding through literature and music, I think she fits the bill OK.

Actually I think it's quite cool not to be cool. Cool is boring. Cool is over-rated.

Rob

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