Best French Literature

Best books written by French Authors
1

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2

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4.12 avg rating — 496,893 ratings
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3

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3.94 avg rating — 389,863 ratings
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4

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4.19 avg rating — 522,166 ratings
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5

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3.63 avg rating — 151,375 ratings
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6

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3.75 avg rating — 143,683 ratings
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7

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4.05 avg rating — 193,664 ratings
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8

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3.95 avg rating — 110,094 ratings
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9

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3.97 avg rating — 93,993 ratings
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10

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4.27 avg rating — 27,969 ratings
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11

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3.86 avg rating — 33,520 ratings
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12

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4.07 avg rating — 28,344 ratings
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13

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3.97 avg rating — 131,853 ratings
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14

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3.81 avg rating — 27,922 ratings
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15

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4.13 avg rating — 25,319 ratings
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16

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3.84 avg rating — 117,557 ratings
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17

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4.07 avg rating — 17,969 ratings
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18

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3.79 avg rating — 16,384 ratings
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19

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3.90 avg rating — 50,800 ratings
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20

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3.89 avg rating — 121,881 ratings
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21

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4.05 avg rating — 41,269 ratings
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22

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4.05 avg rating — 51,713 ratings
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23

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4.25 avg rating — 17,958 ratings
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24

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4.03 avg rating — 13,757 ratings
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25

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4.07 avg rating — 17,444 ratings
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26

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3.96 avg rating — 18,291 ratings
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27

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3.83 avg rating — 12,769 ratings
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28

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3.82 avg rating — 91,740 ratings
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29

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4.39 avg rating — 6,667 ratings
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30

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4.17 avg rating — 26,138 ratings
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31

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3.78 avg rating — 12,687 ratings
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32

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3.71 avg rating — 102,563 ratings
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33

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4.34 avg rating — 6,555 ratings
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34

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3.83 avg rating — 9,006 ratings
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35

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3.96 avg rating — 49,353 ratings
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36

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3.79 avg rating — 10,890 ratings
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37

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4.05 avg rating — 7,356 ratings
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38

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3.67 avg rating — 5,692 ratings
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39

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3.83 avg rating — 11,513 ratings
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40

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4.23 avg rating — 8,049 ratings
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41

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3.96 avg rating — 6,254 ratings
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42

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3.70 avg rating — 9,563 ratings
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43

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3.66 avg rating — 20,795 ratings
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44

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3.89 avg rating — 4,831 ratings
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45

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4.25 avg rating — 8,584 ratings
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46

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3.78 avg rating — 5,566 ratings
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47

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3.99 avg rating — 14,224 ratings
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48

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3.77 avg rating — 19,903 ratings
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49

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50

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3.61 avg rating — 12,727 ratings
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51

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4.28 avg rating — 836 ratings
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52

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3.71 avg rating — 11,124 ratings
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53

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3.78 avg rating — 17,124 ratings
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54

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3.78 avg rating — 5,269 ratings
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55

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4.10 avg rating — 4,718 ratings
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56

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4.20 avg rating — 5,450 ratings
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57

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3.92 avg rating — 4,098 ratings
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58

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3.80 avg rating — 43,522 ratings
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59

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4.22 avg rating — 36,946 ratings
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60

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3.80 avg rating — 10,107 ratings
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61

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4.04 avg rating — 4,922 ratings
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62

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4.12 avg rating — 19,175 ratings
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63

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3.74 avg rating — 4,900 ratings
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64

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3.84 avg rating — 4,399 ratings
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65

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4.07 avg rating — 24,754 ratings
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66

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4.26 avg rating — 4,174 ratings
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67

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4.19 avg rating — 8,214 ratings
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68

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3.50 avg rating — 6,011 ratings
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69

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3.96 avg rating — 7,417 ratings
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70

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3.62 avg rating — 4,888 ratings
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71

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3.74 avg rating — 22,980 ratings
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72

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4.46 avg rating — 1,083 ratings
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72

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4.14 avg rating — 5,233 ratings
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74

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3.61 avg rating — 2,352 ratings
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75

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4.06 avg rating — 28,439 ratings
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76

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3.86 avg rating — 5,322 ratings
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77

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4.14 avg rating — 2,219 ratings
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78

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3.67 avg rating — 7,080 ratings
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79

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3.86 avg rating — 2,281 ratings
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80

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3.60 avg rating — 6,230 ratings
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81

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3.94 avg rating — 735 ratings
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82

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3.60 avg rating — 4,408 ratings
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83

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4.42 avg rating — 6,631 ratings
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84

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3.91 avg rating — 6,131 ratings
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85

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4.01 avg rating — 8,148 ratings
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86

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4.07 avg rating — 888 ratings
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87

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3.79 avg rating — 3,195 ratings
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88

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3.71 avg rating — 4,044 ratings
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89

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3.66 avg rating — 3,090 ratings
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90

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3.70 avg rating — 5,607 ratings
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91

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3.70 avg rating — 3,552 ratings
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91

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3.87 avg rating — 1,538 ratings
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93

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3.42 avg rating — 5,523 ratings
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94

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3.66 avg rating — 3,345 ratings
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95

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4.19 avg rating — 6,953 ratings
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96

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3.78 avg rating — 746 ratings
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97

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3.75 avg rating — 3,904 ratings
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98

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4.06 avg rating — 528 ratings
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99

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3.66 avg rating — 1,988 ratings
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100

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3.61 avg rating — 9,189 ratings
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596 books · 1,147 voters · list created June 25th, 2008 by M (votes) .
464 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Suvi 1521 books
274 friends
Ashley 894 books
41 friends
Jennifer 1718 books
51 friends
R. 1036 books
22 friends
Bridgett 279 books
1 friend
Carl 390 books
34 friends
Oriana 3890 books
122 friends
Meghan 1660 books
158 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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message 1: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ erm - isn't Samuel Beckett Irish?


message 2: by Richard (last edited Oct 29, 2011 09:38PM) (new)

Richard Bettie wrote: "erm - isn't Samuel Beckett Irish?"

Yes, but he wrote many works originally in French. He then translated all except Molloy into English by himself. He worked on the translation of Molloy as well, but with a collaborator.


message 3: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ Richard wrote: "Bettie wrote: "erm - isn't Samuel Beckett Irish?"

Yes, but he wrote many works originally in French. He then translated all except Molloy into English by himself. He worked on the translation ..."


Thanks Richard; wait 'til THAT comes up in a pub quiz and I'll be in the money.
:O)


message 4: by Richard (new)

Richard Well, if you win, think of me when you're enjoying a celebratory beverage. :-)


message 5: by Carlo (new)

Carlo Some major omissions: Emile Cioran (his French essays), Jean Giono, Isabelle Eberhardt, George Sand, Milan Kundera (his French novels), and Yasmina Reza. I would also include "Pierre et Jean" by Guy Maupassant.


message 6: by Richard (last edited Nov 02, 2011 08:41AM) (new)

Richard Carlo, You bring up a good point because this list seems to concentrate on authors from France with a few from Belgium thrown in for good measure. But if you define "French" as "originally written in the French language" there are many other places which produced literature in French. Beckett the Irishman does actually belong (slainte, Bettie!). I would add Maeterlinck (L'Oiseau bleu is famous even in English translation as The Blue Bird) and more African and Caribbean literature. How about some French Canadian authors--or have I missed them?

There are some George Sand novels in the list actually, but her name should be corrected because she wrote George the English way without the final s, as you have done.

And I have to ask, how did the Margaret Weis sneak in under the radar? Dan Brown? Sandra L. Calvert? J.K. Rowling?!?


message 7: by Carlo (new)

Carlo Thanks Richard. I've yet to read Maeterlinck. Did Gautier or Nerval make the list? I see Crebillon hasn't. It was Crebillon who inspired Dostoyevski's "The Gambler."


message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard I spotted Gerard de Nerval, but not the other authors you mention. I didn't know about the Crebillon--Dostoyevski connection--that's interesting!


message 9: by Milady (new)

Milady De Sumer Dan Brown and J. K. Rowling are on this list? I feel puzzled...


message 10: by Caro63 (new)

Caro63 L'Homme Aux Cercles Bleus
How about Fred Vargas ? I love her crime series ! Start with Pars Vite et Reviens tard and you'll be hooked


message 11: by Fiona (new)

Fiona So nice to see this list! Many I shldlve read but haven't so, much to look forward to! And someone pls take j k Rowling off!


message 12: by Esther (new)

Esther Does anyone know a french book that isn't to complicated and hard to read? I have to read a french book for school and I am at the level of, for example, le petit prince. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a message! :)


message 13: by Christine (new)

Christine I'm looking for a contemporary French novel I read as a girl in English. We had a bilingual edition and I forgot the title or author. I think the title either has garden or fruit in it. It's about the musings of a child about family life after the war, and his father, who was a former soldier.


message 14: by Belforta (new)

Belforta beaucoup-beaucoup de livres manquent dans cette liste, mais je suppose qu reste très bien, il est vrai il y a beaucoup d'auteurs qui ne devraient pas originellement être dans cette liste~~~~


message 15: by Anne Sofie (new)

Anne Sofie This list is amazing ! i'm really looking foward to read some more french literature <3


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) I see that a number of books have crept on by authors who are neither French nationals nor do they write in French (e.g., Dan Brown). Should those books be removed?


message 17: by Justpassingby (new)

Justpassingby The list could do with a little cleanup... Proust is there with the series *A la recherche du temps perdu* in position 36 and volume 1 of that series in position 18 (and again in position 51!). The generally accepted wisdon (see Wikipedia :-) is that the series is considered as a single novel, so the first volume should go. Rimbaud is in position 75 with his complete works, which does not rhyme with his individual entries on 32 and 69. Molière's misanthrope is repeated, as well.


message 18: by Jain (new)

Jain Removed for not being French literature: Catching Fire and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


message 19: by Jain (new)

Jain Justpassingby wrote: "The list could do with a little cleanup..."

Goodreads librarians are constrained to only remove works that are in violation of a list, and none of the examples you pointed out is contrary to either the list's title or its description. Unless the list creator includes rules in the description such as "Don't vote for multiple books in a series if a combined/collected work exists," or "Don't vote for drama collections; only vote for individual plays," then unfortunately you have to expect a certain amount of redundancy to creep onto a list like this one.


message 20: by Garance (last edited Jun 24, 2013 07:38AM) (new)

Garance I have to say, this list is very far away from what a French person would say... I hope ! Because Guillaume Musso and Marc Levy before Zola, Hugo, Duras, Camus or Malraux this is... well, Musso and Levy books are what we call "romans de gare", in english, "train station novels" and it is not a compliment...


message 21: by Richard (new)

Richard Garance wrote: "I have to say, this list is very far away from what a French person would say... I hope ! Because Guillaume Musso and Marc Levy before Zola, Hugo, Duras, Camus or Malraux this is... well, Musso and..."

Garance, thanks for teaching me a new expression. The equivalent in English is "airport novel," meaning that it is a poor quality novel but you buy it at the airport just before you get on an airplane because you know you will be bored and you want something to pass the time during your trip.


message 22: by Garance (last edited Jun 24, 2013 10:09AM) (new)

Garance Richard wrote: "Garance wrote: "I have to say, this list is very far away from what a French person would say... I hope ! Because Guillaume Musso and Marc Levy before Zola, Hugo, Duras, Camus or Malraux this is......"

Thanks to you now, for teaching me how to translate it. This is exactly what I wanted to say about those books, I read one or two, the stories are not that bad, but it isn't the kind of books that should be found in a list called "literature", and even less a "best french literature" list... This reflects poorly what books the French culture has to offer !


message 23: by Laura (new)

Laura Daphne du Maurier is not a French author!! Amin Maalouf is from Lebanon and Jorge Semprún is from Spain!!!!!!!!


message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard Laura wrote: "Daphne du Maurier is not a French author!! Amin Maalouf is from Lebanon and Jorge Semprún is from Spain!!!!!!!!"

Amin Maalouf's mother tongue is Arabic, but all his books were written in French. So if by "French literature" we mean books originally written in French, he would still fit. It depends how you define your terms here.

Jorge Semprún was from Spain but lived most of his life in France and wrote primarily in the French language. So he would probably fit as well.

But Du Maurier was an English author (born in London) who, as far as I can tell, wrote her books in English.


message 25: by Laura (last edited Jul 04, 2013 12:15PM) (new)

Laura There is a lack of consistency in your list. In my humble opinion, French literature belongs to French authors. Foreign authors who had their books translated to French is a completely different story.

According to Wiki:

French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens of other nations such as Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, etc. is referred to as Francophone literature. As of 2006, French writers have been awarded more Nobel Prizes in Literature than novelists, poets and essayists of any other country. France itself ranks first in the list of Nobel Prizes in literature by country.


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura Richard wrote: "Laura wrote: "Daphne du Maurier is not a French author!! Amin Maalouf is from Lebanon and Jorge Semprún is from Spain!!!!!!!!"

Amin Maalouf's mother tongue is Arabic, but all his books were writte..."


So, Daphne du Maurier should be removed from your list, don't you agree?


message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Laura wrote: "Richard wrote: "Laura wrote: "Daphne du Maurier is not a French author!! Amin Maalouf is from Lebanon and Jorge Semprún is from Spain!!!!!!!!"

Amin Maalouf's mother tongue is Arabic, but all his b..."


I would agree, Laura, but I didn't compile the list! :)


message 28: by Laura (new)

Laura I know, I know but someone must fix this whole mess, don't you agree?


message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard Laura wrote: "I know, I know but someone must fix this whole mess, don't you agree?"

Yes, I'm with you on that one.


message 30: by Laura (new)

Laura Voila...


message 31: by Booklovinglady (last edited Dec 14, 2013 05:03AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Crime and punishment (no. 248; 1 voter) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is Russian, not French, and has been deleted.


message 32: by Anita (new)

Anita Turner I am looking for French books that are suitable for two girls ages 13 and 14 who are fluent in French. They are native english speakers but started learning French at age 2. Any suggestions? They love stories like the Divergent series.


message 33: by Laura (new)

Laura Anita wrote: "I am looking for French books that are suitable for two girls ages 13 and 14 who are fluent in French. They are native english speakers but started learning French at age 2. Any suggestions? The..."

If they like historical romance, there is Marianne's series by Juliette Benzoni.

If they like adventure with some historical hints, The Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas.

If they like adventure & pirates, Le bal des louves
by Mireille Calmel and Lady Pirate

I also do love Le Grande Meaulnes by Alain Fournier.

Marcel Pagnol has a lot of good book for that age.


message 34: by Laura (new)

Laura Anita wrote: "I am looking for French books that are suitable for two girls ages 13 and 14 who are fluent in French. They are native english speakers but started learning French at age 2. Any suggestions? The..."

And do not forget about La Guerre des Boutons by Louis Pergaud

If they like comics, Tintin and Asterix series are great ones.

Also Le Petit Prince by Saint-Execupery


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