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WTF?!: What the French
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WTF?!: What the French

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  30 reviews
With Stuff Parisians Like, Olivier Magny shared his hilarious insights into the  fervently held opinions of his fellow Parisians. Now he moves beyond the City of Light to skewer the many idiosyncrasies that make modern France so very unique.

In France, the simple act of eating bread is an exercise in creative problem solving and attempting to spell requires a degree of maso
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Berkley
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3.40  · 
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 ·  116 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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How impoverished would the world be without the French? Olivier Magny, whose qualification to expound upon the French way of life is without qualification (he was born in France, grew up in France, and runs a business in France), pokes some fun (love of Nutella, love of rap music, inability to dance) but mixes in surprisingly astute social and political commentary on the nature and attitudes of the French for those of us who do not travel there frequently. Arising from the success of Magny’s blo ...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought I knew what to expect with "WTF?! What the French", since I had read Olivier Magny's previous book, "Stuff Parisians Like." That book was taken from his blog, which explains the quirks, fads, preferences, habits, and attitudes of Parisians. In a couple of pages per topic, Magny described how Parisians cross busy streets, that they love cherry tomatoes, how they judge each other by their license plates, and so on. It was fun and superficial, bite-sized chunks of amusing commentary from ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Parts of this book, particularly the beginning, were hilarious.

However, the end of the book kind of dissolved into conservative railings against the system.
Maggie Nambot (macarons & paperbacks)
This book gave me serious homesickness for France! The author is a French native and who is all too familiar with the embarrassing and frustrating cultural barriers that can happen when one visits France. Although I thought WTF?!: What the French was an enlightening and entertaining read, I’d recommend it more to people who have visited or are planning to visit France. You will probably appreciate this book much more if you can compare the author’s opinions with your own personal anecdotes.

The b
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The whole purpose of a look at the cultural mores of an entire country (and particularly one as complex and multifaceted as France) is that it observes and explains, maybe even deciphers, a number of situations so that the reader can have some idea of what to find on visiting that country. It can never avoid the fact that it is being written by a subjective person or persons, but it can try and lay some kind of claim for credibility, so that this reader, on arrival, can start to compare and cont ...more
Dana Clinton
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
"In France, bread is so intrinsically part of everyday life that the relationship to it is entirely carnal. Bread is an extension of the French body and an expression of its undying soul. Each day, in hundreds of sushi and Chinese restaurants, you will find French patrons asking for some bread, for no matter how ricey your meal is, it's still a meal and therefore calls for some bread. The ominous American threat known as "carbicide" is one that has never crossed any French person's thoughts." Ol ...more
Anastasia Alén
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Essential read for everyone who has to deal with French on daily basis and who is planning a trip there. Lots of good tips and facts written in a fun manner.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
The author is sometimes cheating the reader, other times he is a plain ignorant.

"France is home to countless terroirs, which have been shaped over millennia. It is also home to a culture that recognizes, appreciates, and sometimes even reveres them. Anyone who has traveled extensively through France can grasp the tremendous variety in architecture, cuisine, wine, accents, crops, sports, and cultural references from one French region to the next. Normandy is immediately and irremediably distingui
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I previously read "Stuff Parisians Like" by the same author, which I initially found amusing but I soon became rather frustrated with (what I perceive as) the author's sexism as that book went on.
As a Brit who has spent nearly a quarter of a century in France I have an interest in books that cover France as seen 'anthropologically' so I then went on to read "What The French". While some chapters are insightful and amusing (bises, aperitif, yoghurt, etc. - hence the two stars), as I carried on re
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Magny, a Frenchman, writes an enlightening book about the France that will make your eyelids flutter while you are gasping at the revelations that turn you view of the French upside down. The image we have of the sophisticated, cultured society is dated and inaccurate. Magny tells us that most of French citizens speak a garbled French that has been corrupted, particularly in the past 30 years. He attributes this to the complicated language, the lower standards of schools not teaching spelling an ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unendingly humorous and unsurprisingly pessimistic, given that the author is himself a French man and the French are notoriously pessimistic and certainly pride themselves on this fact. Though perhaps too pessimistic in my opinion and that's even after my having lived in France for nearly a year and having dealt with the l'administration française and it's never-ending bureaucracy. In the words of Magny: "You do not know what wanting to bang your head against the wall, crying and screaming, mean ...more
Shannon Paul
It is fortunate that Olivier Magny abhors the bourgeoisie - he'll never see this review.

I selected this title expecting humorous musings on French culture and habits. And a small portion of the book is that but far too much of the writing is ideological ranting about Leftists, immigrants, government workers, and those who feed off the government tit - according to Mr. Magny.

It is fortunate for Mr. Magny that that he is a self-described exploitative capitalist so that he can profit from the reg
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun read if you live a life either amongst the French (like I do) or as a foreigner living in France. Detailed explanations are given regarding all aspects of French life from their social services, taxation to their food and wine, all explained with frankness, humor and sarcasm, through the eyes of a Frenchman.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Being a french myself I just pick up this book out of curiosity.
It's amusing to set back and observe how we are seen by other nations.
Or rather, how someone is explaining his own culture to others.
An easy read with lots of facts more or less interesting/amusing about life in France.
Jane Gregg
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super enjoyable and pretty insightful
Renata Shura
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't realize the state of France was quite so depressing...kinda made it a downer of a read instead of inspiring... Still lots of insight into French cultural history.
Renee Drake
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Really funny at first then it's all depressing French politics. I wanted to hear more about family traditions.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love his stories and observations on the French!
Heaven Shaffer
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot of things about how French people actually think than I knew before reading the book.
Pinar Gungor
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Hos ve bos. Parizyen olanlar okuyabilir
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Забавная легкая книга о культурных особенностях франкоязычного мира. Что-то трогательное, что-то интересное, что-то забавное, что-то непонятное - обо всем, что Вы хотели знать о французах, понемногу.

Стоит почитать для хорошего настроения, если Вам нечем заняться вечером.

Правда, ничего особенно выдающегося из себя не представляет, и уж точно не попадет в мой список книг для перечитывания.
Hussain Ahmed
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Contains some interesting facts, although need to cross-check them. All in all was a fine book with a good insider perspective on the French culture and society.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
For the most part lively. A good read. The politics does get pretty indulgent after a while: trading on edginess, but beating the same dead horses everyone else like him does. And--my usual complaint--it's ultimately an incurious politics. Played for the same laughs again and again. All the same, perceptive and funny about French culture. I liked it.
Mary Beth
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. What a fun book! It was way more than I had hoped it would be... I learned more about today's French people from this simple book than volumes of other books could have taught me. Going topic by topic (in no apparent order) this book lays out in just a few pages per essay the basics about the French view of, well, everything. Each short chapter ends with a short French language lesson on the given topic -- a conversation starter, if you will -- and then s ...more
Zee Monodee
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book a lot. It was a lot like going behind-the-scenes of what makes French people quintessentially French.
I've been exposed to French culture via French media from my youngest age, so I sorta 'know' a bit what French people are like. However, this book opened my eyes to quite a few things that only someone in the know, aka a true French person, would know and thus be able to disclose.
Mind, this is not a fluffy and/or funny book. The view is quite dismal, at times, very down to earth
Kayla Tornello
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading the author's short explanations about different aspects of French life. I enjoyed the humor that was sprinkled throughout the book. It kept things entertaining even when dealing with some pretty depressing topics. I liked that the author included plenty of examples of things to check out online, such as music and movies. It was helpful to understand French when reading this book, although most French phrases were explained pretty clearly for those who don't speak the language. ...more
Donna Shaw
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book certainly opened my eyes in some ways and reaffirmed things I'd learned in other ways. My daughter and her family is relocating in the states after living in Paris for the past 3 years. This book touched on several of the reasons for their return. My son-in-law is French and his family live in France. I wish my daughter and her children had read this book before their move to France and I look forward to sharing it with them.
Rachel Parmentier Wood
Really disappointed in this. Purchased as "humor" and over half of the little essays are not funny at all. It's very political and negative which is exactly what I was trying to escape when I picked it up. Stick to the fun chapters (apéro, goûter) and skip the rest. For full disclosure: I am a French expat.
rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2017
Jennifer Dapice
rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2016
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At age 23, native Parisian Olivier Magny turned his back from the life his parents expected him to maintain to follow his true passion: wine.

One decade later, Olivier's unique approach to wine (French journalists like to refer to Olivier as "The Jamie Oliver of Wine") has turned his little company - O Chateau - into France's #1 wine tasting school & wine bar.

On top of being an international be