Best French Literature

Best books written by French Authors
1

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2

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4.18 avg rating — 699,214 ratings
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3

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3.99 avg rating — 747,157 ratings
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4

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4.26 avg rating — 767,211 ratings
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5

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3.68 avg rating — 265,272 ratings
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6

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3.77 avg rating — 227,195 ratings
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7

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4.07 avg rating — 281,013 ratings
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8

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3.99 avg rating — 176,652 ratings
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9

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4.01 avg rating — 184,748 ratings
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10

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4.23 avg rating — 52,499 ratings
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11

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4.07 avg rating — 44,552 ratings
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12

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3.88 avg rating — 59,042 ratings
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13

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3.96 avg rating — 204,454 ratings
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14

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4.11 avg rating — 49,928 ratings
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15

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3.85 avg rating — 46,711 ratings
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16

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3.89 avg rating — 206,829 ratings
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17

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3.92 avg rating — 90,831 ratings
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18

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4.15 avg rating — 30,035 ratings
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19

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4.02 avg rating — 78,250 ratings
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20

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3.94 avg rating — 191,980 ratings
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21

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4.22 avg rating — 33,163 ratings
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22

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3.85 avg rating — 30,725 ratings
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23

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4.07 avg rating — 73,137 ratings
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24

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4.36 avg rating — 10,960 ratings
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25

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4.21 avg rating — 42,520 ratings
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26

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3.86 avg rating — 160,772 ratings
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27

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3.98 avg rating — 28,080 ratings
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28

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3.70 avg rating — 13,882 ratings
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29

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4.13 avg rating — 32,518 ratings
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30

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4.35 avg rating — 10,208 ratings
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31

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3.78 avg rating — 155,655 ratings
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32

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4.01 avg rating — 35,482 ratings
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33

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3.83 avg rating — 21,177 ratings
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34

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3.79 avg rating — 17,771 ratings
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35

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4.25 avg rating — 20,156 ratings
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36

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3.66 avg rating — 29,987 ratings
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37

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4.03 avg rating — 13,315 ratings
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38

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3.81 avg rating — 15,064 ratings
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39

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3.83 avg rating — 18,253 ratings
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40

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3.85 avg rating — 7,802 ratings
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41

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3.99 avg rating — 65,447 ratings
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42

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3.74 avg rating — 38,239 ratings
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43

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3.67 avg rating — 31,070 ratings
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44

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4.01 avg rating — 12,417 ratings
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45

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4.24 avg rating — 11,874 ratings
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46

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3.80 avg rating — 18,405 ratings
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47

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4.11 avg rating — 26,377 ratings
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48

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3.82 avg rating — 68,354 ratings
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49

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3.74 avg rating — 10,359 ratings
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50

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4.21 avg rating — 59,484 ratings
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51

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3.61 avg rating — 7,587 ratings
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52

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4.42 avg rating — 8,958 ratings
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53

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4.05 avg rating — 20,900 ratings
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54

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3.80 avg rating — 32,729 ratings
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55

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3.66 avg rating — 10,047 ratings
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56

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3.83 avg rating — 166,646 ratings
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57

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4.02 avg rating — 5,551 ratings
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58

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3.83 avg rating — 7,307 ratings
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59

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3.73 avg rating — 22,289 ratings
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60

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4.07 avg rating — 8,699 ratings
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61

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4.24 avg rating — 10,322 ratings
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62

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3.85 avg rating — 10,168 ratings
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63

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4.14 avg rating — 36,718 ratings
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64

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4.08 avg rating — 8,903 ratings
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65

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4.11 avg rating — 44,907 ratings
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66

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4.31 avg rating — 1,173 ratings
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67

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3.83 avg rating — 17,854 ratings
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68

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4.15 avg rating — 27,926 ratings
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69

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3.74 avg rating — 9,699 ratings
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70

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4.17 avg rating — 8,763 ratings
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71

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3.96 avg rating — 11,399 ratings
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72

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 7,540 ratings
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73

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3.65 avg rating — 4,819 ratings
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74

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3.68 avg rating — 15,776 ratings
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75

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3.72 avg rating — 5,915 ratings
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76

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4.13 avg rating — 13,586 ratings
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77

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4.15 avg rating — 2,895 ratings
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78

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3.78 avg rating — 38,217 ratings
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79

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3.59 avg rating — 8,323 ratings
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80

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3.58 avg rating — 9,829 ratings
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81

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4.21 avg rating — 7,399 ratings
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82

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4.05 avg rating — 13,125 ratings
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83

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3.86 avg rating — 8,611 ratings
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84

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4.08 avg rating — 21,179 ratings
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85

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3.51 avg rating — 9,634 ratings
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86

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4.22 avg rating — 7,107 ratings
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87

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4.16 avg rating — 362 ratings
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88

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3.63 avg rating — 4,700 ratings
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89

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3.92 avg rating — 3,524 ratings
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90

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3.63 avg rating — 9,128 ratings
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91

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4.14 avg rating — 14,123 ratings
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92

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3.73 avg rating — 14,688 ratings
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92

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3.85 avg rating — 10,823 ratings
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94

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3.42 avg rating — 11,247 ratings
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95

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4.52 avg rating — 2,093 ratings
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96

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3.81 avg rating — 6,247 ratings
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97

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3.72 avg rating — 5,730 ratings
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98

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4.08 avg rating — 1,652 ratings
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99

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3.97 avg rating — 1,117 ratings
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100

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3.71 avg rating — 6,786 ratings
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799 books · 1,478 voters · list created June 25th, 2008 by M (votes) .
795 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Suvi 1652 books
407 friends
Ashley 1213 books
44 friends
Jennifer 2916 books
49 friends
Robert 1568 books
28 friends
Bridgett 405 books
1 friend
Carl 581 books
34 friends
Meghan 1765 books
193 friends
Fred 773 books
61 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 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 (Lioness at Large) 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 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 21: by Laura (new)

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


message 22: 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 23: 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 24: 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 25: 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 26: by Laura (new)

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


message 27: 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 28: by Laura (new)

Laura Voila...


message 29: 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 30: 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 31: 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 32: 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


message 33: by Breanna (new)

Breanna Does anyone have any book or author suggestions for YA? I'm fluent in French, but I live in an English speaking country, so I'm not really exposed to the French culture. I've read the classic French books, but does anyone have any modern suggestions? Thanks!


message 34: by Kasey (new)

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

Camus is technically Algerian as well.


message 35: by Jain (last edited Feb 18, 2017 11:19AM) (new)

Jain Kasey wrote: "Camus is technically Algerian as well."

Algeria didn't declare independence from France until 1962; Camus lived 1913-1960. Technically, he was French.


message 36: by Lonesome (new)

Lonesome this is hardly informative for someone who wants to explore french fiction its like , collette here and balzac there and some hugo and a few ones popular now cause they were made into films ( Suite Française is one of the best french books ever and much ahead of the masterpiece sielnce of the sea , I just cant ) and
where are the writers from the 30s and 40s ?


message 37: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 21, 2017 09:00PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Lonesome wrote: "where are the writers from the 30s and 40s?.."

How about Albert Camus, Raymond Queneau, Roger Martin du Gard? They're on this list...


message 38: by Lonesome (new)

Lonesome Booklovinglady wrote: "Lonesome wrote: "where are the writers from the 30s and 40s?.."

How about Albert Camus, Raymond Queneau, Roger Martin du Gard? They're on this list..."


and where are the rest , where are the winners of the grand prix , great writers from the era like Louis aragon and romain rolland and many many others are snubbed , the literature from between the wars is completely forgotten by the french unfortunately.
while françoise sagan and collette are all over the place .


message 39: by Booklovinglady (last edited Oct 11, 2017 12:33AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Lonesome wrote: "... great writers from the era like Louis aragon and romain rolland and many many others are snubbed..."

Personally I don't think they're 'snubbed', but most people only vote for books on their own shelves, and there's no denying that Françoise Sagan and Colette are more widely read.

Albert Camus is mentioned twice in the top ten of this list, by the way, while Françoise Sagan and Colette aren't mentioned in the top ten at all.


message 40: by Lonesome (new)

Lonesome Booklovinglady wrote: "Lonesome wrote: "... great writers from the era like Louis aragon and romain rolland and many many others are snubbed..."

Personally I don't think they're 'snubbed', but most people only vote for ..."


but thats what I am saying , that people are not aware of those writers in the first place and the list shows that< Louis aragon appears at n 300 something and I dont think anybody heard of the soul enchanted series , so non french speakers have a very very limited knowledge of french fiction from the first half of the 20th century , mostly because the french themselves have totally ignored writers from that era either for political reason or lack of interest , when you look at the winners and books that won the major prizes from the 20s to the 60s , almost none is read or well known today , does this make any sense ? why no one is bringing forgotten major works back just like what is happening in english fiction ......


message 41: by Booklovinglady (last edited Oct 11, 2017 04:39AM) (new)

Booklovinglady @Lonesome
I haven't got any books by Louis Aragón or Romain Rolland on my shelves, yet I've heard of them, in other words, I'm 'aware' of them... (and I'm not French/a native French speaker).


message 42: by Ted (new)

Ted Kramer What about French poets? Start with "Chanson de Roland, then continue with Villon, Ronsard etc.


message 43: by Booklovinglady (last edited Apr 26, 2019 12:14AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Marguerite Yourcenar is Belgian, not French, and Mariama Bâ is Senegalese... The description says Best books written by French Authors. (Maybe the description should be changed, or added to, to 'books originally written in French', as this list is a mess, to be honest...)


message 44: by Jain (new)

Jain Booklovinglady wrote: "Marguerite Yourcenar is Belgian, not French, and Mariama Bâ is Senegalese... The description says Best books written by French Authors."

Both of those are edge cases rather than wholly incorrect inclusions. Marguerite Yourcenar was granted French citizenship in 1979 (because France wanted her as a member of the Académie Française). And Mariama Bâ was French from her birth in 1929 until 1960, when Senegal declared independence from France.


message 45: by Justpassingby (last edited Apr 26, 2019 02:34AM) (new)

Justpassingby Booklovinglady wrote: "Marguerite Yourcenar is Belgian, not French, and Mariama Bâ is Senegalese... The description says Best books written by French Authors. (Maybe the description should b..."
Yes, it is, and yes, it should. There is no sound reason to build up lists of books defined by modern country boundaries; even less so if you are going to include premodern authors.


message 46: by Justpassingby (new)

Justpassingby Jain wrote: "Both of those are edge cases rather than wholly incorrect inclusions. Marguerite Yourcenar was granted French citizenship in 1979 (because France wanted her as a member of the Académie Française). And Mariama Bâ was French from her birth in 1929 until 1960, when Senegal declared independence from France."

Saved by the bell, but I doubt if the same can be said of the Belgian Hergé or the anonymous author of the Arabian Nights (the latter not even a French-language original).


message 47: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady Justpassingby wrote: "Saved by the bell, but I doubt if the same can be said of the Belgian Hergé or the anonymous author of the Arabian Nights (the latter not even a French-language original)...."

😉


message 48: by Resistance (new)

Resistance Cette liste déraille complètement et ceux qui commentent n'ont aucune idée de ce que c'est que d'être français, apparemment. Camus, "algérien"! Yourcenar, "belge"! Bon. Même pas la peine de seulement commencer à discuter quand c'est parti comme ça. D'ailleurs la France n'existe plus, alors à quoi bon.... Comme disait un vrai Français, Alphonse Daudet, who didn't make the list!


message 49: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady Resistance wrote: "Alphonse Daudet, who didn't make the list!..."

I voted for this list quite a while ago, and voted for Lettres de mon moulin, which was already on the list when I voted...


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