Best French Literature

Best books written by French Authors
1

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4.28 avg rating — 869,226 ratings
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2

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4.14 avg rating — 564,118 ratings
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3

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3.96 avg rating — 489,817 ratings
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4

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4.22 avg rating — 605,434 ratings
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5

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3.65 avg rating — 188,604 ratings
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6

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3.76 avg rating — 173,052 ratings
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7

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4.06 avg rating — 223,278 ratings
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8

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3.97 avg rating — 134,717 ratings
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9

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3.97 avg rating — 112,916 ratings
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10

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4.26 avg rating — 35,177 ratings
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11

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3.87 avg rating — 42,841 ratings
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12

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4.07 avg rating — 34,767 ratings
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13

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3.97 avg rating — 157,350 ratings
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14

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4.14 avg rating — 32,186 ratings
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15

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3.82 avg rating — 34,135 ratings
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16

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3.86 avg rating — 150,082 ratings
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17

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3.91 avg rating — 61,564 ratings
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18

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4.10 avg rating — 22,257 ratings
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19

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4.05 avg rating — 50,912 ratings
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20

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3.91 avg rating — 142,249 ratings
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21

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3.81 avg rating — 21,023 ratings
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22

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4.25 avg rating — 22,961 ratings
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23

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4.05 avg rating — 61,044 ratings
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24

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4.01 avg rating — 18,625 ratings
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25

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4.39 avg rating — 8,222 ratings
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26

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4.09 avg rating — 21,354 ratings
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27

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3.84 avg rating — 112,157 ratings
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28

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4.18 avg rating — 31,220 ratings
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29

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3.84 avg rating — 15,723 ratings
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30

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3.71 avg rating — 11,368 ratings
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31

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3.97 avg rating — 23,264 ratings
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32

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4.34 avg rating — 7,891 ratings
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33

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3.78 avg rating — 14,520 ratings
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34

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3.74 avg rating — 119,553 ratings
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35

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4.06 avg rating — 9,267 ratings
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36

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3.83 avg rating — 11,331 ratings
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37

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3.97 avg rating — 56,635 ratings
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38

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3.62 avg rating — 17,503 ratings
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39

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3.83 avg rating — 13,901 ratings
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40

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4.24 avg rating — 10,008 ratings
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41

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3.66 avg rating — 24,938 ratings
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42

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3.75 avg rating — 25,192 ratings
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43

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3.79 avg rating — 13,420 ratings
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44

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3.97 avg rating — 8,218 ratings
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45

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4.25 avg rating — 11,902 ratings
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46

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3.87 avg rating — 5,886 ratings
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47

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3.77 avg rating — 7,175 ratings
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48

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3.67 avg rating — 6,936 ratings
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49

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4.01 avg rating — 16,749 ratings
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50

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4.23 avg rating — 43,666 ratings
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51

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3.78 avg rating — 22,026 ratings
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52

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4.09 avg rating — 22,622 ratings
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53

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3.85 avg rating — 5,492 ratings
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54

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3.62 avg rating — 5,551 ratings
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55

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3.80 avg rating — 6,896 ratings
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56

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3.71 avg rating — 14,621 ratings
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57

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5,024 ratings
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58

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4.30 avg rating — 966 ratings
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59

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4.04 avg rating — 6,246 ratings
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60

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3.97 avg rating — 8,999 ratings
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61

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3.75 avg rating — 6,378 ratings
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62

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3.82 avg rating — 50,351 ratings
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63

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4.13 avg rating — 27,639 ratings
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64

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4.09 avg rating — 6,086 ratings
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65

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4.22 avg rating — 6,966 ratings
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66

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4.42 avg rating — 7,466 ratings
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67

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3.80 avg rating — 12,802 ratings
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68

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3.95 avg rating — 5,370 ratings
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69

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3.72 avg rating — 4,499 ratings
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70

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4.19 avg rating — 8,508 ratings
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71

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4.15 avg rating — 6,530 ratings
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72

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4.24 avg rating — 5,265 ratings
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73

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4.08 avg rating — 34,684 ratings
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74

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3.62 avg rating — 5,971 ratings
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75

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3.69 avg rating — 2,713 ratings
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76

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3.67 avg rating — 9,646 ratings
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77

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3.81 avg rating — 114,819 ratings
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78

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3.75 avg rating — 27,629 ratings
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79

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3.85 avg rating — 6,466 ratings
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80

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4.14 avg rating — 2,449 ratings
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81

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3.51 avg rating — 7,373 ratings
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82

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3.59 avg rating — 7,504 ratings
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83

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3.61 avg rating — 3,215 ratings
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84

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4.48 avg rating — 1,461 ratings
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85

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4.03 avg rating — 10,298 ratings
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86

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4.13 avg rating — 18,623 ratings
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87

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3.43 avg rating — 7,178 ratings
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88

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4.23 avg rating — 5,400 ratings
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89

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4.08 avg rating — 1,138 ratings
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90

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3.95 avg rating — 925 ratings
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91

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3.89 avg rating — 7,653 ratings
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92

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3.87 avg rating — 2,816 ratings
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93

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3.96 avg rating — 9,356 ratings
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94

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3.68 avg rating — 4,084 ratings
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95

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3.68 avg rating — 8,355 ratings
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96

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3.71 avg rating — 10,584 ratings
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97

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4.07 avg rating — 15,760 ratings
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98

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3.69 avg rating — 4,599 ratings
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99

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3.78 avg rating — 5,125 ratings
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100

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3.77 avg rating — 4,896 ratings
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683 books · 1,314 voters · list created June 25th, 2008 by M (votes) .
609 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Suvi 1606 books
339 friends
Ashley 998 books
45 friends
Jennifer 2142 books
51 friends
Rob 1233 books
24 friends
Bridgett 279 books
1 friend
Carl 408 books
34 friends
Oriana 3912 books
121 friends
Meghan 1720 books
193 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-40)




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message 40: by Bettie☯ (new)

Bettie☯ erm - isn't Samuel Beckett Irish?


message 39: 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 38: 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 37: by Richard (new)

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


message 36: 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 35: 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 34: 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 33: 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 32: by Milady (new)

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


message 31: 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 30: 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 29: 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 28: 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 27: 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 26: 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 24: 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 23: by Jain (new)

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


message 22: 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 21: 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 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 19: 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 18: by Laura (new)

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


message 17: 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 16: 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 15: 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 14: 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 13: by Laura (new)

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


message 12: 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 11: by Laura (new)

Laura Voila...


message 10: 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 9: 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 8: 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 7: 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 6: 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 5: 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 4: 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 3: by Tiago (new)

Tiago Torlay I read Balzac, Molière and Diderot.


message 2: 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 1: 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...


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