10 Best French Novels to Read Now

France is the “guest of honor” at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. Here are recent novels by some of the French writers who will be there.

Etienne and I read “Meursault, Contre-Enquête” in its French original and recommend it highly! We also read “Soumission” in French and would not recommend it highly. I’ve seen some of the others – like de Vigan and Slimani – interviewed on French talk shows and intend to read them ASAP!

Bonne lecture!

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L’admiration de France pour la jeunesse américaine

Michèle nous écrit:
Etonnante, admirable jeunesse américaine! Cette génération nous en impose. J’espère qu’elle va obtenir un changement dans les lois et dans les esprits.
Donc, il ne faut jamais désespérer…



She wrote this on a day France experienced another act of its own terrorism. A 25-year old man shot and killed 4 people in a supermarket. The fourth victim was a police officer who changed places with a woman hostage and died from his wounds.

Gun violence kills in France as it kills here. This was not the first supermarket in France nor the first school in America. What they have in common: many potential victims with inadequate protection.

Espérons que les Français aussi manifestent contre cette violence.

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Bannon assuring the FN of Victory


Who would have believed that Steve Bannon, after being fired by Trump, is now bringing his fiery support to Marine LePen and her Front National? Their congress is meeting this weekend

L’ex-conseiller de “45” et le représentant de la droite dure est contre la mondialisation, contre l’Union européenne, contre les accords du climat, contre les journalistes, et il a assuré que la victoire du parti ultra conservateur est inéluctable.

I wondered if he’d be able to talk in French. He didn’t, no surprise. The French had to listen to his English and then the translator’s indecisive, incorrect translation in French. If you listen or look at both versions (below), you’ll see that she can’t decide how too translate the one construction he uses in the first three sentences.

Bannon: “Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor. Because every day we get stronger and they get weaker.”

Translator: “Laissez vous appeler racistes. Laissez-les vous appeler xénophobes. Laissez-vous les appeler nativistes. Portez-le comme un badge d’honneur. Parce que chaque jour qui passe nous devienons (should be either devenons or deviendrons) plus forts et eux s’affaiblissent.”

Bannon uses the same simple English construction each time. She uses a different French one each time – and only her second one is correct.

Tomorrow the party is changing its name. Apparently that often happens in France after a defeat (like in the presidential elections last May in France) to make voters forget the past and turn the page.

Vocabulaire pertinent:
la vase – slime
la droite dure – the hard right

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Trump et Macron

Nous sommes tous soulagés que le 14 juillet se soit bien passé en France et que nous ayons – la France et l’Amérique – survécu. Mais pourquoi Macron a-t-il invité Trump et pourquoi Trump a-t-il accepté?

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Bastille Day photo

Andy at Bastille Day party

Voilà Andy P. qui montre sa francophilie à la fête hier soir!

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Bastille Day in Boston

With a few minutes left in Bastille Day on Marlborough Street in Boston, here is a photo of the French Cultural Center’s annual street fête as seen from above. A smaller, quieter crowd than previous years, it was protected by a police presence and huge, now-usual garbage trucks blocking the entrances to the street.  The terror attack in Nice was, after all, last year on this day.

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France welcomes us all!

Yet another reason to love France: French President Emmanuel Macron launched a website urging anyone concerned with climate change to move to France: www.MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain.fr –
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Contre Trump – le monde entier

Paris city hall with green light

From Paris to NYC and beyond, we’re all in disbelief. When I listened to the French news today on TV5 Monde, I thought of all the words related to this political and economic turning point that my students wouldn’t necessarily understand. I will list and translate some of the more important and common ones below to help in future efforts at comprehension.


Trump défie (defies) la planète. Il tourne le dos (is turning his back) au reste du monde. Sa décision: retirer (withdraw) les États-Unis de l’accord de Paris sur le climat. Résultat: “une onde de choc” (a shock wave), “un coup de tonnerre pour la planète” (a clap of thunder), “une condamnation unanime de la communauté internationale.”

Le Président français Macron condamne la décision en français et – aux Américains – en anglais. D’abord, en français: “Sur le climat, il n’y a pas de Plan B car il n’y a pas de Planète B.” Puis, en direct (live) à la télévision américaine: “We all share the same responsibility, make our planet great again.” The irony stings!

En signe de protestation, Paris illumine son Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) de vert. NYC habille (covers) plusieurs de ces monuments de vert aussi.

Trump est seul.

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Why Can’t WE have this ?

Why can’t we have something like this in Boston or New York? Last night, Paris and 30 other European countries celebrated their Nuit européenne des musées, an all-night event with FREE entry to all kinds of museums. All that “dans une ambiance festive et conviviale,” according to its website. The photos on the website will make you want to go there immediately!


Petit Palais – Musée des Beaux Arts de la ville de Paris

Petit Palais vue façade nuit © Petit Palais
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Ouf = Whew !

Ouf, whew, the Good Guy won and the French Trump equivalent lost, thank goodness! Reasonable people in France can finally breathe with relief.

Now there is a new challenge: they have to win the legislative elections in about a month, for which there will also be 2 rounds. Why is that tougher than for past presidents?  Macron only recently put together his party so he has no party members in place around the country to run for 577 positions in the National Assembly.

There are several differences between French and American elections, one of which is that, at least in this one, the loser never conceded. Another seems to be that Macron chose his own inauguration date – or, at least, the date was just announced.

An interesting new word: l’intronisation = inauguration. It literally means enthronement but the French are using it the way we use inauguration.

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