Bookish Ways to Celebrate France on Bastille Day
Before the pandemic hit, I had big plans for 14th July. On 9th March, when everything still felt normal, I met with my bosses at the bookshop where I work and I pitched them an idea for a Bastille Day party: there’d be wine and cheese, and we’d sell French books; I’d get to press under-rated novels I love into the hands of grateful and slightly tipsy customers.
It was going to be so exciting.
Instead, here I am, on Medium, pressing French books into your hands instead. Pour yourself some wine. Cut yourself some cheese.
Four years ago, I (painstakingly) made a list of 100 must-read novels translated from French — must-reads for different reasons. Maybe they were oft-studied classics, or written by popular contemporary authors, or beautifully written, or contained important themes. Maybe there were representative of a genre that is done well by Francophone writers. Here’s that list.
100 Must-Read Books Translated From French
to celebrate the first ever French Books Week in the UK
More recently, I put together a list of French books easily available in the US at Bookshop.org, the website that is just as easy to use as that other big one, but shares profits with struggling indie bookshops rather than a tax-dodging billionaire.
This list includes several of those must-reads, as well as newer books I found when I looked around the internet for notable and excellent French books of recent years. The first four on the list are ones I’ve personally read and loved, and that I think deserve to be better known.
If I’d had my way, there would have been piles of these four at East City Bookshop tonight, right next to the wine and cheese, ready to be picked up and taken home by the tipsy, curious readers.
You can also enjoy many of these books in audio form. (Pro-tip: use the code BRITLIT to kick off your audiobook subscription with a special offer.)
(Yes, I know this is not Brit lit. Just roll with it.)
Recommended Audiobooks from France Playlist on Libro.fm
Celebrate France on Bastille Day and every other day by listening to these great French books
And, as both paperbacks and audiobooks, you can also read up on how to live, love, (laugh?) as the French do.
How to Live Like the French Playlist on Libro.fm
Pick up one of these books and learn how to eat, drink, parent, and think as the French do!
How to Live Like the French
An online bookstore that financially supports local independent bookstores and gives back to the book community.
If you’ve been meaning to learn French, audiobooks are here for that, too.
How to Use Audiobooks for Language Learning - Libro.fm Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great way to train your ear to become accustomed to the sounds and rhythms of a foreign language.
(Yes, the code BRITLIT still applies. I don’t want you to miss out on that special offer!)
I even wrote you a book with more tips for learning French — or any language.
Available now at your favorite digital store!
Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language by Claire Handscombe
And while this isn’t directly bookish, here’s a Medium post I wrote about language learning that can also help you in your endeavors to celebrate French.
But maybe, before you do any of that, pour yourself some more wine. Cut yourself some more cheese. And think fondly of next year, when we’ll hopefully be able to do that in bookshops, while enthusiastic booksellers press novels into our hands.
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