In today’s particular example, when I say French books, I don’t mean books written by a French person, but books written in French. Books written en français par une femme belge exceptionnelle : Amélie Nothomb. Elle est un de mes écrivains vivants préférés! Je l’adore littéralement! In fact, in case you’ve gone through the Proust Questionnaire from 2 weeks ago, you may have noticed that she is dans la liste de mes héroïnes. Rien que ça.

 

The perfect books for people who study French

 

Many of you want my advice as per what to read to improve your French. Aujourd’hui j’ai envie de vous conseiller Amélie Nothomb pour plusieurs raisons :

– Ses livres sont très bien écrits avec un vocabulaire d’une rare beauté et richesse.

– Ses livres se lisent vite et facilement parce qu’ils sont exaltants, plein d’actions, plein d’émotions, et souvent très drôles : ils sont de véritables page-turners.

– Ses livres n’intimident pas le lecteur parce qu’ils sont très courts, souvent entre 100 et 150 pages seulement, very doable.

 

Short, easy, brilliant books in French

 

Every time I read one of her books, I make sure to have a couple of hours on my hands, and read it in one go. It is always a moment of pure delight and profound admiration for such a remarkable human being.

 

Née en 1966 en Belgique, elle grandit au Japon à quelques kilomètres de Kobe où elle habite jusqu’à ses 5 ans. Dans la vidéo ci-dessous, vous pourrez même l’entendre parler en japonais avec son ancienne nounou Nishio-san. Puis elle et sa famille déménagent dans de nombreux autres pays comme la Chine, les États-Unis, le Bangladesh, la Birmanie, le Laos… Après chaque départ elle doit tout recommencer ailleurs. Sa seule racine devient le langage et elle décide d’en faire son métier, le métier d’écrivain.

 

Fun facts about Amélie Nothomb

 

– She is a happy and proud Champagne addict.

– Depuis ses 17 ans, elle écrit quatre heures par jour, de 4h du matin à 8h du matin, tous les jours, sans exception. Talk about discipline…

– She read all Greek and Latin classics (in Ancient Greek and Latin – NOT translated) as a teenager.

– Elle maitrise l’humour noire comme personne d’autre, ses romans sont à la fois extrêmement drôles et violents.

– She writes four books per year, every year, and only publishes one.

– Elle parle de chacun de ses livres (publiés et non publiés) comme de ses enfants. Quatre livres par an depuis 1992… that’s an impressive amount of pregnancies!

– Elle a grandit au Japon et a vécu dans plein d’autres pays étrangers (Chine, Asie du sud-est, États-Unis, etc.) parce que son père était un diplomate belge.

– She became a baroness, une baronne, en 2015.

 

 

Vous êtes nombreux à me demander ce que je lis dans vos messages et je pourrais vous conseiller une grande variété d’écrivains français et francophones, mais aujourd’hui, j’ai choisi de me concentrer sur my beloved Amélie Nothomb. Nobody writes like her. When I read her, I hear her voice telling me the story.

 

Liste des livres écrits par Amélie Nothomb

 

Je les ai tous lus et je les aime tous alors allez-y sans crainte! Je suis en train de relire Métaphysique des tubes avec une de mes étudiantes and I can’t remember last time I laughed so hard even though I had already read it twice before. It might be a good one for you to begin with…

 

1992 : Hygiène de l’assassin
1993 : La Sabotage amoureux
1995 : Les Catilinaires
1996 : Péplum
1997 : Attentat
1998 : Mercure
1999 : Stupeur et Tremblements (grand prix du roman de l’Académie française + was made into a movie see trailer here)
2000 : Métaphysique des tubes (possibly the funniest book I’ve EVER read my entire life)
2001 : Cosmétique de l’ennemi
2002 : Robert des noms propres
2003 : Antéchrista
2004 : Biographie de la faim
2005 : Acide sulfurique
2006 : Journal d’Hirondelle
2007 : Ni d’Ève ni d’Adam (was made into a movie see trailer here)
2008 : La Fait du prince
2009 : Le Voyage d’hiver
2010 : Une forme de vie
2011 : Tuer le père
2012 : Barbe bleue
2013 : La Nostalgie heureuse
2014 : Pétronille
2015 : Le Crime du comte Neville
2016 : Riquet à la houppe
2017 : Frappe-toi le coeur
2018 : Les Prénoms épicènes
2019 : Soif

 

Si vous avez envie d’un choix plus varié, alors Amélie se fera une joie de vous suggérer ses livres préférés dans cette vidéo :

 

 

Pour vous les étudiants avancés, voici sa masterclasse, une vidéo plus longue que les deux précédentes :

 

 

J’espère que ce blog vous aura convaincus et que vous donnerez sa chance à Amélie dans votre prochain choix de lecture. If so, please let me know which book you chose, what you thought of it, and why. Bonne lecture! Happy reading!

 

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Learn French online with Virginie

Join French Truly’s online school, either by buying the French online course(s) of your choice or by becoming a monthly member. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page 🙂

Each French online course is packed with video & audio files along with written material, to make it as fun, easy, and user friendly as possible for you! Come and learn French online with me!

 

French online course #1: 600 WORDS

learn french online

In this course, you will find 15 videos (+ 10 bonus ones) to help & accompany you every step of the way through the course + for each word, each sentence, each expression, each conjugated verb, I have created an audio file of my voice, slow and slightly faster speed. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.

 

Did you know…

You can converse (speak + understand) in French with only 600 WORDS?

The average French person only uses between 300 & 3,000 WORDS?

This means that if you can master a relatively short list of words, you’ll be able to express yourself like the average French person! Plus you’re much more likely to understand the French when they talk back to you!

 

This course will teach you…

1- How to speak French

2- How to pronounce French

3- How to make French sentences

4- How to conjugate all the most common French verbs

5- How to polish your results

6- How to self evaluate your French

More info HERE

  • It should take you about 30 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 10 lessons
  • This course is designed for a beginner / intermediate level. If you are intermediate but feel like you could really reinforce your foundations, you will love it.
  • You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page 🙂

 

Online course # 2: PERFECT PRONUNCIATION

Learn French online

In this course you will find 11 videos + 150 audio files + 92 pages PDF format to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. In some parts of the videos, my face will appear close up and profile so you can easily see how I make these sounds with my mouth. The 150 audio files are composed of the 100 most popular French words and the 50 most common French phrases. They are recordings of my voice, speaking slowly enough so you can easily grasp every syllable. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.

NB: if you are the proud owner of my previous French online course 600 WORDS, don’t worry, this is not a repeat as we are now exploring 1 letter words and up, whereas in 600 WORDS we began at 4 letter words and up.

 

Combine knowledge with confidence…

For you to be able to have a pleasant and efficient conversation with a French person, one thing is key… can you guess what it is? Confidence! How well do you think you will communicate in French if you don’t feel confident about your accent? If you are scared that people won’t understand you? Or even worse if you think someone might make fun of you? Without a minimum of confidence there is no room for communication. Yet if you feel confident, you can afford to make a few mistakes here and there because people will still understand you. What prevents a conversation from happening isn’t just a lack of knowledge, it’s also a lack of confidence. You need to have both to make it work, not to mention, to make it fun!

 

This course will teach you…

1- How to pronounce every letter of the alphabet

2- How to pronounce every digraph & trigraph

3- How to make every French sentence flow

4- How to pronounce the 100 most popular French words

5- How to pronounce the 50 most popular French phrases

6- How to avoid the pronunciation mistakes everyone makes

More info HERE

  • It should take you about 20 to 2 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 11 lessons
  • This course is designed for a beginner level. If you are intermediate but lack confidence when it comes to talking and feel like you could really benefit from focusing on pronunciation, you will love it.
  • You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership below 🙂

 

Online course # 3: FRENCH DICTÉES

French online course dictées

 

In the FRENCH DICTÉES online course you will find 20 videos + 10 audio files to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. Why 20 videos? Because there are 10 dictées in total, each focusing on one particular topic, and for each dictée I have prepared 2 videos. Let’s say the video focuses on both French past tenses called imparfait & passé composé. The first video will go though the grammar, the conjugation, and all the tips on these two past tenses to help you understand and remember how and when to use them. The second video will be the actual dictée, a short story written by me, describing everyday life situations conveniently packed with imparfait and passé composé verbs! Boom! Efficient! The dictée will also be read by me, slowly first and then a little faster, with a close up on my face so you can more easily recognize the words and copy the shapes I make to improve your own pronunciation.

 

Become a French language expert

How do you become an expert at anything? By focusing on one thing at a time.

I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic per dictée, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.

 

Here’s what you’re going to learn

What grammar & conjugation points will each dictée focus on?

Dictée # 1: Present tense

Dictée # 2: Past tenses – imparfait & passé composé

Dictée # 3: Future tenses – futur proche & futur simple

Dictée # 4: Conditional, imparfait, asking questions

Dictée # 5: Imperative form

Dictée # 6: First group verbs all tenses

Dictée # 7: Second group verbs all tenses

Dictée # 8: Third group verbs all tenses

Dictée # 9: Numbers

Dictée # 10: Prepositions

Each dictée is a short story written by me about practical everyday life situations. This means that not only do you get to work on conjugation & grammar drills, but you also improve your conversational skills at the same time: a magic combination for your next trip to France!

 

Grow your confidence talking about practical everyday topics

The dictées will refer to common topics that you are very likely to hear or very likely to use to express yourself such as:

-Traveling to France

-Socializing

-Childhood memories

-Family dynamics

-Everyday life routines

-How to express your ideas, opinions, and dreams

 

Two videos per dictée

First video: key grammar and conjugation reminders explained very clearly so you feel prepared and confident entering each dictée.

Second video: the actual dictée. I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.

 

And for you challenge lovers over-achievers?

Yes I have prepared something just for you! I have also made 10 audio files, 1 per dictée, so that if you wish to, if you want it extra difficult, if you want to test yourself more deeply, you can solely rely on sound. Indeed there are many occasions in life where we hear a language but we don’t see it: speaking to someone on the phone or listening to the radio for instance.

 

20 videos? 10 audio files? What else?

This new FRENCH DICTÉES online course also comes with written files with both the French text along with the English translation, so that you can evaluate yourself when you’re done taking notes.

To summarize, you’ll be able to use video, audio, and written material.

 

Dictées worked for me, they’ll work for you!

Let me tell you, I LOVE dictées because THEY WORK. And clearly you realize this too and that is smart of you. So now let’s see how something as simple as a dictée can truly help you become a little bit French! Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.

 

Become a monthly member!

Learn French Online

My goal is to transform your French language learning experience. This is why I’ve decided to offer you a new way to learn French online and gain access to the French Truly Online School! Actually, more than 1 new way, you’ll have 3 plans to choose from so come and learn French online with me!

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in 3 easy steps

 

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