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The French cult books

Literature, or especially reading, has an important place in the life of French people. It must be said that France has known very great authors Victor Hugo, Albert Camus or Marcel Pagnol, who have make the history of literature in France. Although we live in an era where digital technology takes over in many areas, one in two French people claims to read every day. Although in Europe France has the lowest average reading time, which amounts to 2 minutes per day, reading remains for many an essential source of entertainment and information. Head for the French favourite books!

We cannot deny that France has carried very great authors who have forged the History of Literature in France and to whom we owe this reputation as a literary country and who through their works have disseminated this image of romanticism and poetry of France. It is not for nothing that the French language is nicknamed "the language of Molière" all over the world. Indeed, these great authors whom we will never forget knew how to use language in such a way that their poetic words shared strong emotions with readers and also allowed, to a certain extent, to travel, they saw through the sentences of the authors, the landscapes and the cities that they could not see. These elements have made, and still do, the works of the authors of the time have become essential works, always studied in school. However, contemporary authors have taken up the torch well and some continue to use "the language of Molière" so that their works appeal universally by reflecting the social, political and geographical reality of the 21st century. Topics that vary but  the language always as interesting. What really appeals to French people in literature is the balance between the poetic and romantic French language and the accessibility to the understanding of this language for all.

Undoubtedly, the kind of book that appeals most to the French is the novel, of all kinds, they are read by 74% of French readers. Indeed, this is typically what French seeks in its reading, to get out of its daily life and to put himself in the shoes of a character during a story, whether it scares, makes people laugh or makes people think. What also pleases the French are the books of the art of living and travel, again that allow them to escape, to have the impression of traveling. They are read by 57% of readers. Finally, comics are also very successful in France, read by 51% of readers, it is a form of reading more accessible because more pictorial. Are included in the manga. 


Like cinema, literature has different purposes: to entertain, to make travel, to inform and to open the minds of readers. What the French really seek through their readings is to have access to places, stories, characters far from their reality. They love touching, strong stories that reflect the world they live in. We can indeed draw a parallel between the objective and the tastes of the French for cinema and for reading. 

Ready for a ranking of the 10 best French books? I'd rather warn you, they're all from the last century, but that doesn't mean that recent books aren't great, they just deserve to be read and better known. They are de 10 best sellers between year 2000 and year 2017. People say that they are books that represetn perfectly french literature and books which grow old the best.  

10 : " Paroles " by Jacques Prévert which dates from 1945.

9 : " En attendant Godo " (1952), by Samuel Beckett.

8: "L'Usage du monde" (1963) by Nicolas Bouvier.

7 : "The Twins Trilogy" (Le Grand Cahier, La Preuve, Le Troisième Mensonge, 1986-1991), by Agota Kristof,

6 : " Mémoires d'Hadrien " (1951) by Marguerite Yourcenar, 

5: "Belle du Seigneur" (1968) by Albert Cohen.

4: " Alcools " (1913), by Guillaume Apollinaire.

3 : : " L'Etranger " (1942), by Albert Camus,

2: "Voyage au bout de la nuit" (1932), by Louis-Ferdinand Céline,

1: "A la recherche du temps perdu" (1913-1927), by the famous Marcel Proust.


That's what keep you busy in a period of confinement! 

Victor Hugo said, "In  literature, the safest way to be right is to be dead." indeed, we have seen that the great French literary successes are often the work of a late author and the greatest French authors have become famous, often only after their death. Nevertheless, an ancient literary work still resonates today and its message goes through the ages.  Reading is a way to dream, to escape reality, to put yourself in the shoes of a character and to live another life but also to learn. Even if screens and social networks nowadays tend to take the place of books and newspapers by giving us access to people's lives with a click and bombarding us with information, nothing can ever replace the texture of a book, the smell of its paper or the sound of pages that turn between our fingers.