For me, summer is the best time to read those books you are always saving for later. Yes, we are talking about that 700-page long novel or that classic you bought years ago thinking it was about time you discovered it. Well, it’s happening now. Grab your beach towel, your beach chair, your beach drink and your beach book. The water is too cold in Massachusetts for swimming anyway. And if you don’t know what to read, here are a few recommendations.

Reading Room

À la recherche du temps perdu, by Marcel Proust, is the ultimate summer reading. It’s over 2,400 pages long, deals with almost every subject in life and takes months to finish. You may be afraid of it. In a way, you should be. The sentences are endless, twisted, and it’s a real effort to read it. The experience, though, is unforgettable. It’s like reading Joyce, Thomas Mann or David Foster Wallace; it’s unique and will haunt you forever wishing there was another book like this (there isn’t).

On a lighter note, you could read Bonjour Tristesse, by Françoise Sagan. Scandalous when it was released in 1954 because it was written by a 17-year-old, this novel about love and becoming an adult is full of melancholy and recklessness. A true French classic!

Also in the Reading Room: Les Impatientes, by Djaïli Amadou Amal (we will be reading this book for Le club des lecteurs in July, feel free to join us); Les envolés, by Étienne Kern (we will be reading this book for Le club des lecteurs in August); Sur la dalle, by Fred Vargas; La mariée portait des bottes jaunes, by Katherine Pancol; Reste, by Adeline Dieudonné.

Salle Prévost

In the graphic novel section, we have the first two volumes of a series on the French Revolution entitled... Révolution. Liberté (vol. 1) and Égalité (vol. 2) offer an ambitious, well-documented account of this turning point in French history. The drawings are magnificent, and they add context for looking back and reflecting on what we owe to that era.

Instead of reading, you can also plan your next trip to France. We have a wide selection of travel books (Guide Vert, Michelin, Routard, Lonely Planet) for Paris and most French regions. Feel free to browse them, borrow them or dream with them about the time you were/will be in Paris, along the Seine, getting insulted by a Parisian for walking too slowly in the middle of the street.

Also in Salle Prévost: On va déguster Paris, by François-Régis Gaudry; Monet - Mitchell (exhibition catalog); Jean Cocteau & Jean Marais - Les choses sérieuses, by Isabelle Bauthian.

Le Salon

Have you ever wondered whether we are alone in the universe? You may find the answer in À l’aube de nouveaux horizons, by Nathalie A. Cabrol. As director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, she knows. With 300 million exoplanets in our galaxy's habitable zone, thinking we are alone is "statistical nonsense” according to Cabrol...

Let’s end this selection with an easy read for everyone. The art of the short story is one of the most difficult to master in the literary landscape. Not everyone can be Hemingway who, allegedly, wrote this famous six-word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”. In Nouvelles en trois lignes, Felix Fénéon recounts the dramas of everyday life in fewer characters than on Twitter. It’s cynical, ironic, a bit cruel, but perfect to improve your French reading.

Also in le Salon: Féminisme & Pop Culture, by Jennifer Padjemi; Bleu, Histoire d’une couleurby Michel Pastoureau.

Children's section

After Ariol and Anatole Latuile, the children's new favorite series has arrived at the French Library. We have the first six volumes of Prehistoric Rick.

Phénoménal is the one to pick to foster your kid’s curiosity. With breathtaking illustrations, this book will help them understand extraordinary natural phenomena and bring them one step closer to graduating from MIT. No pressure.

They can also read an adorable story of friendship between a boy and a dog entitled Clovis & Oups (we have three volumes of this one).

What are the books you are planning to read this summer? Visit us at the library to let us know and borrow the ones from this list.

Benoit Landon

Librarian

After studying journalism in France, Benoit began his career in Paris where he lived and worked for over a decade. In 2018, he crossed the Atlantic for a research project on a typewriter he bought at a flea market. He ended up in Hartford, Connecticut, where he met his wife by accident. Many administrative forms later, he settled in Greater Boston. As an avid reader, Benoit is delighted to be surrounded by books and to stay in touch with the French culture he loves. Come say hello at the circulation desk!

See All Posts

Related Posts

What Are Your Favorite French Words?

Words have always fascinated me. As I went on to learn new languages, it became even clearer, and I was more and more curious about…

Read More

Typewriters are not done with us yet!

If you look in your dusty basement or a long-forgotten closet, you might find a typewriter which has been lying there for years. Otherwise, ask…

Read More

Spring: beginnings and endings

Spring—or, more specifically, that first day when you open the window in your office and the smell of blooming magnolias is carried in on the…

Read More

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 29, 2023 2:00 PM To 3:00 PM

Seeking opportunities to speak French? Join us online for our popular members-only conversation gathering.

Read More
Friday, September 29, 2023 6:30 PM To 8:00 PM

The French Library is pleased to welcome Lebanese author, Joseph Kai for a discussion of his latest book: Restless (English translation of L’Intranquille). We will dive into Joseph’s own story based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Read More
Story Time

L'Heure du Conte

French story time!

Saturday, September 30, 2023 11:30 AM To 12:00 PM

We invite parents and children to gather in the children's room of our library for a magical story time in French!

Read More