Tuesday, July 20, 2021

French Books* You Can Read in One Sitting That Might Change Your Life

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. 60 pgs. Play.

"The play begins with three characters who find themselves waiting in a mysterious room. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity."

Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan. 154 pgs. Fiction.

"Set against the translucent beauty of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesse is a bittersweet tale narrated by Cecile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences."

In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano. 160 pgs. Fiction.

"Four narrators---a student from a café, a private detective hired by an aggrieved husband, the heroine herself and one of her lovers---construct a portrait of Jacqueline Delanque, otherwise known as Louki."

Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A. J. Liebling. 185 pgs. Nonfiction.

"New Yorker staff writer A.J. Liebling recalls his Parisian apprenticeship in the fine art of eating in this charming memoir."

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. 189 pgs. Fiction.

"A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates."

The Lover by Marguerite Dumas. 117 pgs. Fiction.

"The Lover is a story told by Hélène Lagonelle, a French woman looking back on her life in Indochina (now Vietnam) and, in particular, the romance she had with a wealthy Chinese man in 1929 when she was just 15."

The Waitress Was New by Dominique Fabre. 117 pgs. Fiction. 

"Pierre is a veteran bartender in a café in the outskirts of Paris. He observes his customers as they come and go – the young man who drinks beer as he reads Primo Levi, the fellow who from time to time strips down and plunges into the nearby Seine, the few regulars who eat and drink there on credit – sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesn’t look outside more than necessary; he prefers to let the world come to him. Soon, however, the café must close its doors, and Pierre finds himself at a loss."

Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans. 32 pgs. Picture book.

"Madeline is one of the best-loved characters in children's literature. Set in picturesque Paris, this tale of a brave little girl's trip to the hospital was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1940."

750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé. 120 pgs. Nonfiction picture book.

"750 Years focuses on one single building in France as it sees its way through the upheavals of history."

Forever Paris: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of the City's Most Illustrious Figures. 108 pgs. Nonfiction.

"Take a stroll through Édith Piaf's Belleville, dine at Napoléon's favorite restaurant, and explore the late-night haunts of Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Pablo Picasso. From the author of the best-selling City Walks: Paris deck, this lively collection of walking adventures follows in the footsteps of more than 25 of the city's iconic former residents."

Ooh-la-la! Max in Love by Maira Kalman. 32 pgs. Picture book.

"Max the dog-poet is back, this time in Paris and falling in love, in Maira Kalman's delightful picture book."

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 123 pgs. Fiction.

"The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep."

And, okay, no, you cannot read it in one sitting, but it's definitely a potential life-changer...Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. 1,463 pages. Fiction.

*Reminder that we are using a very, very loose definition of French books here. Better word: French-ish. See Why I Love French-ish Books post for more information.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. A definite yes to The Little Prince! I've actually read it in one sitting as well. But it didn't make my list. Such a lovely, lovely little book about a prince who fell in love with a rose. Love it!

    Elza Reads - Ten one sitting reads

  2. What a fun take on the topic! Here's one more The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel My review if interested (no pressure to click or read--ignore it at will) https://hopewellslibraryoflife.wordpress.com/2019/12/20/review-the-641-to-paris-by-jean-philippe-blondel/

  3. What a nice assortment of books set in Paris. Aww Madeleine - who doesn't love her?

  4. Great list of books! I remember reading Madeleine as a child, and though I grew up in the US, watching the show in French (the perk of living 90 minutes outside of Montreal). I read The Sun Also Rises in high school. While I don't remember much about it, I did try to convince my husband to name our youngest daughter Brett. That didn't happen, but she still has a bookish name, one that not most people pick up on.

    If you get the chance, here's my TTT post: https://readbakecreate.com/10-books-with-the-word-day/

  5. Ha ha. I read a lot of books in one sitting, but I don't think even I could manage LES MIS. LOL.

    Happy TTT!

  6. I can see where some of these could. "make a difference."
    Enjoy your reads as you Continue to navigate Paris in July.

  7. I've read Le petit prince, Huis clos, and Madeline in one sitting. The others, I will have to check out! Great list. :) Here's my Top Ten Tuesday list!

  8. Some titles I’ve heard of but some not so, out comes my notebook to add to my To-Read list! I see quite a few I’d enjoy.

  9. That's a fabulous list, no matter what the reading time. I really need to read or reread some of those!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  10. You're really doing a great Paris in July. Love your list.

    My TTT.

  11. Thank you for this list. Sounds very good. I have read a few of them, and the others sounds really interesting as well. Especially 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé. That is a must read for me. I hope I will find it somewhere.

  12. I love that you've kept your Paris in July theme going for TTT! I have only read The Little Prince and Madeline from the list, but enjoyed both.

  13. What a great list and I love that they are shorter books too so you can get more read for Paris in July! I need to take note of these and really should re-read The Little Prince. I need that one for my keeper shelf!

  14. Excellent list. They all sound intriguing!

  15. Again, some new titles for me to add to my TBR list... Between Meals is calling to me sooner rather than later. I dont think I've read a foody book for a little while. Thanks for sharing. (ps - i never read anything in one sitting, so I envy those who can).

  16. There are a couple on this list which caught my eye! Ihave a little time this weekend. Maybe I will give one a go!

  17. I am such a slow reader that I think the only one I can read in one sitting is Madeleine. ;) Still, what a lovely collection you have curated for us!

  18. I am such a slow reader that I think the only one I can read in one sitting is Madeleine. ;) Still, what a lovely collection you have curated for us!

  19. I am such a slow reader that I think the only one I can read in one sitting is Madeleine. ;) Still, what a lovely collection you have curated for us! p.s. I loved Wind, Sand and Stars, which I see you are “currently reading”. ☺️

  20. I am such a slow reader that I think the only one I can read in one sitting is Madeleine. ;) Still, what a lovely collection you have curated for us! p.s. I loved Wind, Sand and Stars, which I see you are “currently reading”. ☺️

  21. Ah, Les Mis...definitely not a one-sitting book, but wonderful just the same.

  22. i love Madeline. I am reading that MFK Fisher book atm too!


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