Archive for December 25, 2011

Joyeux Noël!

December 25, 2011 22 comments

I wish a Merry Christmas to anyone who would intentionally or not land on this blog entry.

 Joyeux Noël à tous.

I hope you’re spending a really nice time for this special moment of the year.

This Christmas is a little bit special to me as Guy and I have decided to give each other virtual gifts. Of course, being both frantic readers, the gifts are books and we’ll read each other’s presents in January. So, now Guy’s discovering with you the four books I selected for him. The challenge was to find books he hadn’t read –forget about 19th Century literature of any Western country, too risky— and that were available in English. (Why, oh why, are most of the French books I imagined giving him either OOP or not translated?) Here is the selection:

Book #1 (Crime fiction): La fée carabine by Daniel Pennac 1987 English title: The Fairy Gunmother

This novel is one of the Malaussène series that Daniel Pennac wrote in 1980s. I’ve read the whole series; they were funny, different, bizarre and gripping. You get attached to the Malaussène family, totally weird, totally moving. Plus the plot is engrossing. A real page turner.

Book #2 (Novel): Le gone du Chaaba by Azouz Begag 1986 English title: Shantytown Kid

Born in 1957, Azouz Begag is French from Algerian parents. He’s a pure product of the French school system. As a kid he lived in a shantytown in the suburbs of Lyon. He went to university, was a brilliant student, started a career as researcher and was even a minister in the first Sarkozy government. Le gone du Chaaba relates his childhood. “Gone” is a word from Lyon to say “Kid”. Don’t use that word anywhere else in France, a gone is a kid from Lyon, that’s it. “Chaaba” was the name of the shantytown.

Book #3 (Theatre): Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard by Marivaux 1730 English title: A Game of Love and Chance

I love this play; I’ve seen it several times. I chose it because it’s typical from the French “esprit” and because it has a wonderful film version, L’Esquive by Abdellatif Kechiche. As Guy loves film-book connection, I wanted to choose at least one book he could then watch. The play is available for free on the kindle.

Book#4 (Comedy): Les carnets du Major Thompson by Pierre Daninos 1954 English title: The Notebooks of Major Thompson

The Major Thompson is a retiree from the British army who served in India before decolonization. He’s now living in France with his French wife. The book consists in the fictional notebooks of this British citizen dealing with the French mores. In 1955, Preston Sturges made it into a film entitled The French, They Are a Funny Race. Personally, this book makes me rock with laughter and I hope Guy will have a lot of fun reading it too. Plus, as Guy’s a British living in a foreign country and I’m French, I thought it was a funny idea.

Voilà. That’s my selection.

Guy, I hope you’ll have a nice time reading these books. I suppose you won’t mind some company, so, if you, reader, are interested in reading one of them, feel free and paste the link to your review in the comment section. I’ll be happy to read the reviews.

PS: A big thank you to my son for the drawing.




Categories: Personal Posts
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