Have you been learning French and feel ready to open a French book? Are you an adult French learner looking for a good book and have no idea what would be the best book or best author to begin with? Have you tried to read a French book in the past, but gave up after a couple of pages?
It takes effort and concentration to go through a whole book, so you may as well pick a book that matches your needs, interests, and your level.
Hopefully, these next couple of French books, appropriate for adult learners, will help you start your reading journey surely and smoothly. Remember to start easy, one page at a time!
Easy French Books to Fit Your Learning Style
1. Comics top pics:
- The adventures of Tintin (Hergé)
- Asterix (Goscinny and Uderzo)
- Lucky Luke (Morris and Goscinny)
- Les Schtroumps (Peyo)
- Titeuf (Zep)
One would think that Comics are made for children because they are mostly pictures and graphics. And yet, they’re for adults as much as for children.
The images and scenery will help you understand and solidify the meaning of the French words. They also use spoken French language rather than written language; even though comics do have some narration in them, they are mainly dialogues between characters. It is a great way to get familiar with verbal expressions and slang before traveling to a Francophone country.
Finally, comics are short, dynamic, and entertaining. The layout of a comic book is very lively. Bubbles in different places, different sizes of words, colors, and drawings will keep your brain stimulated and amused throughout the whole book. Great for visual learners!
2. Short stories and tales top pics
- Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint Exupery)
- Le petit Nicolas ( Goscinny)
- Les malheurs de Sophie ( La Comtesse de Ségur)
- Fables de la Fontaine (Jean de La Fontaine)
- Les Contes de Perrault
- C’est l’heure des contes (Gérard Jugnot; Review of Perrault, La Fontaine, and Grimm’s tales in the light of our time, with a touch of humor, and a delicious but biting truthfulness.)
Short stories, tales, and fables are a combination of narration and dialogues, which also makes reading more entertaining than a pure novel. It introduces a more literary language with dialogue that’s a bit more proper than the slang commonly found in comic books. The syntax, grammar, and vocabulary are still simple and ideal for newcomers, or for those looking for light reading.
Lastly, short stories are short! Thus, not overwhelming. They are a very achievable goal and an excellent step to take before getting yourself into a novel.
3. Must-read Classic novels and authors top pics
- l’étranger ( Albert Camus)
- Les Jeux sont faits ( Jean-Paul Sartre)
- L’écume des jours ( Boris Vian)
- Le Grand Meaulnes ( Alain Fournier)
Most of them, written during the 20th century, are part of the French literary culture. They use advanced syntax, grammar, and vocabulary, perfect if you would like to improve and move up a level.
They expose philosophical and profound subjects. You may learn as much French as life lessons in these books!
4. English books translated in French top pics:
- Harry Potter ( J.K. Rowling)
- The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ( Robert Louis Stevenson)
- Agatha Christie Novels
The advantage of choosing an English book translated into French is that you read it in English (or your native language) and already know the story!
Additional tips for facilitating your reading experience:
- Get the book in French as well as the audiobook. Listening to the audiobook as you have the text in front of your eyes is an exciting exercise to train your pronunciation.
- Know the story before you read it. Watch the movie in English with French subtitles, or read the story in your native language.
- Have a dictionary handy. Read the whole page of your book first and then look up the words you really need; don’t try to translate every word. You may not understand everything you read and that is ok!
- Do not hesitate to write and take notes on your book itself, use sticky notes, highlighters (or on the side if you are self-conscious about keeping your books neat like I do!) make it a project, not just a simple reading like you would read a book in your native language. The goal is to notice grammar, syntax, and vocabulary whenever it is interesting to you.
- Pick a book written in both languages. Some books are made specifically for French learners with the translation of paragraphs side by side, and it is maybe what you need before diving into full French books.
- Don’t get discouraged as will likely happen at some point. Learning a language is a journey, not a destination!
Good luck, and congratulations on taking on this brave but rewarding journey. You can do it!