One Hundred Great French Books: From the Middle Ages to the Present, by Lance Donaldson-Evans – Book Review

American Literature has such a variety of names from different backgrounds that a lot of the time it is hard for me to know what’s what and where the author was born just by seeing their name on a book.  I am also not that diligent about looking up that type of information.  Sometimes curiosity will get the better of me and I look it up, but often times, not.  One Hundred Great French Books was a real treat for me because I got a nice overview of French books, and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of authors I have heard of and even read, and even more pleased with the mini-lessons of French history that I received.

Donaldson-Evans masterfully sums up the main points of the books he discusses and also provides a brief biography of each author with highlights and turning points in their lives that were contributing factors in the books that they wrote.  I am so in awe of the information that he is able to distill in just two brief pages per work.  He never goes over  that amount.  It is amazing, and yet I learned so much.  The works selected run the gamut from detective novels and science fiction to the classic works of literature and philosophy.  Donaldson-Evans manages to find the juiciest bits about each person and book he writes about.  You can easily use this as a reference for a deeper understanding of works that you have already read or a brief overview of those you have yet to read.

I enjoyed learning more about Jules Vernes, Simone de Beauvoir, Rene Descarte, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maryse Conde – to name a few.  If you are at all interested in French history and literature this book is sure to delight.

Highly recommended.

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Book Information: One Hundred Great French Books: From the Middle Ages to the Present, by Lance Donaldson-Evans
Publisher, Publication Date & Other Info: Bluebridge – March 1, 2010 – Trade Paperback – 240 pages

Source: Review Copy Provided for Review

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    1. It’s good for the history and all the fun little details that pop up about the books. Not surprisingly I was familiar with a lot more of the classic authors than the modern ones. Beyond Camus, Conde, and de Beauvoir, I hadn’t heard of any of them. I bet we would come up with similar numbers.

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Lately I’ve been really interested in French literature, especially since the Zola tour on the Classics Circuit. My knowledge of French writers is pretty limited — I think I’ve only ever read Camus, Voltaire, and now Zola. My library has a copy of this book so I’ve requested it. I wouldn’t have heard of it except for review, so thanks!

    1. I’m glad that this is coming in handy for you. I was shocked by how many I had heard of. Of course it is no more than 15 or 20 out of the hundred but it’s a good 10 or 15 more than I expected. Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I love books like this; learning about books I should read is almost as much fun as reading them. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. This kind of book is really right up my alley. I love reading about what prompted author’s to write and how their experiences contributed to the books they wrote….it just makes reading their books so much more fulfilling.

  4. This sounds like it would open up a lot of doors for future reading. French and Russian literature are something that I don’t know enough about.