Okay, so I’ve been back home for a couple of weeks (still a few days left), the heat is slightly more bearable than in the polluted air of Paris, my allergies haven’t wasted time before kicking in since I’m surrounded by all this green (it all started barely a couple of hours after landing, I can get no respite !), and I get to see my precious books. I feel like divorced couples with kids must feel like, not being able to see their kids whenever they want …
Anyway, I thought I might take advantage of that and do a post about some of my favourite old books. Beware though, when I say old books, I mean books before I started reading in English, so all of them are in French, even if they’re translated from other languages.
Mon nez, mon chat, l’amour et moi (Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging) by Louise Rennison : Believe it or not but I’ve read this one for one of my French classes back when I was around 13. I had that awesome teacher who made several lists of books for each semester and you had to choose one book from each list. I think it’s unnecessary to mention that all the girls in my class (plus one guy) chose this book. I was a tiny teen, and Georgia Nicolson’s problems were very relatable. Of course, I didn’t have a super hot boyfriend named Robbie, but I could always dream. Yeah, teenage me was a sucker for teenage-books. I actually don’t own any of the Gossip Girl books, otherwise they would have been in the list too.
Bel-Ami by Maupassant : I’ve always liked classics, there’s just something that warms my soul when it comes to this sort of old-fashioned way of writing, and I’ve always had an easier time with old French books, than with more contemporary books, because they can’t make me feel a thing with their asepticised style. Anyway, Bel-Ami is the story of an ambitious man who starts with nothing, wants to have a high place in society and sleeps his way up the social ladder.
On n’est pas sérieux quand on a dix-sept ans (We’re not serious at seventeen) by Barbara Samson : This one really proves what a cheerful teen I was ! It’s the autobiography of a woman telling the story of her teenage years, how she struggled with different psychological problems, and ended up in therapy where she met a guy who had aids, and who didn’t bother to tell her until it was too late. The rest of the book focuses on her dealing with her condition, how her family started to treat her differently, how she had to deal with people’s opinions. Fourteen-year-old me loved this book and for years, I referred to this book as my absolute favourite.
THE GRAPHIC NOVELS
Joséphine by Pénélope Bagieu : Joséphine is awkward, thinks she’s too fat, and has tons of relationship problems, and in those volumes, you follow her story sort of like you follow episodes of FRIENDS : each little story can be seen as a stand-alone but it all connects in the end. It’s sort of everything I hate about graphic novels, which the fact that you can read everything in only an hour, even if the drawings are pretty, but Pénélope Bagieu had that awesome, funny and quirky blog I was following and it seemed like I had to buy her books.
De Mal En Pis (Box Office Poison) by Alex Robinson : This one was bought because of a rec video Pénélope Bagieu made where she recommended her favourite graphic novels of the month. I’m not exactly sure what the story is except for the fact that we follow a bunch of friends, including the main character with his crappy job and and his chase after this girl with relationship issues but who he thinks is perfect for him. Bought it in French because I thought the cover was prettier. I’m so shallow !
THE ONES I BOUGHT BUT NEVER READ/FINISHED
Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King : Bought at a market the first time I visited Paris. I didn’t want to leave without a book, and they were all so cheap ! Never read it, though.
Madame Bovary by Flaubert : This is one of the books that you constantly hear about when Literature is your major. I thought I would do the right thing, be a good student and finally read it, but unfortunately, it’s also one of those books you hear so much about that you already know the story without actually having to read a single page.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee : Everyone is raving about Harper Lee, what with her new book and all, and I’m just sitting here, completely unable to understand the hype. I tried to read this book but couldn’t go further than page 50 because it was just too much. I didn’t like the story, I didn’t like Scout, and the whole thing felt so stifling ! I’ve always blamed it on cultural difference, and the fact that the Southern American vibe just didn’t appeal to me at all, but I know it’s just a very flimsy excuse.
The missing one
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Saint-Exupéry : One book that should be on the list is The Little Prince. It’s definitely one of my favourite books but when I lent it to my brother, something horrible happened : he put it in his backpack and left it outside and went off with his friends. Unfortunately, it rained a lot that day and my book (and all the contents of the backpack, but MY BOOK !), was completely drenched. Looking back, I should have kept it even though some pages weren’t stuck to the cover anymore, because it would have dried ! I wasn’t big enough to rebel against parental authority yet.