MyFrenchLife – MaVieFrancaise #bookclub – 2019 UPDATED

Autumn 2019 reading

MyFrenchLife – MaVieFrançaise #BOOKCLUB is back (after our summer break)  with two recently-translated French authors.

Two books – simultaneous discussion

We are maintaining two simultaneous discussions as we read this year’s book 4 ‘Lie with Me‘ / Arrête tes Mensonges by Philippe Besson) and/or book 5 ‘A Summer with Montaigne’/ Un Eté avec Montaigne by Antoine Compagnon) (or both!)

    • Lie with Me’ is a coming-of-age story by best-selling author Philippe Besson which was first published in January 2017 in France and was just translated by actress and writer Molly Ringwald. Philippe Besson also followed Emmanuel Macron during the 2017 presidential campaign and wrote a book about this experience ‘Un Personnage de Roman’.
      *** You can click through to follow the discussion here.  (without needing to be a member of our bookclub or our facebook groups)
    • A Summer with Montaigne’ was inspired by Professeur at Collège de France Antoine Compagnon’s podcasts on #FranceCulture which had a big audience and success. It’s a wonderful and pleasant way to discover the French Renaissance philosopher.
      *** You can click through to follow the discussion here. (without needing to be a member of our bookclub or our facebook groups)

So are you in?

I am facilitating our bookclub discussion and look forward to reading your comments!

  • Discussions are taking place in our new closed ‘sub-group’ MyFrenchLife™ bookchat and will have hashtag #bookclub.
  • We also encourage you to share your thoughts below as you read.
  • Let us know in the comments below if you are reading with us and/or if you’d like an invitation to our closed sub-group MyFrenchLife™ bookchat.

Update – September 17, 2019

Lie with me – Arrête avec tes mensonges by Philippe Besson

Who is reading or intends to read this book?

  • Here are a few grabbers before or while you are reading:
    • It’s, in fact, a novella rather than a novel since it’s only 150 pages long on the kindle edition. A very contemporary French genre?
    • Surprisingly, the English title is better than the French one.
    • It‘s a coming of age story and a coming out as it’s often presented but I found it was more than that.
  • The story takes place almost entirely in 1984.
    If you were born then, do you remember the music, the novels, the movies, the politics in your country at this time? there are lots of references in the story.
  • The narrative is peppered with many French cultural references, expressions of the ‘school’ lexical field which are not necessarily translated.
    What’s your opinion about that? should the translator add a footnote? Share your comments below

Update – October 5, 2019


Lie with me – Arrête avec tes mensonges by Philippe Besson

  1. I read the book on the Kindle English edition and was amused and intrigued when on p.85 and 86, Philippe Besson beats around the bush to find the right word to express his feelings for Thomas when the truth of it is that it’s simply ‘to be in love‘.He lists the following expressions: to be smitten, infatuated, obsessed, seduced, taken with, blinded, disturbed.
  2. I have a question for members who read the French original version.
    What are the corresponding French expressions?
  3. And do you have a favorite quote from the book? Here’s mine (p.77) :
"This passion that cant be talked about, that has to be concealed, gives way to the terrible question: if it isnt talked about, how can one know that it really exists?"

Update – October 24, 2019

A Summer with Montaigne – Un été avec Montaigne by Antoine Compagnon

Who is reading or intends to read this book?

‘A Summer with Montaigne’ was published after a French podcast that was recorded on French radio ‘France Inter’ in the Summer of 2012. It highlights both the life and work of Michel de Montaigne, the most important French writer of the sixteenth century. Montaigne was a Magistrate when he resigned from his office to devote himself to his library. From his readings and his reflections, he gradually wrote a journal of a man in search of wisdom, ‘Les Essais’.  In it, not only does he describe himself fully but he also shows the powerlessness of man to find truth and justice.

Antoine Compagnon, the author of these chronicles, is a writer and essayist. He is a Professor of French Literature at Collège de France, Paris, and the Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York. He is also a specialist of Marcel Proust and has taught many courses on his work. 

Member discussion – click to read member discussions

  • Where is the discussion?
    In order to bring yourself up to date and/or as a reminder of discussions about
    – ‘Lie with me’/ ‘Arrête avec tes mensonges #bookclub – click through to enjoy – then add your comments either below in the comments or in #bookchat.
    ‘A Summer with Montaigne’/ Un été avec Montaigne  – #bookclub – click through to enjoy – then add your comments either below in the comments or in #bookchat.

About the Contributor

Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier

After teaching for 20 years abroad, I mostly live now in Paris, where I feel both like a native and an expat. I enjoy being part of My French Life™ as it makes my life in Paris even more meaningful and special. I have a passion for literature and movies. I share my thoughts in my blog and on twitter.”

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  1. Antje Oct 10, 2019 at 3:31 PM - Reply

    I’m much of the way through A Summer with Montaigne and am enjoying it immensely. Anybody else almost done?

    • Judy MacMahon Oct 11, 2019 at 10:02 AM - Reply

      bonjour Antje, unfortunately, I’m reading out of order as I’m still waiting on my copy of A summer with Montaigne’ from the library… In the interim, I’ve read ‘The Cook’ and loved it but I’ll hold off my comments until November. I can’t wait to get my hands on ‘Montaigne’ is it a novella too?

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