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

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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