Beginner Level French Books:

If you are a beginner in French, I recommend reading fairly simple and short books. Here are some books that can help you improve your beginner level French. 


"Été 80" by Marguerite Duras:

This is a collection of articles written by Marguerite Duras for a French newspaper during the summer of 1980. It's very short and discusses everyday life topics, so it can enhance your understanding of everyday French.


"Le Petit Nicolas" by René Goscinny:

Le Petit Nicolas is a series of short stories about a boy named Nicolas. The language is simple and accessible, and it provides good reading practice in French for beginners.


"Kamo, the Babel Agency" by Daniel Pennac:

This is a series of adventure books for young readers, but very accessible for adults learning French. The book uses simple vocabulary and provides an excellent training ground for understanding complex sentences.


"35 Kilos of Hope" by Anna Gavalda:

The story follows a young boy who struggles at school and the deep bond he has with his grandfather. The vocabulary is simple, and reading will help understand tone and context.


"The Little Girl of Mr. Linh" by Philippe Claudel:

L'histoire suit un réfugié qui s'occupe de sa petite-fille. C’est un livres très émouvant et beau. La narration simple offre une excellente occasion de pratiquer la lecture.


"Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran" par Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt :

This is the story of the friendship between a Jewish boy and an old Muslim grocer. The vocabulary and grammar are simple, making it an excellent introduction to French literature.


"Mitterrand's Hat" by Antoine Laurain:

The book follows several characters who find President Mitterrand's hat. The style is simple and direct, which can help understand everyday French.


"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery:

The novel follows the lives of two very different characters living in the same apartment building in Paris. The vocabulary is a bit more advanced, but very accessible which can help improve your understanding of French.


"The Mystery of Henri Pick" by David Foenkinos:

A publisher finds an extraordinary manuscript in a Breton library and a thrilling adventure begins. The style is simple, with common vocabulary, and will help you understand the structure of the story.



Books in French for intermediate level:

If you have an intermediate level in French, it's very interesting to include reading in your French routine. Here are some books to do so.

"Fear and Trembling" by Amélie Nothomb:

The story follows a young woman working in Japan. The vocabulary is a bit more complex, offering a good opportunity to improve your French.


"The Stranger" by Albert Camus :

The novel follows a man who commits a murder under the Algerian sun. The French used in this book is common, therefore perfect for the intermediate level.


"The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair" by Joël Dicker :

An author investigates the murder of a 15-year-old girl. The novel is written in modern French and can help understand everyday language.


"No and Me" by Delphine de Vigan :

The story follows a young girl who befriends a homeless woman. The language used is everyday life with a bit of slang.


"A Secret" by Philippe Grimbert:

The story of a Jewish family during the Second World War. A very beautiful and moving story.


"The Secret Life of Writers" by Guillaume Musso:

The book tells the story of a successful writer who mysteriously disappeared after the publication of his third novel. Musso uses a rich and varied vocabulary, which provides an opportunity to enrich your knowledge of French, particularly in terms of mystery and intrigue.


"Together, That's All" by Anna Gavalda:

The novel follows the life of four very different people living together. You will learn everyday life vocabulary, perfect for the intermediate level.


"The Elementary Particles" by Michel Houellebecq :

A novel that explores the lives of two half-brothers. The vocabulary is a bit more complex, but a great challenge for intermediate level.


"An Evening at the Club" by Christian Gailly :

A jazz pianist tries to resume his career. The language is direct and very understandable, offering good reading practice.


"The Loyalties" by Delphine de Vigan :

The story follows four characters and their personal and emotional struggles. De Vigan uses a rich emotional vocabulary, which can help to understand how to express complex feelings and emotions in French.


"The Braid" by Laetitia Colombani :

This novel follows the parallel lives of three women from three different continents. Laetitia Colombani uses descriptive language to illustrate the different cultures, which can help to develop a more nuanced understanding of French.


"Three Days and a Life" by Pierre Lemaitre :

A novel that follows a boy who hides a terrible secret. A perfect book for this summer.


"The squirrels in Central Park are sad on Monday" by Katherine Pancol :

The story follows the life of three women in New York. A very popular and beautiful book, perfect for you.


"The girl of paper" by Guillaume Musso :

The novel follows the story of Tom Boyd, a famous writer who is suffering from writer's block, who finds himself face to face with a young woman named Billie who claims to be a character straight out of his novels. This book offers a captivating reading experience with a mix of reality and fiction, and uses a rich and varied vocabulary. It is an excellent option for those looking to expand their vocabulary in French, while enjoying a mysterious and fantastic plot.


"Tomorrow I'm stopping" by Gilles Legardinier :

Julie, a clumsy and funny young woman, falls in love with her neighbor because of his strange name. The humorous writing style and everyday vocabulary are perfect to help you improve your everyday French and understand French humor. Furthermore, I highly recommend all the books by Gilles Legardinier, who is one of my favorite French authors.


"Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One" by Raphaëlle Giordano:

Camille, stuck in a routine, meets a routinologist who helps her change her life. The language is simple and current, providing good reading practice to understand modern French.


Marc Levy, "If Only It Were True...":

A romantic and fantastical novel about a man who falls in love with a woman whose spirit inhabits his apartment. Levy's style is accessible, with everyday vocabulary and clear narration, which is great for improving French comprehension.



Advanced French books:

If you have an advanced level in French, you have an immense choice of books to read. Here are the ones I recommend. 

"The Man Who Wanted to Be Happy" by Laurent Gounelle:

A teacher goes on a trip to Bali and meets a healer. The dialogues and descriptions will help you improve your understanding of conversational French. I also recommend all the books by Laurent Gounelle, they are very beautiful books, well written.


"The Kindly Ones" by Jonathan Littell :

The story of a Nazi officer during the Second World War. The novel uses complex language and a complex narrative structure. A beautiful challenge for the advanced level.


"Small Country" by Gaël Faye :

It's a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a boy growing up in Burundi during the civil war. Faye's specific vocabulary and vivid descriptions can help improve your understanding of French and its use to express intense events and feelings.


"Based on a True Story" by Delphine de Vigan:

A novel that follows a writer plagued by writer's block. The vocabulary is more complex, offering good reading practice.


"And Afterwards..." by Guillaume Musso:

A thrilling novel about a man who has the power to see the dead. Musso's captivating style and rich vocabulary will help you to strengthen your mastery of French, particularly in the area of suspense and mystery.


"La Fontaine's Fables" by Jean de La Fontaine:

A collection of famous classic fables. The vocabulary is more advanced and older, but it remains understandable.


"Au revoir là-haut" by Pierre Lemaitre :

A novel that follows two soldiers during World War I.


"The Map and the Territory" by Michel Houellebecq :

A novel that follows a contemporary artist. This is a book that received the Goncourt Prize, a very popular literary prize in France.


"Lullaby" by Leïla Slimani :


A novel that follows a nanny who commits a terrible crime. This novel is highly recognized, as it also received a Goncourt Prize.


"Serotonin" by Michel Houellebecq:

A depressed agronomist examines his life and relationships.


"Love Lasts Three Years" by Frédéric Beigbeder:

The story follows a man who cannot stay in love for more than three years.


"Nothing Holds Back the Night" by Delphine de Vigan:

This is a novel that explores the complexity of family relationships and painful memories. Its rich and descriptive writing style can help develop a more nuanced understanding of French, particularly vocabulary related to emotions and interpersonal relationships.


"Alex" by Pierre Lemaitre:

It's an intense thriller following the abduction of a woman.


"Delicacy" by David Foenkinos:

This novel follows a woman who finds love again after losing her husband.


"Consent" by Vanessa Springora:

This book is an autobiographical account by the author about her experience of sexual abuse by a famous writer. Springora's specific vocabulary and intense emotional descriptions can help improve your understanding of French, especially how to express traumatic experiences.


"The Possibility of an Island" by Michel Houellebecq:

This is a dystopia exploring life, love, and death through the story of a comedian and his future clones. Houellebecq's writing style and philosophical vocabulary can greatly contribute to deepening your mastery of French.


"Vernon Subutex" (trilogy) by Virginie Despentes:

This trilogy follows the story of Vernon Subutex, a record store owner who becomes homeless. The books use very contemporary language and often reference popular culture, which can help in understanding French as it is spoken today.


"The Flowers of Evil" by Charles Baudelaire:

This is a collection of poems that explores many dark themes. Baudelaire's poetic vocabulary and complex grammatical structures offer an excellent opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of French.


"Perfumes" by Philippe Claudel:

This book is a collection of short autobiographical texts, each associated with a specific scent. Claudel's descriptive vocabulary and poetic writing can help you develop your ability to express complex concepts and feelings in French.


"Extension of the Domain of the Struggle" by Michel Houellebecq :

This novel follows a computer engineer in modern society. Houellebecq's complex vocabulary and often cynical tone can help develop a more nuanced understanding of French.


"Belle du Seigneur" by Albert Cohen:

This is a story of a tragic and passionate love affair between a senior official of the League of Nations and the wife of one of his subordinates. Cohen's lyrical prose and rich vocabulary provide an excellent opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of French.


"The Order of the Day" by Éric Vuillard:

This historical novel examines the events leading up to the Anschluss. Vuillard's dense writing and specific historical vocabulary can help develop a better understanding of French.


"Platform" by Michel Houellebecq:

This novel follows a man who works in the tourism industry.


"Life Ahead" by Romain Gary:

The book follows a young Muslim boy raised by a former Jewish prostitute. Gary's mix of comedy and tragedy, as well as his use of Parisian slang, can help develop a more nuanced understanding of French.