WHAT BOOKS A FOREIGN STUDENTS MUST READ?I'm Starting a class teaching English speaking literature to 16- yr-olds French students in France. I want to enlarge our English books shelves and make them...


I'm Starting a class teaching English speaking literature to 16- yr-olds French students in France. I want to enlarge our English books shelves and make them read AMAP.

What books/ authors would you have in mind?

Would you know of specific general books to give them an outlook on literature (history of lit. / Criticisms...)?

Thanks a lot for answering.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps a great bridge between English and French would be the reading of Charles Dickens's great classic A Tale of Two Cities which draws many a parallel between the the conditions in London and those in Paris.  Set at the time of the French Revolution, the novel would afford the French students to complement the historical setting by providing their input.

Another interesting novel that has the French Revolution as its setting is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a Romantic novel which involves a Englishman who disguises himself in order to save aristocrats from the guillotine.

And, perhaps the students would be intrigued with reading the English versions of Alexandre Dumas's novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo [there is a good abridged edition] and The Man in the Iron Mask.  These may be easier to read than Dickens's novel.

As already mentioned, Maupassant's stories as translated into English may afford opportunities for discussion of the differences in the languages.  Two good stories are "The Piece of String," "Boule de Suif," "The Necklace," and "Legend of Mont St. Michel."

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the above posts...teach a selection of classic literature from France and Europe, along with classics from America.  You might avoid studying works in translation if the pieces are available and your students are able to read both French and English equally well.  Something is always lost in translation from the original language.

If I were you, I would check the internet for a list of the 100 best books/works students who are college-bound should read, and work through them as a class and individually as best you can.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Following up on the comment in the previous post - if your students are really sharp or if someone is looking for extra practice and/or credit, have them read and compare the same work in French and in English. Analyzing how differences in translations change the meaning of the text could be interesting and educational, particularly if your students are becoming so comfortable with English that they are beginning to be complacent about really understanding and applying specific connotations to word meanings.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that the students you will be teaching are primarily native French speakers. If so, I think it would be entirely appropriate for them to read some of their native classics in English; Dumas and de Maupassant immediately come to mind. I would probably add a mix of classic American and British literature and criticism to that. I would also suggest examples of literature with a French connection (ex: The Sun Also Rises, "The Cask of Amontillado").

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you need to consider novels that are written for young adults in English.  English/American classics such as To Kill a Mockinbird, Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, The Giver, Animal Farm, The Outsiders, etc. are a good start.  There are some very popular young adult series, such as The Hunger Games series, that might also interest your students.  All of the these novels have universal themes that should appeal to a lot of students.