French books, language resources and films

  • Books are shelved by subject rather than language, so you may need to use various sections of the JHBB Library for your French course.

    French Studies: an introductory guide to finding information (PDF guide) shows you how to find reading lists, print and e-books, and also gives details of useful sections of the library for French Studies.

    If you want to find books to help you with study skills, take a look at this online list of Modern Languages study skills resources. It includes topics such as: writing academic essays; spelling, punctuation and grammar; exam preparation and technique; undertaking dissertations and research projects.  

  • Books and other resources for learning French are shelved on Level 2 of the Library, in Zone E (silent study area). Here are some key sections:

    • Dictionaries (French, French /English dictionaries, and French dictionaries of specialist terminology)…443
    • Grammar…445
    • Learning French; French usage …448
    • French study texts and easy readers…448.2421

    We also have access to French online dictionaries:


    The Library has a collection of French literature, plus a range of short story collections, easy readers and parallel texts. The main section for French fiction is at 843 on Level 4 of the JHB Library, shelved in Zone E (silent study room). You can use the Library Catalogue to look for specific titles or authors. Here are some highlights:

    Short stories and parallel texts

    • Anna Gavalda -- Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part (843.914/GAV) Collection of short stories.
    • Stanley Appelbaum (ed.) - Great French short stories - parallel texts (843.0108/GRE)
    • Stanley Appelbaum (ed.) - Nineteenth century French short stories - parallel texts (843.0108/NIN)
    • Gustave Flaubert - Trois contes (843.8/FLA)
    • Annie Heminway - Better reading French (448.2421/HEM on Level 2)

    Modern French fiction

    Crime and thrillers

    • Fred Vargas - Un lieu incertain (843.914/VAR). Commissaire Adamsberg is drawn into a trail of vampires and vampire-hunters that leads him from London's Highgate Cemetry to a small Serbian village. 
    • Fred Vargas - Debout les morts (843.914/VAR). Stand-alone mystery from the author of the Commissaire Adamsberg series.
    • Fabrice Bourland - Le fantôme de Baker Street (843.92 BOU). In the spring of 1932, London is terrorised by a series of brutal murders.
    • Armand Cabasson - Les Proies de l’Officier (843.92/CAB) - thriller set in the summer of 1812 as Napoleon's forces march on Russia.


    • Hélène Grémillon - Le confident (843.92/GRE). Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, this debut novel has won 5 literary awards.
    • Jérôme Ferrari - Le sermon sur la chute de Rome (843.92/FER). Winner of the Prix Goncourt 2012 this tells of the fight to save a Corsican village.
    • Boualem Sansal - Rue Darwin (843.92/SAN). Algerian novel, winner of the Prix du Roma Arabe 2012.
    • Blandine Le Callet - La ballade de Lila K (843.92/LEC). In a dystopian future, a young woman seeks to recover her mother and her lost memory. This novel won the Prix des lecteurs 2012 and Prix des lecteurs du Livre de Poche-Littérature 2012.
    • Yasmina Khadra - L'attentat (843.914/KHA). Multiple prize winner. This novel explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the story of an Israeli Arab husband and wife. 
      Ce que le jour doit à la nuit (843.914/KHA). Winner of the Prix Roman 2008, this is a tale of love, friendship and identity, set in a colonial Algerian town.
    • Lionel Duroy - L'hiver des hommes (843.914/DUR). Winner of the Prix Renaudot des lycéens 2012 this novel looks at the repercussions of the Yugoslav wars.
    • Philippe Claudel - Le rapport de Brodeck (843.914/CLA). Winner of the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens 2007 and The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2010. "The novel transforms modern history into a fable that merges Kafka and the Grimms" Boyd Tonkin, Independent.
    • Jean-Marie Blas de Robles - Là où les Tigres Sont Chez Eux (843.914/BLA). Winner of the Prix Médicis, the Prix du Jury Jean Giono and the Prix du roman Fnac, this epic literary novel has also been a best-seller in France. The story is set in Brazil at the beginning of the 20th Century.

    Modern novels

    • Tahar Ben Jelloun - Le dernier ami (843.914/BEN). Set in Morocco, this tells of a friendship over the course of three decades.
    • Amélie Nothomb - Métaphysique des tubes (843.914/NOT). Autobiographical novel by Belgian writer Nothomb about a small child growing up in Japan.
    • Marc Levy - La prochaine fois (843.92/LEV). A fantastical tale of love and art spanning centuries.
    • Thomas Raphaël - La vie commence à 20h10: un rêvue bien quelques mensonges (843.92/RAP). Comedy about a would-be novelist and her double life.
    • Fatou Diome - Celles qui attendent (843.92/DIO) - Exploring the emigration of Africans to Europe from the perspective of four wives and mothers left behind in a Senegalese village.
    • Anna Gavalda - Ensemble, c'est tout (843.914/GAV). The lives of three lonely people come together in this novel by the hugely successful French novelist.
    • Muriel Barbery - L'elegance Du Herisson (843.92/BAR). Moving and funny novel about the residents of a Parisian apartment block. A bestseller in France and worldwide.
    • Philippe Delerm - Quelque chose en lui de Bartleby (843.914/DEL). The life of a shy postal worker is transformed when he starts writing an online blog.
    • Tatiana De Rosnay - L’appartement temoin  (843.914/ROS). Romantic drama.
    • Tatiana De Rosnay - Elle s’appelait Sarah (843.914/ROS). An American journalist is asked to write about the wartime round-up of Jews in Paris and uncovers secrets from her own family's past. This gripping novel has been made into a film available from the Library at 791.430944/PAQ/P
    • David Foenkinos - La delicatesse (843.92 FOE) Romantic drama. This novel has been made into a film starring Audrey Tautou.
    • Yasmine Char - La main de Dieu (843.92/CHA). Partly autobiographical novel set in the Lebanon war about a teenage girl torn between two cultures.

    The Library holds over 300 French films on DVD which you can borrow. Browse the shelves around 791.430944 on Level 4 or take a look at A guide to French films in the Headington Library (PDF).

    Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is a service which gives you access to thousands of recorded radio and TV programmes including films from an online archive.  It allows users to record programmes which will then be stored on the database. You can search for programmes already recorded, view the programme guide and also search for playlists and create your own. Through BoB you can view many French films and TV series such as WitnessesSpiral; The Returned.