French Books USA: Week in Review

September 1, 2015 | By Arian Murati
Georges Didi-Huberman

Getting the Figures

A survey conducted by BVA, l’institut d’études, and Doméo polled French reading preferences, and the results showed some interesting finds. Nearly eight out of ten people claimed to enjoy reading, with most showing a preference for reading over television. Breaking down "reading" into its various formats (magazines, novels, comics, etc.) also revealed some neat tidbits: magazines and newspapers make up the bulk of reader consumption, comics and graphic novels are still rather male-oriented, and, from what it seems, the French love Sherlock Holmes and James Bond more than their own men-on-the-case. In other graph and figure-related news, it should take you about 17 minutes to read Barbar at a second-grade reading level and just under three hours to complete The Little Prince as a third grader, which means that as an adult who checks their phone about thirty times in that same span, your time may vary.



George Didi-Hauberman and Laurent Binet Win Big

Conferred every three years to major contributors in the worlds of philosophy, cinema, music, and theater, the 2015 Prix Adorno was awarded to French academic Georges Didi-Huberman. Huberman is the author of over forty works of critical theory, art, and history, and joins a veritable pantheon of past winners, which includes Jürgen Habermas, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler. Some of his works translated into English include Images in Spite of All (2008). Invention of Hysteria (2003), and Confronting Images (2005). Elsewhere in the world of awards, Laurent Binet has won the 2015 Prix du roman Fnac 2015 for La septième fonction du langage, a speculative novel about an illuminati-esque conspiracy against Roland Barthes. As for upcoming awards, the preliminary selections for the 2015 Prix Goncourt were just announced.



Style Points

This week on the Internet, we learned that King Louis XIV "invented fashion as we know it," creating industry standards such as wardrobe seasons and fashion marketing. The news comes the same day we discovered that the not-so-sartorially-gifted Michel Houellebecq was once mistaken for a vagrant during a research visit to a monastery. Luckily, fashion doesn't really influence literary selections, as Flavorwire picked Submission for its "33 Must-Read Books for Fall 2015" list, alongside the kaleidoscopic Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, a novel that explores the "filthy glamorous" underworld of a modern African gold rush.



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