The Book of Proper Names (Robert des noms propres) by Amélie Nothomb

1003801First, I am seriously lamenting the lack of foreign-language books in America. Or at least, the lack of them at my local library. I’ve got a stack of books, including several from my favorite French-language authors, Muriel Barbery and Amélie Nothomb, but could only locate the English translations. Disappointment, I tell you!

Anyways, the semester is over, and I’m writing to rave about Nothomb’s The Book of Proper Names. In short, it’s beautiful. I highly recommend. In French, of course, if you want the experience to be enhanced by the beauty of the French language.

The plot is strange, but it talks about a lot of good themes~ our identity, how we construct it, and the role that society and our worlds play in constructing our identity for us. And, how could you help but love the protagonist, Plectrude? Named after an obscure 11th-century nun, this highly intelligent, extremely talented young girl shows us why c’est encore plus beau comme ça.

So, this winter break, you know what I see? You + Robert des noms propres + hot chocolate. It looks marvelous.

Next on my reading list are the following titles:

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld

If I Stay, Gayle Forman

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery (a re-read, it’s so good!)

The Life of Elves, Muriel Barbery

Gourmet Rhapsody, Muriel Barbery

Tokyo Fiancée, Amélie Nothomb

Hygiene and the Assassin, Amélie Nothomb

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen (!!!)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë


Happy reading, friends!


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