Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France part 3 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France Part 3
Our choice of 15 Books to help better understanding France.

Part 1 of this article

Part 2 of this article

First of all what is « hogtied »? To hogtie is an Americanism that goes back to about 1890 literally meaning to tie an animal, in particular a hog, with all four feet together. Figuratively the phrase mean to thwart or hamper. So here is part 3 of our list of 15 books that’ll help you feel less bewildered and understanding France.

What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland’s nearly hexagonal shape)

understanding France

La puce à l’oreille: anthologie des expressions populaires avec leur origine

Claude Duneton

Fistfuls of everyday expressions are analyzed in their social and historical contexts. A marvel of curiosity, this book will teach you a great number of things about popular expressions. Tomber en quenouille, avoir la poisse, la veuve poignet, être un pigeon, rouler une pelle, pas piqué des hannetons, avoir du pain sur la planche — all that and on and on. A delight.

Le bonheur d’être français

François Hauter

What strange composition makes 67 million Frenchmen and women — 1% of the world’s population living on 1% of the world’s surface — so singular ? Avoiding any clichés, François Hauter, a journalist having lived most of his life abroad in China, the United States, Africa and the Middle East, evokes this atypical planet France in 30 episodes. These petits tableaux showcase France’s unusual manners, baffling doubts, inexplicable tears, but also the solid underpinnings and profound qualities of an old people.

understanding France

French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French

Harriet Welty-Rochefort

Peter Mayle may have spent a year in Provence, but Harriet Welty Rochefort writes from the experience of over twenty years in Paris. From a small town in Iowa to the City of Lights, Harriet did what so many dream of – she picked up her entire life and moved to France – permanently. But it has not been twenty years of fun and games, Harriet has endured her share of cultural bumps, bruises, and psychic adjustments. In «French Toast», Harriet makes sense of Parisians and their ever-so-French thoughts on food, money, sex, love, marriage, manners, and much, much more.

France : An Illustrated Miscellany

Denis Tillinac

This handsome volume presents France and its rich culture in all its bounty—from landscape and tradition to literature and legend. Eminent French author Denis Tillinac takes the reader through provincial French villages to deluxe Riviera retreats and on to the City of Lights, providing insight into Henri IV, the origins of champagne, and the development of the high-speed (TGV) train along the way. From Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte, and from La Fontaine’s fables to the early feminist Joan of Arc, this book provides an insider’s tour of the Hexagon.

Versailles Pour les nuls

Mathieu DAVINHA and Raphaël MASSON

Centuries after its modest start as a hunting lodge, events that took place at Versailles ultimately helped shaped the world we live in today. Versailles then, as major theater in the history of France, is well worth a long study and multiple visits. But it can be somewhat intimidating and complicated at first. Hence a good place to start learning about Louis’ hangout is this fine French-language edition of the For Dummies series. Simple and direct prose style will lead you through the haughty Hall of Mirrors and out to the sumptuous gardens. My favorite place, le parterre d’eau, is in the crack of transition — where one leaves the architecture of stone to move to the architecture of the vegetal world.

More great new books about France and other subjects can be found in our book corner and Bill & Rosa’s Book Room.