(From most useful to least)
- Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French by Stephen Clarke ~ It was relevant. It was insightful. It was funny. It was the only book I needed to read. How to deal with the French in addition to How to understand them.
- Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow ~ More scientific. Less practical. But the points were clear and logical without being obvious.
- Culture Shock! France: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette by Sally Taylor ~ Advice was similar to #1, but writing was much less accessible. Felt dated.
- The French by Theodore Zeldin ~ Very scholarly. More in-depth. (Much to my embarrassment, I haven't gotten around to finishing it.)
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle ~ Memoir. Inspiring--it's possible to get along quite well in France
- French by Heart: An American Family's Adventures in La Belle France by Rebecca Ramsey ~ Memoir. Drivel.
- The Arrogance of the French: Why They Can't Stand Us--and Why the Feeling is Mutual by Richard Chesnoff ~ As an American, I am embarrassed. Nationalistic propaganda. Good for a laugh if you can manage not to take him seriously.
Interesting tidbit: British books were more helpful than American books. 1 is British, 7 is American. 1' s strategy for dealing with the French is be polite and admit you're wrong. Effective? Yes. 7's strategy includes swearing at the French person whose help you desire (sample words included in the book). Effective? No, but "at least you'll have the last word." Oh my. I love my country, really I do, but sometimes I wonder about the people in it.