French culture minister admits she 'reads very little'

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French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris - 15 October 2014Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Fleur Pellerin said she reads lots of notes and government documents but has no time to read for pleasure

The French minister for culture has caused a stir by revealing she hasn't read a single novel in two years.

Fleur Pellerin, who took on the role in August, made the admission during a TV interview about France's Nobel prize winning author, Patrick Modiano.

When asked which of his books was her favourite, she said she was so busy she had no time to read for pleasure.

Her comments sparked much debate on social media, with the response split between scornful and sympathetic.

In the interview on a Sunday evening television show, Ms Pellerin said she had enjoyed a "wonderful lunch" with Mr Modiano after he was named this year's winner of the Nobel Literature Prize.

But she admitted she couldn't say which of his titles she preferred because she hadn't had time to read his books - or indeed any others - since taking up a ministerial post two years ago.

"I admit without any problem that I have had no time to read over the past two years," she said, adding: "I read a lot of notes, and legislative documents. I read a lot of news. but I read [for pleasure] very little."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Patrick Modiano dined with Ms Pellerin after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this month

On social media sites, many defended her admission with one Twitter user saying: "The worst thing is that if Fleur Pellerin had said she spent her evenings reading, many would have blamed her for not working enough."

Others accused her of being an embarrassment, saying her honesty had belittled the ministerial post she holds but one person joked that France was finally "facing up to its biggest problem in this time of crisis".