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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Flirting with French

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April Book Review: Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, & Nearly Broke My Heart,  by William Alexander

I loved this book!  It's a light-hearted take on Alexander's intensive efforts to learn French. Along with his personal narrative documenting his experiences in France and in the United States while learning the language, he interweaves French history, a bit of world history, geography, culture, and a good deal of information on linguistic studies, doing it so artfully that I hardly perceived it as a course of study.

New York Times

Now and then I paused to reflect on the amount of research it took him to write the book, in addition to the dedicated study of the French language, and it boggles the mind. For the most part I was just like a sponge, soaking in the information, because that's the way his writing comes across. It was every bit as fun as reading a novel. 

I enjoyed the rather wry reflection on age and language learning. Alexander was only a little older than me at the time he was studying, so I related to his frustration at the opinions he was getting that older people have a harder time learning languages. 

I recommend this book to anyone who has studied French. He does interweave some French terms in, usually explaining them but not always. It's a good read for anyone, but if you've studied French, it makes it even more enjoyable.  

As a personal way to relate, during the course of his year, he ran into some heart troubles, and had to have radio catheter ablation done more than once.  I have had that procedure, but only once, thankfully, but having that in common with him made it even more interesting to me.

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