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Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

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Book Overview

Imagine a former French major getting vocabulary tips from her young children That was the experience of Kristin Espinasse, an American who fell in love with a Frenchman and moved to his country to... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Hey! They're just like us ....

The value of this charming and instructive book by a natural writer and observer of the (French) social scene is that it makes picking up new vocabulary easy because you remember the lovely stories in which they were packaged. This is part soap opera, part cultural exchange, part charming honesty, part ingenuousness, and, overall, a very natural and entertaining way to enhance one's French vocabulary at the same time one gains an understanding of the culture that comes along with that language. It is delightful to be a fly on the wall during the culture shock of a French major from the American Southwest finding love and community in La France. I have been a reader of her blog for a while and benefited from that, but it is a different, and better, experience to read some of her best columns in book form, which, by the way, suggests in its design the south of France, a Mediterranean touch stylewise. It's a handsome dustcover. This unique book will have you learning French while chuckling at her account of getting 'hung up' on entering the church for her wedding. Such refreshing candor! You'll love this book. Addenda: Kristin's web columns are so good I wondered how I could access as many as possible of her previous work. Voila! As a Google mail holder, I found could go to one of their services called Google Reader which allows one to add RSS (really simple syndication) feeds to that page and access them in a convenient fashion (summary or listing). When I added the URL for her webpage, Google went out, got the RSS and placed it on a list to the left of the page. I found the LIST format most useful for scrolling backwards in time more than a year to see all her French Words on which I could click to get the original page with all her vocabulary suggestions and her delightful stories. Her genius is that she places new French vocablulary gently amongst a story, otherwise in English, that is so interesting that one wants to read it to the end, and then look over the associated words and phrases. In effect, one learns new French words from the context in which they are placed in the English language story. Enormously clever and effective. It resembles the way we learn vocabulary in our own language: from context.

An absolute pleasure for all readers

This isn't the France of travel magazines and guidebooks. It is France seen with the discerning eye of a writer, the loving heart of a mother and the self-effacing wit of an easy-going American in the land of women who iron their children's pajamas. The book's format - weaving French lessons into vignettes of her life in South France - is quite unique and I loved learning the kind of colloquial French I didn't get in classes. But what makes the book so special is Espinasse's humanity. Anyone can describe lavender, cobblestones and the pecadilloes of the French, but here is a woman who notices the little ironies and blessings in everyday life common to us all and has the talent to render them with humor, grace and charm. Even after I finished, I kept picking it up to reread. It's that good.

Espinasse entertains, makes you laugh, and warms your heart!

Terrific book! As an American wanting to pick up more French, I find "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France" a simply delightful read. This is a great book to pick up and read the very well written and reflective antidotes. As a librarian, I will make sure this book is available at our library. Kristen touches my soul with each chapter as a parent, a lover of the French language, one married to an immigrant...and oh,on so many levels. I find myself associating with her writing "from the heart". She truly speaks the language, the tongue of many with finesse! Love this book. Tres bien! Encore, encore!!

Dreaming in French with Kristy!

Kristy writes with charming simplicity! Her words capture our imagination taking us behind the blue shutters of Provence. There her hand opens wide the view of the life we dream to see inside...cupboards full of homemade goodness, baskets stacked high of humor, dresser drawers overflowing with lavender-scented laundry! Kristy shows us her family, their lives in France, with her collection of tender hearted love and words that you want gobble up page by page! A wonderful, delightful, enchanting book to help you learn French while eating a baguette and saying, "Bien Bien Encore!"

Words of French Wisdom

A perfect book for lovers of France and the French language, for armchair travelers and wishful thinkers - and for newcomers who wish to understand more of the mysterious French ways! How come I write about this book? This is easily explained: for some years I've been one of the lucky e-mail subscribers to Kristin Espinasse's French-Word-A-Day writings (on which the book is based), providing wonderfully witty, humorous and helpful, poetic and profound insights into her life in France. We share her children's growing up in France, we are informed about her husband's work in his vineyards, we get to know her relationship with neighbors and friends, we read about those precious moments when her adopted country generously opens up new horizons for thought and outlook on life in general and especially in France. Always her observations are presented with great respect for the people she meets, never putting them down, yet keeping just enough distance to see and listen to them with a writer's mind. If you want to get into a French mood, if you plan to travel to France, virtual or otherwise, or if you just want to be entertained in an amusing, intelligent and uplifting way, this book is truly a must-have. It not only includes those lovingly detailed stories but provides helpful examples on proper use of words and phrases. Oh, and yes, you do brush up your French in a most entertaining and easy fashion: learning a language can indeed be fun! Put it on your list of Books to Buy - you can't go wrong!
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