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Book Summary: "Sixty Million Frenchmen does its job marvelously well. After reading it, you may still think the French are arrogant, aloof, and high-handed, but you will know why." --Wall Street Journal
Book Summary: The French... -Smoke, drink and eat more fat than anyone in the world, yet live longer and have fewer heart problems than Americans -Work 35-hour weeks, and take seven weeks of paid holidays per year, but are still the world's fourth-biggest economic power So what makes the French so different? Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong is a journey into the French heart, mind and soul. Decrypting French ideas about land, privacy and language, Nadeau and Barlow weave together the threads of French society--from centralization and the Napoleonic Code to elite education and even street protests--giving us, for the first time, a complete picture of the French. "[A] readable and insightful piece of work." --Montreal Mirror "In an era of irrational reactions to all things French, here is an eminently rational answer to the question, 'Why are the French like that?'" --Library Journal "A must-read." --Edmonton Journal
Book Summary: Decrypting French ideas about land, food, privacy and language, this book encompasses observations and anecdotes, political analysis and reflection to uncover links between the French national character, the essence of France and how the French got to be the way they are.
Book Summary: Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow spent a decade traveling back and forth to Paris as well as living there. Yet one important lesson never seemed to sink in: how to communicate comfortably with the French, even when you speak their language. In The Bonjour Effect Jean-Benoît and Julie chronicle the lessons they learned after they returned to France to live, for a year, with their twin daughters. They offer up all the lessons they learned and explain, in a book as fizzy as a bottle of the finest French champagne, the most important aspect of all: the French don't communicate, they converse. To understand and speak French well, one must understand that French conversation runs on a set of rules that go to the heart of French culture. Why do the French like talking about "the decline of France"? Why does broaching a subject like money end all discussion? Why do the French become so aroused debating the merits and qualities of their own language? Through encounters with school principals, city hall civil servants, gas company employees, old friends and business acquaintances, Julie and Jean-Benoît explain why, culturally and historically, conversation with the French is not about communicating or being nice. It's about being interesting. After reading The Bonjour Effect, even readers with a modicum of French language ability will be able to hold their own the next time they step into a bistro on the Left Bank.
Book Summary: Why does everything sound better if it's said in French? That fascination is at the heart of The Story of French, the first history of one of the most beautiful languages in the world that was, at one time, the pre-eminent language of literature, science and diplomacy. In a captivating narrative that spans the ages, from Charlemagne to Cirque du Soleil, Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow unravel the mysteries of a language that has maintained its global influence despite the rise of English. As in any good story, The Story of French has spectacular failures, unexpected successes and bears traces of some of history's greatest figures: the tenacity of William the Conqueror, the staunchness of Cardinal Richelieu, and the endurance of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Through this colorful history, Nadeau and Barlow illustrate how French acquired its own peculiar culture, revealing how the culture of the language spread among francophones the world over and yet remains curiously centered in Paris. In fact, French is not only thriving—it still has a surprisingly strong influence on other languages. As lively as it is fascinating, The Story of French challenges long held assumptions about French and shows why it is still the world's other global language.
Book Summary: In the tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like, a tongue-in-cheek homage to Parisians. To be mistaken for a Parisian, readers must buy the newspaper Le Monde, fold it, and walk. Then sit at a café and make phone calls. Be sure to order San Pellegrino, not any other kind of fizzy water. They shouldn't be surprised when a waiter brings out two spoons after they order le moelleux au chocolat- it is understood that the dessert is too sinfully delicious not to share. Go to l'île Saint-Louis-all Parisians are irredeemably in love with that island. Feel free to boldly cross the street whenever the impulse strikes-pedestrian crosswalks are too dangerous. If they take a cruise on the Seine, they will want to stand outside, preferably with their collar popped up. If they want to decorate, may we suggest the photographs of Robert Doisneau? To truly be cool in Paris, own an iPhone, wear Converse sneakers, and order sushi. And as they stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, remember-they can't go wrong wearing black.
Book Summary: Just how did a dialect spoken by a handful of shepherds in Northern Spain become the world's second most spoken language, the official language of twenty-one countries on two continents, and the unofficial second language of the United States? Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, the husband-and-wife team who chronicled the history of the French language in The Story of French, now look at the roots and spread of modern Spanish. Full of surprises and honed in Nadeau and Barlow's trademark style, combining personal anecdote, reflections, and deep research, The Story of Spanish is the first full biography of a language that shaped the world we know, and the only global language with two names—Spanish and Castilian. The story starts when the ancient Phoenicians set their sights on "The Land of the Rabbits," Spain's original name, which the Romans pronounced as Hispania. The Spanish language would pick up bits of Germanic culture, a lot of Arabic, and even some French on its way to taking modern form just as it was about to colonize a New World. Through characters like Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes, and Goya, The Story of Spanish shows how Spain's Golden Age, the Mexican Miracle, and the Latin American Boom helped shape the destiny of the language. Other, more somber episodes, also contributed, like the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of Spain's Jews, the destruction of native cultures, the political instability in Latin America, and the dictatorship of Franco. The Story of Spanish shows there is much more to Spanish than tacos, flamenco, and bullfighting. It explains how the United States developed its Hispanic personality from the time of the Spanish conquistadors to Latin American immigration and telenovelas. It also makes clear how fundamentally Spanish many American cultural artifacts and customs actually are, including the dollar sign, barbecues, ranching, and cowboy culture. The authors give us a passionate and intriguing chronicle of a vibrant language that thrived through conquests and setbacks to become the tongue of Pedro Almodóvar and Gabriel García Márquez, of tango and ballroom dancing, of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.
Book Summary: In this “charming memoir,” a determined Francophile pursues fluency in the language he loves—and we read along to find out if it will ever love him back (Kirkus Reviews). William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. If only he could speak the language. In Flirting with French, Alexander eats, breathes, and sleeps au français. He travels to France, where mistranslations send him bicycling off in all sorts of wrong directions. At an immersion class in Provence where he faces the riddle of masculine breasts, feminine beards, and a turkey cutlet of uncertain gender, he wonders if he should’ve taken up golf instead. While playing hooky from grammar lessons and memory techniques, Alexander reports on the riotous workings of the Académie Française, the centuries-old institution charged with keeping the language pure; explores the science of human communication, learning why it’s harder for fifty-year-olds to learn a second language than it is for five-year-olds. Never giving up his quest for fluency, Alexander discovers that studying French may have had a far greater impact on his life than actually learning to speak it ever would. “Alexander proves that learning a new language is an adventure of its own—with all the unexpected obstacles, surprising breakthroughs and moments of sublime pleasure traveling brings.” —Julie Barlow, author of The Bonjour Effect