I must admit that even though I have probably bought over $1000 of stuff over the years on amazon.com, this will be my first ever review of anything on Amazon. I feel compelled to do so because there seems to be very few books of this nature to learn albanian as an English speaker. First I would like to give you a little bit of a background so that you have a better understanding where I am coming from. I hate reviews where people give long winded explanations of why a product sucked or was good, but in the end the review was not a good one beacuse it wasn't relevant to you.
First off, I am an Italian-American living in Italy. I am fluent in both languages. I also have a decent linguistical background in Vietnamese, German and Greek. Though I wouldn't claim anything but elementary speaker at this point in the latter two. My fiance is Albanian and we speak almost exclusively in Italian (99%) even though she is fluent in English as well. Being that we live in Italy, that has a large part in why we speak exclusively in Italian.
Anyways, I have been wanting to learn Albanian for a couple of reasons. First, that is a huge part of my fiance's life. She is Albanian and out of respect to her, her family, and all Albanians I feel that it is only fair. Second, we already speak two languages in common so why not make it three. Third, Albanian is a very cool language. It has a very unique sound and at first glance it has a slavic tone to it. But if you have a well trained ear, you will notice right away that it is not a slavic language. It does however borrow some words here or there (even from italian) but in the end it is a truly unique and thriving language that should bring you much enjoyment. There. That is my background. Now on with the review.
I am going to do a mixed review. I am adding Isa Zymberi's Colloquial Albanian (book only) to the mix as well because these are almost exclusively the only two good books out there that will teach you Albanian with an emphasis on grammar as well as vocabulary. Both of these books are a must for anyone wanting to learn Albanian. And I would recommend using both at the same time. For example: At the same time you have completed the first 10 chapters of this book, you should have completed roughly 4 or 5 chapters of Isa Zymberi's book. And after doing so, go back through those chapters once again before moving on.
This book has 40 chapters and seems to be a little lighter or slower on the grammar side. You still get all the grammar that you need, it just seems to go about it a little bit slower. Isa Zymberi's book has only 26 or so chapters and the grammar and self-tests seem to be a bit better or more indepth. Probably due to the concentration of matter being split into a smaller abount of chapters. Either way, I have found that using both books are way better than limiting yourself to only one.
All that is missing now is a really good dictionary!!!
If I had to rate each book seperately I would give them 4 stars or 4.5 stars a piece but together they get a collective 5. In the end, if you only have the loot to get one book, either book is fine. But since these are pretty much the only two books out there, I would still get both.
I hope this review will help you in your decision.