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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars86
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 19 September 2011
I like very much the layout of the book and the 100+ articles are interesting. But my one major complaint is with the CD rather than the book. Less than a quarter of the articles are on the CD! The audio component is such an essential part of learning the language that I am at a loss to explain why the publishers would decide not to include recordings for ALL of the articles. I can only assume that it was a cost-cutting measure. With a CD including recordings for all of the articles, I would have given the publication five stars but can only rate it three stars. I hope that the publishers see this feedback and will consider including recordings for all articles for any future titles in the same series.
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on 8 December 2010
Really useful book, the stories involve you in reading french and the glossary explains any unfamiliar words. The use of these words in an appropriate context, as well as the correct conjugation of verbs means it is easy to follow and an excellent resource to assist with learning a language.

The book does expect that the reader will have a basic understanding of french language rules and grammar and does not explain words which are 'common' in every day language, so not ideal for beginners, but a great resource for intermediate learners of french.
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on 16 February 2011
This book has a variety of short articles, sometimes on one page and sometimes over two pages, about the life and cultural France in French. In the margin the vocabulary from each paragraph is given, saving one having to look things up in the dictionary.The book is divided into sections; for example culture, food, occupations. Therefore, one can dip in and out of things and do not have to read from beginning to end.
It is an interesting way to improve reading ability and vocabulary. It is recommended that the reader has at least three months experience of French. Personally, I think that it is for intermediate students and above. The accompanying CD has selected articles on it read in French at normal speed. This gives extra practice in comprehension.
My only criticism, and hence only four stars, is that they claim that one does not need a dictionary. There are words for which the vocabulary has not been given which one needs to look up, at least I've found so and I am not a beginner.
Overall it is a very useful tool in teaching yourself (or revising as I am), French.
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on 5 September 2013
I think this book is a great way to improve your French. Definately not for beginners. I passed French A-level (years ago) I listen to films in French and read a lot of French story books to my little boy and may I say I still found some of the text challenging. Great to have a cd as you can hear the articles. Beware though every article is not on the cd. Only three articles from each section. However it is nice to be able to listen and it is great to be able to read the text then listen or listen as you read along. I find I understand far more written French than I do listening so I am hoping this purchase vastly increases my listening skills and comprehension. I would say quite rightly pitched at intermediate level.
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on 13 December 2013
This is an excellent learning tool and I recommend it highly, but it is very frustrating for two reasons:

Firstly, it was a bit of a faff trying to find out how to download the audio part. Secondly, I would really appreciate having all the stories read aloud and would have been happy to pay more to get that.
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on 29 June 2013
Brilliant idea to help learners acquire more French. Interesting articles to read, and if you only have time, to listen to on CD in the car. Would be great if you could buy further CDs to go with the book that include all the other articles (there are many reading articles, but not all of them are put onto the CD) I would definitely buy more if I could. There are a couple of tracks by a lady speaker (different speakers to help you get used to different accents) who is painstakingly slow and overpronounces everything. I think she is trying to help people understand better, but I just find it frustrating, so fast forward those tracks. Otherwise a good and interesting way to learn about the French language and its culture - not just France but other French-speaking countries.
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on 10 October 2010
I received this book in excellent time and condition.

When I started to read the first story, I noticed a glaring error; the story teller refers to his wife as "mon femme" (masculine) when the word "femme" is obviously feminine!

I have been put off reading the book any further.
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on 9 November 2010
Its a pretty good book as it picks out phrases that your unlikely to know and tells you what they mean in English at the side of the page. This is a good thing to have because they are French phrases that don't all translate directly into English so if you didn't know what they are you would spend ages looking them up in a dictionary. Also, I find the phrases useful to help me write essays for my French A level homework as you can read through an interesting article in French and use some of the better phrases in an essay. It's very helpful!
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This book is for the level usually termed intermediate as it requires a good working knowledge of French. There are articles on a variety of topics grouped under headings such as: Culture; Voyages; Tradition; Celebration; Biographie; Coutumes; Les Arts; Histoire; Geographie and Gastronomie with a glossary down the side of the page. I found the inclusions here hard to fathom as they sometimes give quite ordinary words whilst omitting more obscure ones. The passages are full of the names of places which are of limited interest for a learner. There are no explanations of grammar such as why the subjunctive is used in a particular clause (or why some examples take a pleonastic "ne") or when the tense suddenly becomes the literary Past Historic. Nor is there a dictionary at the back - or verb tables. Sometimes the translations of vocabulary need further comment such as why "une annee de vaches maigres" means "lean years" or they fail to be accurate: "Vous l'aurez bien compris" cannot be truly rendered as: "you have understood." At times I felt the book was produced by some tourist organisation and I would not recommend it for private study although it is quite useful for a class. To learn on your own you would do better to use the Breakthrough French or Teach Yourself series for the level you reckon you are at. Alternatively you could read a collection of short stories, perhaps in a dual language version, and then you would have knowledge of proper literature.
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on 3 May 2014
I found this book and cd package very helpful, most books deal with beginners level French, it took a lot of searching to find a book aimed at the next level. Do not buy this book if you are a complete beginner, but if like me you want to improve your intermediate level French then this is the package for you.
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