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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars35
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2002
For an intermediate to advanced student I found these stories to be very entertaining and enjoyable. A pleasant break from the usual dull writing found in textbooks. The amount of new vocabulary was very high for me but being able to quickly look up the meaning on the opposite side of the page is such a joy. Yes, there are discrepencies in some of the translations, but I found that enriched my understanding by trying to decipher why a figurative rather than literal translation was used. Languages don't always have word for word translations. Understanding this is a part of the richness involved in learning about another culture along with the language.
The pace of working through the book was very slow but equally rewarding for the quality of the literature and the immersion in the language. Not a book for beginners, but intermediate on upwards should definitely consider this book.
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on 14 August 2010
This book is great for anyone interested in improving their Spanish without feeling it's a chore. I really enjoyed the stories - written by well known authors including Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The parallel text format makes the stories easy to read, without having to look up difficult words in the dictionary. The notes at the back of the book explain some colloquial expressions which is great for anyone interested in the culture of Spanish speaking countries. Highly recommended.
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on 3 July 2012
I found it easy to move from the Spanish to the English when stuck, but was tempted to do this a bit too much. If you want to read a complete book with help when stuck, it is good. However, sometimes it is good to read to get the gist and other times review to build vocabulary. I must admit, I found it easier to copy Spanish news articles from the websites of Spanish newspapers into Google translate and then print both copies. Google translate will not provide an excellent translation, but it generally helped me make sense of it all. Alternatively, I have a kindle (which I love!) and by purchasing a Spanish-English dictionary, I found I could read Spanish language books, as you only have to hover your cursor, for it to bring up a little dictionary extract. I found this a better alternative, as I only did it when I needed it and my eyes couldn't flow across the pages to cheat! I can see for others that this may break their flow of reading.
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on 10 January 2002
This is an interesting idea for adults with an intermediate knowledge of the Spanish language, who wish to improve vocabulary and work on grammatical structures. Although the stories themselves are not the most exciting ever, the text is clearly presented and can be easily cross-referenced, and as the stories are short, they are digestible. The book comes with a short but interesting introduction about the included Spanish authors and their work, and the purpose of the book. Also included is a notes section detailing finer grammar, history and vocabulary points. The downsides are that the book is over 200 pages long, and filled entirely with words. On a purely aesthetic level, this could be a little daunting. Also, there are one or two discrepancies in the translations. Otherwise the book is enjoyable, and a handy reference text. I have not seen any other fiction books like this, and so it is a good investment, best suited for over 16s.
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on 16 January 2010
I enjoyed this collection, which is especially helpful as an introduction to some of the 'big names' in modern Spanish American fiction (Fuentes, Allende, Marquez).
The endnotes are sparse but useful, while the introduction provides a helpful background or orientation to themes.
Very useful for intermediate to advanced students, and more interesting (to me, anyway) than 'issues' dominated textbooks.
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on 10 October 2011
Great product, helping me with my Spanish. As far as service goes, can't question a thing. Product arrived within 2 days and was exactly as described. Happy with my choice!
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on 9 April 2016
The stories are of varying lengths and difficulty of language. I found them interesting and easy to read due to the translation being well synchronised on the opposite page. The foot notes were useful in explaining South American culture and idioms - the stories are a mixture of European and American Spanish. There did not seem to be any great difference in vocabulary between the two versions. I would recommend them for someone with more than a basic knowledge of the language.
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on 2 October 2004
It's difficult to find good Spanish authors suitable for beginners. The idea behind this book is good. Short stories with the Spanish text translated on the opposite page. This makes it easy to progress through the story without losing too much momentum. The translations are quite good.
I found the stories a bit boring. It appears that in an effort to find reputable authors of good literature, the editors sacrificed more potentially interesting stories with actual events. The stories are often long-winded and slow with no great drama. They didn't maintain my interest beyond an exercise in grammar and vocabulary building. But if stories about Literary Tea Parties and a woman's indifference to other people get you hooked then this is for you. Personally I prefer stories where things actually happen.
2.5 stars, so I'll have to round it up to 3 for roundness sake.
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on 27 April 2014
Good for learning Spanish (range of vocab/ sentence structures etc.) but the stories are dull and uninteresting. Some of the language was obscure and I felt I many be miss understanding as the plot seemed a little odd, so I read one in English - no, they were just weird!
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on 13 June 2014
I am a casual student of Spanish (I learnt because of living circumstances not through a conscious effort to study the language) so this book is fairly advanced for me but the stories are good and the system of a page being in Spanish and then English is a nice idea
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