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Speak French with Confidence: Teach Yourself
Speak French with Confidence: Teach Yourself
by Jean-Claude Arragon
Edition: Audio CD

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very limited, 10 Jan. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These CDs simply cover the type of dialogues that you are likely to encounter when travelling in France as a tourist, such as booking into a hotel, or reserving a table at a restaurant. There isn't much here that you wouldn't find in any phrase book, so this product only really offers value to you if you would like to hear such phrases spoken out loud, perhaps giving you the confidence to repeat them for yourself. A further negative is that the format is not particulary convenient: you will be utterly chained to your audio player or remote control, with finger or thumb constantly hovering over the pause and rewind buttons. This situation is not helped by the fact that the French words are often mentioned in a hurry, and/or only once.
On the plus side, certain key phrases seem to be repeated regularly, helping to drum them in, the presenters' voices are always clear, and the whole presentation seems to be quite upbeat.
In summary, if you want to hear very basic dialogues and have the opportunity to practise them, then these CDs may well offer you some benefit, although I can't help but feel that you would be better off with a good phrase book. At least you can use that as a reference as and when you need to. After all, if you don't remember the material covered in these CDs, then they really are bordering on useless. And even if you do remember all the words, there is, of course, no guarantee that the French people with whom you converse will use those words, making the whole thing even more redundant.
On a slightly different note, the course content was written by Jean-Claude Arragon, who also wrote the course entitled Teach Yourself Improve Your French. For serious learners of the French language, I thought you might be interested to know that that course is a particularly good one for intermediate learners, and worth checking out if you haven't done so already.
I hope the above has been of some help to you. Thank you.


Ashtanga Yoga - The Practice Manual
Ashtanga Yoga - The Practice Manual
by David Swenson
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: £20.00

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please bear in mind the following, 6 April 2005
Having bought this book, I will say that it is everything that one could hope for from an instruction manual: informative, lucid and encouraging for the beginner, with plenty of 'easier' options included .
However, I personally find that learning only from a book can be a little dry and uninspiring, and until you can remember the routine you will have to keep resorting back to the page, which can become tiresome when you just want to get on and stretch. And with this in mind, I would like to point out that if you search on the web, you can find David Swenson's DVDs to accompany this book, which will allow you to see everything in the book executed perfectly. Please also remember, whilst Ashtanga-style yoga is very rewarding, it is also challenging; although you can, of course, freely use the postures in this book to put together your own more relaxed Hatha-style workout, if you feel like it. Good luck and good health.


Yoga Zone [2003] [DVD]
Yoga Zone [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alan Finger

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slightly different view to the others, 22 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Yoga Zone [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
First and foremost, I do not want to be misunderstood: these are good Yoga DVDs. However, having bought them, I would like to say that all four discs are tailored for the beginner. The workouts should last you for a while, as they are presented in a way that you can tolerate listening to over and over again; and the postures will probably challenge the budding yoga practitioner (Yogi for a man, Yogini for a woman) for a good few months, especially regarding loosening up those hamstrings!
The first drawback that I would like to mention is that the teacher, Alan Finger, spends nearly ten minutes explaining how to sit and breathe properly at the beginning of each DVD in exactly the same way. It only needed to be covered once, and so this results overall in something like half an hour being taken up by something which should have taken a third of that. I guess that these workouts have been put on to DVD from videos that were intended to be sold separately; the quality is fine, however.
There is one disc which is a specific introductory workout for the starter; one which takes you through two complete meditations; another which is geared towards 'conditioning and stress relief'; and the final one, which is probably the most advanced, promoting flexibility and toning. All workouts end with a few super-relaxing minutes spent in 'corpse pose' (lying flat on your back, letting all of your muscles go slack, breathing deeply and trying not to fall asleep!).
I think it is a good idea to have a separate disc for each yoga workout which concentrates on a separate issue, but it would have been better to have a beginner lesson, then an intermediate one, then a slightly more advanced lesson giving the practitioner something to really 'get their teeth into', as opposed to covering several very similar topics all at the beginner level. Having said that, the separate meditation disc is definitely a good idea. What I am trying to say is that given the fact that this series combines to cover approximately four hours of yoga, it seemed to me to fail to really 'get stuck in'. Postures are not held for very long and you have to pause the playback while you repeat a movement or hold a pose for a little longer to accelerate your progress. Alan Finger does do a good job of reminding you to breathe throughout, though, which is helpful as that is so important.
All in all, this is probably the best introduction to yoga that a novice will come across in DVD format, and it is handy to be able to skip to the part that you want. I just believe that you could get a deeper feel for yoga in four hours than has been accomplished here: overall, four stars.


Psychology (Teach Yourself Educational)
Psychology (Teach Yourself Educational)
by Nicky Hayes
Edition: Paperback

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, readable introduction to psychology, 12 Dec. 2004
I like this book because it is readable, as opposed to a text book which can be difficult to get into. I think it is a perfect intro to the subject if you have a general interest or are going to start to study psychology. Sometimes the book didn't go into as much detail as I would have liked, but I guess that is understandable considering how deep this subject really is. You won't be an expert in psychology after reading this, but you will have a good insight into what the science aims to find out about with chapters covering such topics as emotions, motivation, states of mind (drug effects, dreaming etc.), cognition (memory, perception and thinking), genetics and evolution, learning, stages of life, and social psychology. The title 'teach yourself psychology' is perhaps a little misleading because you won't be equipped with the knowledge to conduct your own experiments having read this!
As psychology is so fascinating, I feel that the author could have been a little more passionate about her subject; but this is a minor point, and the book does read straightforwardly.
All in all, the reader will get a concise, general overview of psychololgy today; and if that is what you are after, I recommend it. Also, as you are human (I am assuming that you are!), you owe it to yourself to know a bit about psychology.


Fuji Finepix s5500 Digital Camera [4Mp, 10x Optical]
Fuji Finepix s5500 Digital Camera [4Mp, 10x Optical]

136 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, part two, 11 Dec. 2004
I thought I would write a second review just to summarise this camera fully: four million pixels, strong build quality, powerful zoom lens (ten times magnification!!!), lovely handling, sharp images, quality movie mode with sound (with limitless recording, space on the card permitting [[so, several minutes worth available if you get a large size card]]), macro mode, pop-up flash, comfortable rubber grip around the body, burst modes (for taking several photos with one press of the shutter), option to shoot in black and white, very compact for a SLR style camera, simple-to-control menus, great battery life for a digicam (get yourself some 2300 or 2400 mah rechargable AA batteries ASAP), the lens has a fast aperture even at full zoom (meaning it lets in enough light that you can take a piccie without a tripod, even when zoomed right in) and I haven't experienced camera shake on images shot at as low as 1/25 of a second (but I have a steady hand!), and, of course, manual control over aperture (f2.8 - f9), shutter (15 seconds - 1/2000 of a second), ISO, white balance and flash output.
If some of that sounds complicated, there are auto modes available for certain types of scene, such as landscape or portraiture, and, of course, full auto mode for snapshots. I'm tellin' you, if your'e not a pro photographer but you want more creative control over your images, or are looking for a solid first buy on which you can improve, this camera is extremely good value. The only negatives I can think of are as follows: the aperture doesn't go up to f22 (as on a full SLR), the shutter cannot be kept open indefinitely for longer exposures, and, inevitably with the zoom lens, this camera is not going to fit in your pocket (although it is small, and very light around your neck).
Again, I feel this camera is terrific value (see my other review) ; and with the price of xd picture cards from the web at a now much more affordable price, this offering from fujifilm really is a bargain ( I highly recommend a 512 megabit xd card, or at least a 256. The camera has a 4 mega pixel 'fine' setting on which, with a 512 mb card, you can take 268 pics!).
I love this camera. Its features really help to keep photography fun. The way it should be! Hope this all helps, fellow Amazonians.


Fuji Finepix s5500 Digital Camera [4Mp, 10x Optical]
Fuji Finepix s5500 Digital Camera [4Mp, 10x Optical]

108 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best., 29 Nov. 2004
I researched this camera thoroughly before buying it, and I absolutely love it. If you are in this price range, it is, in my opinion, the very best camera you can get your hands on! It is packed with very user-friendly features (also found on cameras much more expensive) and I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again. This camera is, in all probability, the best value product that I have ever bought. Seriously. The handling is superb (perfectly balanced), the pictures are very high quality, it is easy and, best of all, a lot of fun to use. It has a sleek, professional appearance (so you can impress people!), and considering the power of the exceptional quality lens, it has remarkably small dimensions: it fits in your palm gorgously. This is my first digital camera, and I feel the ease of use has really helped me enjoy photography, and helped to facilitate my journey into a larger, creative world. Enjoy!


T'ai Chi And QiGong - The Prescription For The Future - An Anthology [DVD]
T'ai Chi And QiGong - The Prescription For The Future - An Anthology [DVD]
Price: £35.51

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want to learn T'ai chi, buy this!, 26 Nov. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this DVD two weeks ago and so far things are going really well. I have learned nearly half of the twenty minute T'ai chi routine (form) already! I am really enjoying it too. It is very simple to follow (the form is broken down into managabe mini lessons), and if you do find anything a little tricky, simply replay that lesson as many times as you like until you get the movements into your head. I think I am learing much faster than I would if I were going to lessons, although I suppose this is basically like having lessons in your living room, whenever you like. One thing to bear in mind is that you need a reasonable amount of space to be able to do the movements, as you are required to slowly move around; but nothing excessive. Common sense though, I suppose. Bill douglas is very non-threatening, so being a beginner is not a problem. I would give this 5 stars, but perhaps it doesn't go into quite enough detail as regards the mystical/physiological effects, and also the scenery could be a little more imaginative as regards tranquility. However, these are minor points. I think T'ai chi is about doing, and feeling, and once you have been through this DVD you can continue to learn and practice by yourself: relaxing, centering, flowing. In short, I feel that I could not have found anything better for my money. A lifetime of T'ai chi simply and effectively. If you want to go on and learn more later, you can; but start here!


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