- Fizzy Thoughts: Words in a French Life

Words in a French Life

Monday, April 13, 2009

Words in a French Life
Kristin Espinasse
May 2007
304 pages

Evidently this book is taken from blog posts, as the author has a blog, french-word-a-day.com. Each short chapter is based on either a French word or phrase, and the author then tells a short story featuring her life in France or her family. Often, the story involves her continuing struggle with the intricacies of the French language.

This is an entertaining book, although some of the stories are a bit out of context, especially since the book/words are not in chronological order. Also, there is no pronunciation guide (although occasional tips are offered), so some knowledge of French would be helpful.

I bought this book a few years ago, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe I thought it would offer a distraction to the frustrating beginning Italian class I was most likely taking at that time? Whatever it was, I started it, but never finished. Literate Housewife’s post about her new found interest in France prompted me to pick the book back up, quickly read it, and then send it off to someone who will most likely appreciate it way more than I did.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if I learned anything? The only word or phrase that has stuck with me is beurk…gross!

11 comment(s):

marta said...

I have this book and I've made it about half way through. I thought it would be a good followup to my French classes. :)

I agree that is is much better as a blog. I read her blog and it has great pictures and pronunciations that you can play. I like it much better. The book does give you background on how she came to France, etc which can enhance the blog.

Beth F said...

Thanks. I've been very slightly curious about this one. Now I know to let it go.

J.S. Peyton said...

The book sounds okay,but the blog sounds great! I don't know much about France except that David Sedaris lives there now, and that he took a French class there once, which he hilariously recounts in "Dress Your Family in Corduroy."

bermudaonion said...

Since we lived in France for 2 years, this sounds like a book I could really relate to.

Tammy said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one to have picked up this book! Although I have to admit, I focused on the "French life" portion of the title and managed to miss the "words" portion, so I was quite surprised when I opened it up and discovered it was actually about French words and not about life in France (doh!). I'm going to hang on to it, just in case I ever get the trip to Paris.

Literate Housewife said...

I have much enjoyed this book, although I've only read a few sections so far. I agree with you about pronunciations, though. This
American has trouble as it is without them. LOL!

Check out my latest post ~ you're a winner! List Randomizer apparently thought it was about time I reciprocated your bookish generosity!


Stephanie said...

Oh, this sounds fun! :) My husband is from Belgium, so we speak French at home (and out and about!) when we want some conversational privacy.

And beurk! is one we use a lot around here, lol!

Kristin said...

Hi Jill,

Thank you for featuring my book! I am happy to read the feedback and invite you to continue reading the stories at my blog (merci, Jill, for having included the link :-)

As for pronunciation, the publisher included a sound guide for the chapter title only. Good news: at the website, you will have access to an audio file for the word in question.

I would love to add pronunciation for each word in the vocabulary section but, sadly, my French is not the best (I count on my children and husband to help out with these sound files. But with work and school, they are often absent...). The other is an issue of time: with the various columns at word-a-day (the word, the story, the audio, the expressions section), I am unable to include a sound guide for each term, but choose to focus on the "word of the day".


bkclubcare said...

How fun! I'm off to go explore the website.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've always wanted to learn how to speak French and I just love to listen to it in an audiobook.

softdrink said...


Thanks for stopping by! I've been enjoying your website. Lovely photos...makes me dream of a visit to France. :-)

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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