Fun grammar guides for English

Former editor, Caroline Taggart, has written a series of books on punctuation, grammar, and spelling, that all contain her trademark humorous approach to the subject. Take a look at some of these books at the library.

Syndetics book coverThe Accidental Apostrophe: Colour and Discover [paperback]
“In Roman times, blocks of text were commonly written just as blocks without even wordspacingnevermindpunctuation to help the reader to interpret them. Bestselling author Caroline Taggart brings her usual gently humorous approach to punctuation, pointing out what really matters and what doesn’t; why using six exclamation marks where one will do is perfectly OK in a text but will lose you marks at school; why hang glider pilots in training really need a hyphen; and how throwing in the odd semicolon will impress your friends. Sometimes opinionated but never dogmatic, she is an ideal guide to the (perceived) minefield that is punctuation.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKicking the bucket at the drop of a hat : the meaning and origins of popular expressions / Caroline Taggart.
“A fascinating collection of the many unusual and vibrant phrases that adorn our language, looking at their origins and meanings. Don’t be down in the dumps if you can’t cut the mustard when asked the definition of certain phrases – this down-to-earth guide is just the ticket. From advertising to the Ancient Greeks, from the military to meteorology, Kicking the Bucket at the Drop of a Hat takes us on a wonderful journey through our language’s history. With more phrases than you can shake a stick at, this collection will bring home the bacon for any Tom, Dick or Harry with a love of language.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMisadventures in the English language / Caroline Taggart.
“This book looks at some of the controversial aspects of English usage–grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation–and tries to assess what matters and what doesn’t. Looking at why it pays to be precise in punctuation–the hackneyed examples of “Let’s eat Grandma” and “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” show how a comma can make all the difference–why tautologies are simply annoying; and how corporate speak can actually mean nothing at all; this book covers the aspects of the English language that could leave you with cause for concern. By turns an explanation of the rules, a rant against gobbledygook and other modern horrors, this book will aid you in avoiding embarrassing cliches and jargon, and help you put your words in the right places.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollins little book of grammar secrets / Caroline Taggart.
“Let’s admit it, we all struggle with Grammar. There, they’re or their? Who’s or whose? Me or I? Fewer or less? Worry no more, Caroline is here to take the grind out of grammar in easy bite-sized chunks. With insights into hyphens and the dreaded apostrophe, comparatives and superlatives and whether England is singular or plural, she offers clear but light-hearted advice on getting things right when it matters – and relaxing just a little when it doesn’t.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover500 words you should know / Caroline Taggart.
“Ever wanted to ameliorate your atavistic lexicon, engage in a little intellectual badinage or been discombobulated by tricky diction? 500 Words You Should Know has you covered. This book will inspire the reader to use uncommon words in their correct context, utilize the English language to its full potential, and test themselves on the words they think they already know. This veracious cornucopia of knowledge will have you confabulating with the literary cognoscenti in no time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAs right as rain : the meaning and origins of popular expressions / Caroline Taggart.
“Would you be down in the dumps if, when asked the definition of certain phrases, it was all Greek to you? Let’s not beat about the bush: the English language is littered with linguistic quirks, which, out of context, seem completely peculiar. If you can’t quite cut the mustard, this book will explain how on earth ‘off the cuff’ came to express improvisation, why a ‘gut feeling’ is more intuitive than a brainwave, and who the heck is ‘happy’ Larry. These expressions and countless more become a piece of cake once you’ve read As Right as Rain.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy grammar and I (or should that be ‘me’?) : old-school ways to sharpen your English / Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines
My Grammar and I offers amusing examples of awful grammar, while steering you in the direction of grammatical greatness. Taking you on a tour of the English language through the minefield of rules and conditions that can catch you out, from dangling modifiers to split infinitives, it highlights the common pitfalls that every English language user faces on a day to day basis. Refreshing everything you should have learnt at school and more, My Grammar and I is informative yet entertaining.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

New books in Spanish

If you enjoy reading novels in languages other than English, then Wellington City Libraries has some great new additions in Spanish for you.

Syndetics book coverRetrato en sepia / Isabel Allende.
“En el Chile del siglo XIX, Aurora del Valle sufre un trauma brutal que borra de su mente los primeros cinco años de su vida. Criada por su ambiciosa abuela, Paulina del Valle, crece en un ambiente privilegiado, libre de las limitaciones que circunscriben las vidas de las mujeres en aquella época, pero atormentada por horribles pesadillas. Cuando debe afrontar la traición del hombre al que ama y la soledad, Aurora decide explorar el misterio de su pasado.”

“Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that shapes her character and erases from her mind all recollection of the first five years of her life. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, the regal and commanding Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, free of the limitations that circumscribe the lives of women at that time, but tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she decides to explore the mystery of her past.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLa niña alemana : una novela / Armando Lucas Correa.
“Una novela inolvidable ambientada en el Berlín de la primavera de 1939, la Cuba pre- y postrevolucionaria y el Nueva York después del 11 de septiembre. Antes de que todo se desmoronara, Hannah Rosenthal y sus padres tenían una vida encantadora. Su familia, una de las más distinguidas en los altos círculos sociales berlineses, era admirada por amigos y vecinos. Ahora en 1939, Berlín se ha teñido de los colores blanco, rojo y negro de una bandera que no reconocen como suya. Hannah se refugia con su mejor amigo, Leo Martin, en los callejones y parques de una ciudad que ya no los quiere. Los dos niños hacen un pacto: pase lo que pase, se prometen un futuro juntos. Un rayo de esperanza les llega a los Rosenthal y los Martin: el Saint Louis, un enorme y lujoso trasatlántico partirá de Hamburgo a Cuba con más de novecientos refugiados judíos.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

“An unforgettable novel set in Berlin in the spring of 1939, pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba and New York after September 11. Before everything collapsed, Hannah Rosenthal and her parents had a lovely life. Her family, one of the most distinguished in Berlin’s upper social circles, was admired by friends and neighbors. Now in 1939, Berlin has dyed the white, red and black colors of a flag they do not recognize as theirs. Hannah takes refuge with her best friend, Leo Martin, in the alleys and parks of a city that no longer loves them. The two children make a pact: no matter what happens, they promise a future together. A ray of hope comes to the Rosenthal and the Martin: St. Louis, a huge and luxurious ocean liner, will depart from Hamburg to Cuba with more than nine hundred Jewish refugees.” (Translated from the abridged Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmuleto / Roberto Bolaño.
“Todo cambia para ella el 18 de septiembre de 1968, cuando el ejército toma posesión del campus de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y ella queda encerrada en los baños de la facultad de filosofía y letras. A lo largo de trece días de encierro y aislamiento forzados, ante sus ojos transitan la poetisa Lilian Serpas, amante del Che Guevara; los poetas españoles León Felipe y Pedro Garfias; el malogrado alter ego de Bolaño Arturo Belano. ” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

“Everything changes for her on September 18, 1968, when the army takes possession of the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and she is locked in the bathrooms of the faculty of philosophy and letters. During thirteen days of forced confinement and isolation, before her eyes pass the poet Lilian Serpas, lover of Che Guevara; the Spanish poets Leon Felipe and Pedro Garfias; the ill-fated alter ego of Bolaño Arturo Belano.” (Translated from the abridged Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverTres novelas exóticas / Rodrigo Rey Rosa.
Un viaje al corazón de la naturaleza humana a través de tres obras maestras cortas. Las novelas escritas por los guatemaltecos son, por definición, exóticas: las novelas guatemaltecas situadas en las selvas de Petén, en el norte de África o en el sur de la India no tienen el encanto de la extrañeza, sino estrictamente hablando, , “declara el autor en la introducción a este memorable volumen.” (Translated from the English Syndetics summary).

“A journey to the heart of human nature through three short masterpieces. “Novels written by Guatemalans are, by definition, exotic. Guatemalan novels set in the jungles of Petén, in North Africa, or in the south of India might not have the charm of strangeness, but strictly speaking, they should be called ‘exotic’,” declares the author in the introduction to this memorable volume.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUna promesa en el fin del mundo / Sarah Lark ; illustraciones de Tina Dreher ; traducción de Susana Andrés.
Traducción de: Eine Hoffnung am Ende der Welt. En el caos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, los adolescentes polacos Helena y Luzyna Grabowski son enviados a un campo de refugiados en Persia, donde los días venideros sólo mantienen la oscuridad. Cuando escuchan que los huérfanos están siendo seleccionados para ser trasladados a Nueva Zelanda, Helena está llena de esperanza, pero los funcionarios dicen que sólo tienen un lugar para su hermana menor. En la mañana que va a ser transportada, Luzyna no se une al grupo elegido, y Helena toma su lugar. A pesar de que la gente de Nueva Zelanda la abraza, los traumas que Helena ha sufrido amenazan su paz y la ciegan ante la devoción de James, un encantador y heroico joven piloto aliado. ¿Puede salir de la larga sombra de su pasado para encontrar un futuro hecho entero – una nueva comunidad, una nueva familia, un nuevo amor?” (Translated from the English Syndetics summary)

“Translation of: Eine Hoffnung am Ende der Welt. In the chaos of World War II, Polish teenagers Helena and Luzyna Grabowski are shipped to a refugee camp in Persia, where the days ahead hold only darkness. When they hear that orphans are being selected for relocation to New Zealand, Helena is filled with hope, but the officials say they have a place only for her younger sister. On the morning she is to be transported, Luzyna fails to join the chosen group, and Helena takes her place. Though the people in New Zealand embrace her, the traumas Helena has suffered threaten her peace and blind her to the devotion of James, a charming, heroic young Allied pilot. Can she step out of the long shadow of her past to find a future made whole– a new community, a new family, a new love?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLogia : el enigma de la cuarta carabela / Francisco Ortega.
“Sin saberlo, tres famosos escritores de bestseller trabajan en el mismo libro. Cuando dos de ellos mueren en extra circunstancias, el tercero -Elias Miele, novelista chileno radicado en Estados Unidos- se obsesiona con desentrañar las intrigas que giran en torno a esta misteriosa novela: La Cuarta Carabela.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

“Unknowingly, three famous bestseller writers work on the same book. When two of them die in extra circumstances, the third-Elias Miele, a Chilean novelist based in the United States, is obsessed with the intrigues that revolve around this mysterious novel: La Fourth Caravel” (Translated from the abridged Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverCicatriz / Juan Gómez-Jurado.
“Anteriormente titulado El Mago. Simon debería sentirse afortunado. Ha desarrollado un algoritmo que le podría dar millones de dólares de una empresa multinacional de tecnología, pero él es corto de habilidades sociales y siempre solitario. Simon toma el salto en un sitio de citas en línea, donde sorprendentemente lanza un cortejo de larga distancia caliente con Irina. Pero pronto se vuelve evidente que la cicatriz en la mejilla de Irina sólo sugiere cicatrices emocionales mucho más profundas y el peligro muy palpable que ella y Simon ahora están juntos.” (Translated from the English Syndetics summary)

“Formerly titled El Mago. Simon should feel like a lucky guy. He’s developed an algorithm that could net him millions from a multinational tech firm, but he’s short on social skills and always lonely. Simon takes the leap into an online dating site, where he surprisingly easily launches a heated long-distance courtship with Irina. But soon it becomes obvious the scar on Irina’s cheek only hints at much deeper emotional scars and the very palpable peril she and Simon are now in together.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBienvenidos a Clayton Lake / Mario Escobar.
“Un grupo de amigos deciden tomarse unas cortas vacaciones al norte del estado de Maine, en las inmediaciones de Clayton Lake. La región es una de las más deshabitadas de los Estados Unidos, pero el grupo necesita relajarse y reencontrarse después de varios años sin mantener el contacto. ¿Lograrán enfrentarse a sus temores más ocultos? ¿Su amistad será capaz de superar todos los obstáculos?” (Abridged from the Amazon summary)

“A group of friends decide to take a short vacation north of the state of Maine, in the vicinity of Clayton Lake. The region is one of the most uninhabited in the United States, but the group needs to relax and re-encounter after several years without maintaining contact. Will they be able to face their most hidden fears? Will your friendship be able to overcome all obstacles?” (Translated from the abridged Amazon summary)

Quick language learning for travel – New Languages books

Are you travelling somewhere? Do you need to learn a few useful phrases in a short amount of time? Wellington City Libraries has a great selection of phrasebooks by the very popular travel publisher Lonely Planet. These short, accessible phrasebooks provide you with quick, useful phrases to use when travelling. Phrasebooks are available for countries where more than one language is spoken, such as China and India, and include many of the languages spoken in each. There are even phrasebooks for the same language, but which is used in different countries, such as Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, and Spanish for Spain! Phrasebooks are free to borrow and can be issued for three weeks.

Syndetics book coverHindi, Urdu & Bengali phrasebook & dictionary / product editor, Jenna Myers.
Lonely Planet’s Hindi, Urdu & Bengali Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Get more from your multi-country trip with easy-to-find phrases for Hindi, Urdu & Bengali. Ask for directions in dynamic Delhi, book a river trip through Bangladeshi countryside, or haggle like a local at street bazaars; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Coverage Includes: Hindi, Urdu & Bengali.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKorean phrasebook & dictionary.
Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Korean phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Order kim chi like a local, get in-the-know recommendations of the best sights and things to do and buy souvenirs with ease; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Japanese phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Get to know your sushi from your sake, enjoy an elaborate tea ceremony with its centuries’-old conventions, and find your way elaborate transit maps; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChina phrasebook & dictionary / editors, Francesca Coles [and three others].
Lonely Planet China Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Get more from your multi-country trip with easy-to-find phrases for Mandarin, Cantonese, Chaozhou, Dongbei Hua, Hakka, Hunanese, Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Xi’an, Yunnan Hua, Zhuang, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Coverage Includes: Mandarin, Cantonese, Chaozhou, Dongbei Hua, Hakka, Hunanese, Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Xi’an, Yunnan Hua, Zhuang, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEurope phrasebook & dictionary / editors, Branislava Vladisavljevic, Tracy Whitmey.
Lonely Planet Europe Phrasebook & Language guide is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with relevant travel phrases and vocabulary. Get more from your trip with easy-to-find phrases for Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. With language tools in hand, get to the heart of wherever you go! Coverage Includes: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpanish phrasebook & dictionary.
Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Spanish phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Enjoy the thrilling conversation with a local over sangria, ask about a tucked-away a tablao flamenco or eat your way through a tapas menu; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Italian phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Order an espresso like a local, ask shop keepers about the latest fashions and bargain for fresh produce at the market; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!” (Abridged from the Syndetics summary)

New community language books

Here are some new community language books that have been added in German, Spanish and French.

Ein ganzes Leben : Roman / Robert Seethaler.
“Als Andreas Egger in das Tal kommt, in dem er sein Leben verbringen wird, ist er etwa vier Jahre alt – niemand weiß genau, wie alt er ist. Er bedient seinen Onkel als Bauernhofhand, und schließt sich später Arbeiter an, die eine Eisenbahn bauen und Strom mit Licht und Lärm in das Tal bringen. Der Tag kommt, wenn Egger Marie trifft, die Liebe seines Lebens, die er schließlich verlieren wird. Nur viele Jahre später, am Ende von Eggers Reise, wird sie wieder an seiner Seite sein. Und er blickt überrascht zurück über die Jahre, die hinter ihm liegen.” (Übersetzt aus dem Deckel) (Adapted from Amazon)

“When Andreas Egger arrives in the valley in which he will spend his life, he is about four years old–no one knows exactly how old he is. He serves his uncle as a farm hand, and later joins workers building a railway and bringing electricity, along with light and noise, to the valley. The day comes when Egger meets Marie, the love of his life, whom he will eventually lose. Only many years later, at the end of Egger’s journey, will she be by his side again. And he looks back with surprise on the years that lie behind him.” (Translated from the cover) (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLa espía / Paulo Coelho ; traducido del portugués por Pilar Obón
“En su nueva novela, Paulo Coelho da vida a una de las mujeres más enigmáticas de la historia: Mata Hari, acusada de espionaje durante la Primera Guerra Mundial. Aunque había pocas pruebas para incriminarla, no podía evitar la persecución y el enjuiciamiento por parte de la inteligencia militar francesa.”
(Abridged from Syndetics)

“In his new novel, Paulo Coelho gives life to one of the most enigmatic women in history: Mata Hari, who was accused of espionage during the First World War. Although there was little evidence to incriminate her, she could not escape persecution and prosecution by French military intelligence.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLos perros descalzos / Antonio Ruiz-Camacho ; traducción del autor.
“En una noche como cualquier otra, José Victoriano Arteaga, el patriarca de una próspera familia de la ciudad de México, desaparece sin dejar rastro mientras maneja a su casa luego de un día de trabajo. Los Arteaga encuentran pocas respuetes con pistas perturbadoras del paradero del abuelo, comienzan su éxodo a distintas ciudades del mundo para tratar de rehacer sus vidas.” –Page 4 of cover. (Syndetics summary)

“A debut collection of linked stories that follow the members of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile–to Madrid, New York, Austin, Palo Alto–when the patriarch of their family is kidnapped.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverToda la vida / Héctor Aguilar Camín.
“Serrano, Felo, Pato y Liliana están envueltos en una enmarañada red de silencio, traiciones y obsesiones contradictorias que se desentrañan con la muerte de un conocido mutuo. Una vida sin sentido es un viaje nostálgico a través del terreno perdido de la vida bohemia en la Ciudad de México, una investigación literaria sobre cómo se escriben las novelas y un recordatorio de la Podrida relación entre la policía y la política en el México del antiguo régimen.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

“Serrano, Felo, Pato, and Liliana are involved in a tangled web of silence, betrayals, and conflicting obsessions that is unraveled by the death of a mutual acquaintance. A moral-less fable about the abysses of fatal love, ambition, and delusions, For a Lifetime is also a nostalgic tour through the lost terrain of bohemian life in Mexico City, a literary inquiry about how novels are written, and a reminder of the rotten relationship between the police and politics in the Mexico of the old regime.”(Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverParis-Austerlitz / Rafael Chirbes.
“El narrador de esta historia, un pintor madrileño, recuerda los pasos que han llevado al último viaje de su relación con Michel Michel, el hombre que llevó a este pintor a su casa, a su cama ya su vida cuando Este joven se quedó sin hogar en París, Michel ahora está muriendo.”(Resumen Syndetics).

The narrator of this story, a painter from Madrid, recalls the steps that have led to the last journey of his relationship with Michel. Michel, the man who took in this painter to his home, to his bed, and in his life when this youngster became homeless in Paris. Michel is now dying.” (Syndetics summary)

Trois jours et une vie : roman / Pierre Lemaitre.
“À la fin de décembre 1999, une surprenante série d’événements tragiques s’abattit sur Beauval, au premier rang desquels, bien sûr, la disparition du petit Rémi Desmedt. Dans cette région couverte de forêts, soumise à des rythmes lents, la disparition soudaine de cet enfant provoqua la stupeur et fut même considérée, par bien des habitants, comme le signe annonciateur des catastrophes à venir. Pour Antoine, qui fut au centre de ce drame, tout commença par la mort du chien …” (Syndetics summary)

“At the end of December 1999, a surprising series of tragic events broke out over Beauval, foremost among them, of course, the disappearance of little Rémi Desmedt. The sudden disappearance of this child provoked amazement and was even regarded by many as a sign of the catastrophe to come. And Antony, who was at the center of this drama, everything began with the death of the dog … ” -Page 4 of cover. (Syndetics summary)

Learn another language

Did you know that Wellington City Library has kits you can borrow to learn other languages? These kits contain CDs, and sometimes a book, to help you practise and learn languages. They can be borrowed for $3 for 4 weeks. One popular series of kits is the Michel Thomas Method, which begins with “Start”, moves to “Total”, then to “Perfect”, before finishing in some languages with “Masterclass”.

Which course level is right for you?
Start: One hour introduction to a language.
Total: Jump into a language as a beginner and build your understanding from the ground-up.
Perfect: Pave your way to fluency in a language after undertaking the Total course.
Masterclass: Round out your language ability in unique, one-on-one lectures.

Syndetics book coverStart French. Beginner [sound recording]
“Learn 50 essential words at the heart of French and how to put them together to make yourself understood. This 1-hour introduction to the Michel Thomas method will have you speaking real French straight away. There are no books, no pens, and no memorizing – just listen, connect and speak. Use the unique method perfected over fifty years by the celebrated psychologist and linguist Michel Thomas. This method works with your brain, helping you to build up your French in manageable, enjoyable steps by thinking out the answers for yourself. You will join Michel and two students in a live lesson and within the one hour you will be able to construct simple phrases. By the end, you will have the confidence to understand and speak many essentials of French.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTotal German effortless learning.
“Learn German – Instantly. No books. No writing. No memorizing. Take your time going over each section, step by step, until you have understood and absorbed the material. As Michel Thomas said, “What you understand, you know; and what you know, you don’t forget. You will learn German in “real-time” conditions. There is no need to stop for homework, additional exercises, or vocabulary memorization. Learn German the way you learned your own language. You learned your own language naturally: now you can learn German in the same way. The course helps you to build up your German in manageable steps by enabling you to think the answers out yourself. You will learn through listening and speaking, without the pressure of writing or memorizing.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPerfect Italian. Intermediate to advanced.
“Take your Italian to the next level with this great continuation to the Total course in the Michel Thomas series. No books. No writing. No memorizing. Join the millions of people worldwide who have learned a new language with the Michel Thomas method. Up to 9 hours of audio material on CD.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMasterclass Spanish [sound recording].
“In Masterclass Spanish, Michel widens your vocabulary and teaches authentic phrases and expressions in a one-to-one seminar. The two-hour Masterclass enables you to express yourself more fully by teaching idiomatic phrases and language that will give you the edge when it comes to communicating. Masterclass Spanish consolidates everything you’ve learned in the Total and Perfect courses. Or if you’re new to Michel Thomas, this course is ideal for brushing up your language skills. The present, future, conditional and past tenses are covered, and you are taught to think about the ideas that you are trying to communicate, rather than to translate words slavishly. He points out the similarities of the vocabulary in English and Spanish and gives you the tools to guess the words you do not know, or think you do not know.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

New French Books

Here is a selection of new novels in French that have been recently added to the Community Languages collection. Enjoy!

L’horizon à l’envers : roman / Marc Levy.
“Où se situe notre conscience? Est-ce qu’on peut la transférer et la sauvegarder? Hope, Josh et Luke, étudiants en neurosciences, forment un trio inséparable, lié par une amitié inconditionnelle et une idée de génie. Lorsque l’un des trois est confronté à une mort imminente, ils décident d’explorer l’impossible et de mettre en oeuvre leur incroyable projet. Émouvante, mystérieuse, pleine d’humour aussi… une histoire d’amour hors du temps, au dénouement inoubliable. Un roman sur la vie, l’amour et la mort… parce qu’après plus rien n’est pareil.”

“Where is our consciousness? Can we transfer it and save it? Hope, Josh and Luke, students in neuroscience, form an inseparable trio, bound by an unconditional friendship and an idea of ​​genius. When one of the three faces imminent death, they decide to explore the impossible and implement their incredible project. Moving, mysterious, full of humor too … a love story out of time, unforgettable denouement. A novel about life, love and death … because after nothing is the same.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

51tLMRdAcuL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Trois jours et une vie : roman / Pierre Lemaitre.
“À la fin de décembre 1999, une surprenante série d’événements tragiques s’abattit sur Beauval, au premier rang desquels, bien sûr, la disparition du petit Rémi Desmedt. Dans cette région couverte de forêts, soumise à des rythmes lents, la disparition soudaine de cet enfant provoqua la stupeur et fut même considérée, par bien des habitants, comme le signe annonciateur des catastrophes à venir.”

“At the end of December 1999, a surprising series of tragic events broke out over Beauval, foremost among them, of course, the disappearance of little Rémi Desmedt. The sudden disappearance of this child in this forest-covered area, which was subject to slow rhythms, provoked amazement and was even regarded by many as a sign of future catastrophes.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

51hDseGj2FL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_On regrettera plus tard : roman / Agnès Ledig.
“Valentine, une institutrice dans un village des Vosges, voit sa vie bouleversée par l’arrivée d’une fille fiévreuse, Anna, et de son père Eric, meurtri par la mort de sa femme. Au-delà de l’hébergement, elle leur ouvre son coeur.”
“Valentine, a teacher in a village in the Vosges, sees her life shattered by the arrival of a feverish girl, Anna, and her father Eric, bruised by the death of his wife. Beyond the accommodation, she opens her heart to them.” (Library catalogue)

51o6EyZIA3L._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_La fille de Brooklyn : roman / Guillaume Musso.
“Je me souviens très bien de cet instant. Nous étions face à la mer. L’horizon scintillait. C’est là qu’Anna m’a demandé : ” Si j’avais commis le pire, m’aimerais-tu malgré tout ? ” Vous auriez répondu quoi, vous ? Anna était la femme de ma vie. Nous devions nous marier dans trois semaines. Bien sûr que je l’aimerais quoi qu’elle ait pu faire. Intrigue diabolique, personnages uniques et attachants, suspense de tous les instants : avec La fille de Brooklyn, Guillaume Musso signe l’un de ses romans les plus ambitieux et les plus réussis.”

“I remember that moment very well. We were facing the sea. The horizon was sparkling. That’s where Anna asked me, “If I had done the worst, would you love me anyway?” “You would have answered what, you? Anna was the woman of my life. We had to get married in three weeks. Of course I would love her whatever she could have done. Devilish intrigue, unique and endearing characters, suspense at all times: with Brooklyn’s daughter, Guillaume Musso signs one of his most ambitious and successful novels.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

41zChUiCxnL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Danser les ombres : roman / Laurent Gaude.
“En ce matin de janvier, la jeune Lucine arrive de Jacmel à Port-au-Prince pour y annoncer un décès. Très vite, dans cette ville où elle a connu les heures glorieuses et sombres des manifestations étudiantes quelques années plus tôt, elle sait qu’elle ne partira plus, qu’elle est revenue construire ici l’avenir qui l’attendait. Hébergée dans une ancienne maison close, elle fait la connaissance d’un groupe d’amis qui se réunit chaque semaine pour de longues parties de dominos. Dans la cour sous les arbres, dans la douceur du temps tranquille, quelque chose frémit qui pourrait être le bonheur, qui donne l’envie d’aimer et d’accomplir sa vie. Mais, le lendemain, la terre qui tremble redistribue les cartes de toute existence.”

“On this morning of January, the young Lucine comes from Jacmel to Port-au-Prince to announce a death. Very soon, in this city where she experienced the glorious and dark hours of student demonstrations a few years earlier, she knows that she will no longer leave, that she came back to build here the future that awaited her. Hosted in a former brothel, she meets a group of friends who meet weekly for long parts of dominoes. In the courtyard under the trees, in the sweetness of quiet time, something shuddered that could be happiness, which gives the desire to love and fulfill his life. But the next day, the earth that trembles redistributes the cards of all existence.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Circuses, Magicians & Adventure

For fans of magic or magicians, in the setting of the carnival or a circus, here are some realist and magic-realist novels you might like to try:

Syndetics book coverThe night circus : a novel / Erin Morgenstern.
“Debut author Morgenstern doesn’t miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus. Celia is a five-year-old with untrained psychokinetic powers when she is unceremoniously dumped on her unsuspecting father, Hector Bowen, better known as Le Cirque des Reves’ Prospero the Entertainer. Hector immediately hatches a sinister scheme for Celia: pit her against a rival’s young magician in an epic battle of magic that will, by design, result in the death of one of the players, though neither Celia nor her adversary, Marco, is informed of the inevitable outcome. What neither Hector nor his rival count on is that Celia and Marco will eventually fall in love. Their mentors-Marco’s mentor, Alexander, plucked him from the London streets due to his psychic abilities-attempt to intervene with little success as Celia and Marco barrel toward an unexpected and oddly fitting conclusion. Supporting characters-such as Bailey, a farm boy who befriends a set of twins born into the circus who will drastically influence his future; Isobel, a circus employee and onetime girlfriend of Marco’s; and theatrical producer Chandresh Christophe Lefevre-are perfectly realized and live easily in a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverWater for elephants / Sara Gruen.Water for Elephants
“An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of “Riding Lessons.” “Gritty, sensual and charged with dark secrets involving love, murder and a majestic, mute heroine (Rosie the Elephant).”Q”Parade.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMechanique : a tale of the Circus Tresaulti / Genevieve Valentine.
“Come inside and take a seat; the show is about to begin… Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic. That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape. But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes. Two of Tresaulti’s performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe princess bride : S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure / the “good parts” version, abridged by William Goldman.The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
“In this 30th anniversary edition, Goldman frames the famous fairy tale with an “autobiographical” story; his father had abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts that had been cut out.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe prestige / Christopher Priest.The Prestige
“Two 19th century stage illusionists, the aristocratic Rupert Angier and the working-class Alfred Borden, engage in a bitter and deadly feud; the effects are still being felt by their respective families a hundred years later. Working in the gaslight-and-velvet world of Victorian music halls, they prowl edgily in the background of each other’s shadowy life, driven to the extremes by a deadly combination of obsessive secrecy and insatiable curiosity. At the heart of the row is an amazing illusion they both perform during their stage acts. The secret of the magic is simple, and the reader is in on it almost from the start, but to the antagonists the real mystery lies deeper. Both have something more to hide than the mere workings of a trick.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverNights at the circus / Angela Carter ; with an introduction by Sarah Waters.
“Angela Carter has influenced a whole generation of fellow writers towards dream worlds of baroque splendour, fairy tale horror, and visions of the alienated wreckage of a future world. In Nights at the Circus she has invented a new, raunchy, raucous, Cockney voice for her heroine Fevvers, taking us back into a rich, turn of the 19th century world, which reeks of human and animal variety.” (Amazon.co.uk)