Roth and Aberson return with the next installment of their Compelling Conversations series (Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics, 2007), presenting conversation topics, activity ideas and interesting quotes for Vietnamese students of the English language.
A combination textbook and workbook for “Advanced Vietnamese English Language Learners,” this book includes activities to execute with conversation partners or as part of a class, lists of vocabulary with clear definitions and proverbs and quotations revolving around each chapter’s theme. Some self-directed activities, such as documenting observations of other people’s speech patterns, are suggested in the margins. Specific chapter themes cover eating and drinking, making and keeping friends, exploring cities, talking about movies, school stories and bridging differences between strangers and cultures. The book’s appendix contains evaluation sheets for class presentations, interview sheets for student-stranger interactions and lists of vocabulary words without definitions (definitions are provided in the chapters themselves). There is some confusion about the audience of the book. Many sections direct the reader to break into groups and discuss themselves or specific quotations, implying that the book is not intended for learners studying on their own, but for groups or classes. The book seems most useful as a resource for teachers, and yet many portions directly address students. As the book currently exists, the teacher must adapt the sample responses and quotations if they wish to deploy that content in class. Despite these issues, the book has a number of strengths and the authors are veteran teachers whose experience is reflected in the book’s content. The conversation topics are useful and the proverbs, quotes and vocabulary are all appropriate for advanced Vietnamese EFL students. The book seems like it would be most effective for Vietnamese students studying in Vietnam, students who have little to no experience travelling abroad or limited access to native speakers of English. However, themes like “Eating and Drinking” will seem too basic for advanced speakers of English who have lived abroad or grown up in the U.S. or Australia.
A slim, basic but solid activity and conversation book for teachers looking for direction in their English as a Foreign Language classes.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)