Reviews Of Spanish Instruction Books
These are three books I picked up. I haven’t read them for years but I can still give you an impression of what I thought of them.
Breaking Out Of Beginner’s Spanish – This guy is good… and this book rocks. If you don’t know much about Spanish don’t make this your first book. It’s not for people new to the language. People who are at an intermediate level will probably get the most use from it. If you’re at that level this book is a Godsend for using the language more naturally and with less Gringo errors. He also covers some slang and idioms.
My one gripe with this book is it’s too focused on Mexican Spanish (some readers will consider that a bonus- depends on your situation) instead of neutral Spanish, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from reading this- I recommend it.
If you get this book I don’t recommend rushing though it. It’s better to read it in small doses. There’s so much info you can end up overloaded. I read this years back and went through it fast and probably only absorbed ten percent of what I should have.
Speaking Spanish Like A Native – This book came out years after the above book by a different author. It’s similar and targeting the same type of reader; people that already have a grasp of Spanish.
If you have to choose between this book and the one above, I liked the other book better (reading it first may be part of the reason). If you finish the first book and are still thirsty for more then consider this one.
It’s been a few years since going through this book also but I remember having the same gripe- it’s a little too focused on Mexican Spanish.
Note: I see there are only used copies available right now (with no Kindle option) and they’re all $22 or more, so that’s another strike against it.
Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook – This woman is based in Madrid so I’m assuming she’s a Spaniard. If you are heading to Spain or want to talk with Spaniards I think you’ll find this book very handy and practical. Most of the phrasebook is useful phrases for friends. There are no phonetic translations so you’ll need to have your pronunciation down well.
I don’t recommend it quite as much if you are more interested in Latin American Spanish. In the book she does have some phrases labeled for Latin America but even those are grenades sometimes. An example is her translation of “How do you know each other?” She uses “¿De qué se conocen?” instead of the much more common “¿Cómo se conocen?”
I see she has a newer version out- I haven’t read that one. I linked to the version I read. She also has another book with almost the same title- Spanish Among Amigos. It has a similar vibe but it’s more of a workbook. I didn’t like it as much.