I worked for an online website CelebrityCafe.com back in 2009. I wrote celebrity news, TV recaps, and reviews. Recently I noticed my articles have disappeared off the site so I’m taking some of my favorite work, and posting it on this page. Below is one of my book reviews.
Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy
Elizabeth Bingham Ph.D.
World Prospect Press
A crash course for new travelers to Italy. Learn culture and very basic language to help travel with confidence through a foreign country.
“Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy” is Elizabeth Bingham, Ph.D. second published book, the first book being “German Survival Guide.” Bingham’s “Italian Survival Guild” intentions are to help the reader learn the basics of travel, language, and culture in a little amount of time.
This is not a travel guide for landmarks to see or restaurants to eat at. This is a travel guide for language and culture. Bingham’s book is in seven sections each one on an important topic of traveling. The topics are sorted well and in a useful order. Bingham separates the proper vocabulary in the accurate sections.
The vocabulary is bare basics and all of it essentials. Bingham doesn’t riddle the book with “the dog is on the chair” examples. The terminology is what a person would use when traveling. If you are fluent in Italian, you may find this book ineffective. This book doesn’t come with a CD and I don’t think it needs one. Every term comes with the meaning and the phonetics so there is no question on how a word should be pronounce.
The end of every lesson, chapter, and the book is a review test to help keep what was just read in the head. Short on time Bingham says you can skip the quizzes but I feel you can’t really learn and retain the words without proper time on the subject.
It doesn’t look like this book would be hard to use in Italy either. On the front and back covers is a survival summary of all the vocabulary, meaning, and phonetics all neatly characterize in labeled columns. Located in the back of the book it also a small Italian-English and English-Italian dictionary.
I did skim over some of the sections when I felt they didn’t apply to me and I didn’t feel I really missed anything. If there is anything she had mention in an early section Bingham feels you should review she does tell the reader where to refer back.
The Italian culture was also separated into each section under the appropriate terms. Bingham has made the culture sections easy to read throughout the book and made the tips very practical. She talks about the differences that may be experienced between American and Italian culture. She teaches woman not to be shocked at hollering men, differences in coffee, and money. She gives safety tips to help the traveler stay aware of crime. Sometimes I wish she would have elaborated on certain subjects. For me the currency only made me more confused and worried about what I may face in Italy or what attire is suitable for travel since I cannot change what is in my closet. Also I didn’t feel confident on the directions given on church attire.
Bingham’s book set out to give confidence to a new traveler with limited time to learn language and culture of a foreign country. I think you do need at least a month’s time of everyday study to be confident in a foreign language completely. I do feel see taught a different culture with understanding and ease. I do feel a little bit better traveling to Italy with some of the knowledge and words I have grasp from this book.