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Book Review: Compelling Conversations
By Sheryl Faber

Compelling Conversation: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics, written by Eric H. Roth and Toni Aberson is a conversation and study guide for students of advanced courses in English as a Second Language (ESL). It provides a variety of interesting and intriguing topics which the class can feed from to help them become more comfortable with learning and speaking a new language easily and effortlessly with others, both in and out of the classroom.

Many students who take ESL classes fail to go beyond the basics in grammar, conversation and sentence structure, and comprehending the English language with all of its intricacies.

The topics covered in the manual gently challenges students to push themselves into wanting to understand and comprehend even the most difficult of words and phrases. What makes this book extremely useful is:

The fact that the student who utilize these conversation topics in a group setting will learn more than just language skills. Several references to history, famous speakers and writers are made in the many quotes used throughout the instructions .

The manual has, as the title suggests, a timelessness to its content. Ten years from now the subject matter used will still be pertinent. It is also arranged so that if further editions were published, the book would be very easy to update and enlarge.

This book is meant to be used in a group setting. Not only will students learn new words but they will also be exposed to modern social skills and other intricacies of group dynamics.

Students will be challenged by the many quotes in this book from famous personalities such as Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson and Peter Drucker. Many of the sayings are not grammatically correct, opening up more discussion as to dialogue, proper wording, etc. If some of the quotes were actually grammatically correct, they would probably lose their meaning and impact - a great topic for students to discuss.

Not only is the book based on American topics, there are also many writers, politicians, and famous people from other countries included such as Maxim Gorky (Russia), Albert Camus (France) and Baltasar Gracian (Spain), which will help students from other countries feel more comfortable in learning English. Many of the questions and vocabulary words will help students in real life. Often English language courses consist of phrases and terminology that ordinary people will never use.

Compelling Conversations does just the opposite - it provides the basis for a learning environment with tools that real people can actually utilize in real life and the real word. Yes, this book is for advanced ESL students but it is at level that all such individuals should strive to learn.

It will escalate careers and relationships in the English-speaking world and that should be the goal for success-minded ESL students.

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Compelling Conversations:
Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics
An engaging ESL textbook for Advanced ESL students

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