Paperback eBook


PAGES: 288

TRIM SIZE: 5.5 x 8.25

ISBN: 978-1-61620-020-6

LIST PRICE: $15.95


PAGES: 288

William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. To sip absinthe at the window of a dark café, a long scarf wrapped around his neck, a copy of Le Monde at hand. Among the things that have stood in his way of becoming French, though, is the fact that he can’t actually speak the language. So Alexander sets out to conquer the language he loves. Readers will find out if it loves him back.

Alexander eats, sleeps, and dreams French. (He even conjugates in his dreams.) And while he’s playing hooky from grammar lessons and memory techniques, he travels to France, delves into the colorful history of the French language and the science of linguistics, and even goes to Google to find out what’s taking them so long to perfect translation software. Finally, he contemplates how it can be that in French, breasts are masculine and beards are feminine, and tries to make sense of idioms like c’est la fin des haricots (it’s the end of the beans)—which means, appropriately enough, “it’s hopeless.” But ca ne fait rien! (No matter!) What Bill Alexander learns while not learning French is its own reward.


Flirting with French is hilarious and touching, all the way to the surprise ending. In this “travelogue” about learning French, William Alexander proves that learning a new language is an adventure of its own -- with all the unexpected obstacles, surprising breakthroughs and moments of sublime pleasure traveling brings.” – Julie Barlow, author of Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong

 Flirting with French is far more than a fling; it’s a deep love affair. A blend of passion and neuroscience, this literary love affair offers surprise insights into the human brain and the benefits of learning a second language. Reading William Alexander's book is akin to having an MRI of the soul. A surprise delight that will ignite desire in every reader.” – Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of Sleeping Arrangements 

 “I could so relate to William Alexander’s insecurities—and ecstasies—while pursuing his major crush: France and her seductive language. Reading Flirting with French motivates me to continue courting the language, no matter how often I’m stood up mid-sentence!” – Kristen Espinasse, author of Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France and founder of French

 “Funny, informative, well-written, Flirting with French is a delightful and courageous tale and a romping good read. Voila!” – Mark Greenside, author of I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do)

Meet the author

Alexander_author_web_rgb_HR Photo Credit: Katherine Alexander

William Alexander, the author of Flirting with French and two critically acclaimed books, lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. By day the IT director at a research institute, he made his professional writing debut at the age of fifty-three with a national bestseller about gardening, The $64 Tomato. His second book, 52 Loaves, chronicled his quest to bake the perfect loaf of bread, a journey that took him to such far-flung places as a communal oven in Morocco and an abbey in France, as well as into his own backyard to grow, thresh, and winnow wheat. The Boston Globe called Alexander “wildly entertaining,” the New York Times raved that “his timing and his delivery are flawless,” and the Minneapolis Star Tribune observed that “the world would be a less interesting place without the William Alexanders who walk among us.” A 2006 Quill Book Awards finalist, Alexander won a Bert Greene Award from the IACP for his article on bread, published in Saveur magazine. A passion bordering on obsession unifies all his writing. He has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and at the National Book Festival in Washington DC and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times op-ed pages, where he has opined on such issues as the Christmas tree threatening to ignite his living room and the difficulties of being organic. Now, in Flirting with French, he turns his considerable writing talents to his perhaps less considerable skills: becoming fluent in the beautiful but maddeningly illogical French language.