Thursday, September 17, 2015

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen


Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
by Mary Norris
narrated by the author
Recorded Books, 2015
8 hours and 10 minutes
source: purchased with audible credit

Quick thoughts:

Mary Norris has spent over three decades in The New Yorker's  copy department and in this new memoir, her love of language and usage shines. It's a very good book, even laugh-out-loud funny at times, and I thoroughly enjoyed her narration. But maybe I'm not quite as much of a grammar nerd as I thought... I didn't love the book as my 25 year old daughter did. She has plans to live tweet a reread, and is obviously the true grammar geek in our family.

A quote I liked:
Spelling is the clothing of words, their outward visible sign, and even those who favor sweatpants in everyday life like to make a bella figura,  as the Italians say - a good impression - in their prose. A misspelling undermines your authority. And an eye for a misspelled word  can give you an edge in the workplace.
My rating:



Bottom line:
Grammar geeks, language lovers, and readers of Eats, Shoots & Leaves  and The Secret Life of Pronouns  will want to mark this title as a 'must read'.

24 comments:

  1. Or it can make the other people in your workplace think you're just being a grammar nerd, while you're secretly wondering how they ever got their jobs in the first place... :)

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  2. Although I have been an editor for 31 years, I haven't read this yet. Too much of a busman's holiday?

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    1. Beth F - I think it would be for you ;-)

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  3. Hm, did your daughter read it in print or listen to it. I might check this out in print.

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    1. Kathy - My daughter read it in print, but she really is a writer/editor at heart.

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  4. This sounds funny but I know I'm not nearly enough of a grammar nerd to truly enjoy it. I'll have to get a copy in audio though and I know a couple of people who might be getting this for Christmas!

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    1. Katherine - You'd need to be at least a little bit of a grammar/punctuation nerd to really appreciate this book.

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  5. I have heard good things about this book from several sources.


    I am not a grammar totalitarian but I enjoy reading and learning about it.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I enjoy both grammar and punctuation, and can never resist a new book on the topic. This was a combination of rule reminders and personal anecdotes... lots of fun :)

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  6. I've seen some mixed reviews on this one and had even forgotten it was on my wish list until now. haha

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    1. Kathy - If you're not a big grammar geek, it's safe to pass on this one ;-)

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  7. I'm more of a stickler about misspelt words than about inappropriate grammar. Don't know about you, but I see at least one error in almost every book I read. My eyes seem to gravitate to misspelt words. It comes I think from proof reading too many legal documents in my working career and reading hundreds of books over a lifetime. Spellcheck even contributes to the problem (one letter off and it's still a word--just not the one you wanted), and what's worse now is that iPad tries to think even faster than you do and begins inserting letters to complete a word that you didn't intend at all. Oh the joys of the digital world!

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    1. JudyMac - Misspellings drive me crazy, too! Thanks to spellcheck, I have unfortunately become a serious offender in that department. Sometimes the words it substitutes can be quite funny. Maybe another post idea ;-)

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  8. I'm terrible at grammar- this book will probably make me realise just how bad!

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    1. Emma - You might want to passion this one ;-)

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  9. I'm a bit of a grammar nerd as is my youngest son. I think I'd enjoy this.

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    1. Vicki - Her anecdotes and stories are very entertaining. If you like grammar, give tit a try!

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  10. I was an English major in college and an English teacher afterwards. This may be the perfect book for me. Thanks for previewing it for us!

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    1. Sunday - I didn't know you were an English teacher! You would definitely enjoy this book :)

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  11. Sounds like a good one. Makes me think of "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves." ;)

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    1. Arti - I still have a copy of that one around here, too!

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  12. I definitely like books like this--will put it on the list for later this year!

    Grammar geeks unite!

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