Between You and Me - Confessions of a Comma Queen
The most irreverent and enjoyable book on language since Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Mary Norris has spent more than three decades guarding the New Yorker's grand traditions of grammar and usage. Now she brings her vast experience and sharpened pencil to help the rest of us, in a charming language book as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You Me features Norris's hilarious exhortations about exclamation marks and emoticons, splice commas and swear words; her memorable exchanges with writers such as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders; and her loving meditations on the most important tools of the trade. Readers - and writers - will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise new friend in love with language.
'A delightful mix of autobiographer, New Yorker lore, and good language sense.' -- Ben Yagoda '[The] verbal diagnostician I would turn to for a first, second, or third opinion on just about anything.' -- John McPhee New Yorker 'Countless laugh-out-loud passages...A funny book for any serious reader.' Kirkus 'Mary Norris is a grammar geek with a streak of mischief, and her book is obscenely fun.' -- Marilyn Johnson 'Between You Me is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it.' -- Garrison Keillor 'Marvelous...Mary Norris is no dry guardian of grammar, no punitive Poobah of punctuation. In giving an account of her journey from provincial obscurity to the glamour of New York-and the New Yorker-she offers a warm, tender, and funny coming of age story. (Or possibly it's a 'coming-of-age' story. Mary could tell you!)' -- Rebecca Mead 'Mary Norris's Between You Me is so smart and funny and soulful and effortlessly illuminating. Well, she herself is so generous and great-what else would she do?' -- Ian Frazier 'Mary Norris brings a tough-minded, clear-eyed, fine-tuned wisdom to all the perplexities and traps and terrors of the English sentence.' -- Adam Gopnik 'Very funny, lucid, and lively...[Norris'] love of language transcends all, reconnecting the alienated pieces of this world-from the micromachinery of the serial comma up to the cosmic mystery of story.' New Republic 'I enjoyed Mary Norris's book so much. It's exactly my idea of a good read.' Kate Grenville, in correspondence 'This book charmed my socks off...Norris is a master storyteller.' New York Times 'Informative, witty and very funny: a must for anyone who cares about what they write.' BookMooch 'If you loved Eats Shoots and Leaves you will ADORE this marvellously intelligent and witty disquisition on the finer points of punctuation and grammar.' Booktopia Buzz 'This enchanting little tome is a journey through her world of punctuation and grammar, with some very cool anecdotes...If you like words, language or puzzles, this is the book for you - or that friend or mother who always corrects you.' Readings 'Norris is warm, knowledgable and unapologetically fussy...The pleasure of Between You Me boils down to a willingness to spend 200 tightly edited pages in Mary Norris's good-natured, wise company.' Guardian 'Her book doesn't subordinate the trivial and emphasize the significant, and the result is a verbal flea market with unexpected treasures...Between You Me really is a reference book to read for pleasure.' LA Review of Books 'So warm and un-fusty that the pages just slip by. Yet it manages in its final few to sneak in thoughtful discussions of, among other disputes, swearing, commas, colons and semi-colons.' New Zealand Listener 'Enlightening, useful, and often outright hilarious...From exclamation marks to emoticons, swear words to split infinitives, Mary Norris is the bomb.' Australian Women's Weekly
Mary Norris began working at the New Yorker in 1978. Originally from Cleveland, she now lives in New York. This is her first book. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with the Palomino Blackwing.