We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.
This impassioned manifesto on punctuation made the best-seller lists in Britain and has followed suit here. Journalist Truss gives full rein to her “inner stickler” in lambasting common grammatical mistakes. Asserting that punctuation “directs you how to read in the way musical notation directs a musician how to play,” Truss argues wittily and with gusto for the merits of preserving the apostrophe, using commas correctly, and resurrecting the proper use of the lowly semicolon. Filled with dread at the sight of ubiquitous mistakes in store signs and headlines, Truss eloquently speaks to the value of punctuation in preserving the nuances of language. Liberally sprinkling the pages with Briticisms (“Lawks-a-mussy”) and moving from outright indignation to sarcasm to bone-dry humor, Truss turns the finer points of punctuation into spirited reading. Joanne Wilkinson
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‘A punctuation repair kit. Passionate and witty…fresh and funny., Independent ‘If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I,d nominate her for sainthood., Frank McCourt ‘I laughed, I howled, and I immediately wanted to join the militant wing of the Apostrophe Society. This is great stuff: genuine, heartfelt and rousing., Jenny Colgan ‘Enchanting, full of jokes and anecdotes and information. It makes you love punctuation; you want to conserve what is left and perhaps call for more of it., Sunday Telegraph ‘It can only be a matter of time before the government seizes the chance to appoint [Truss] minister for punctuation. The manifesto is already written., Guardian ‘Truss deserves to be piled high with honours., John Humphrys, Sunday Times ‘Worth its weight in gold., Independent.
About the Author
Lynne Truss is one of Britain’s best-loved comic writers and is the author of the worldwide bestsellers ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’ and ‘Talk to the Hand’. Her most recent book is ‘Get Her Off the Pitch!’ She reviews for the Sunday Times and writes regularly for radio.