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In Exaltation of Punctuation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

May 23, 2006

I’d put off reading it for a year and a half. I’m behind the times when it comes to reading bestsellers—and I usually never do—but if I do, it’s after the clamor has died down. And so it was with Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.

I wanted to read it, but I put off reading it. I mean, okay, it’s a bestseller but it’s still a book about punctuation. Yes, punctuation. However, it’s the most witty, hilarious, and easy-to-read book about punctuation you’ll find. Yes, there’s a chapter on the apostrophe, the comma, and colons and semi-colons, plus others. How boring, you might yawn. But no, it wasn’t. Not only are there lots of examples of misuse, plus easy to understand rules, there are also hilarious stories, Tuss’ sarcastic humor, and the history of those funny little marks we put on pages we call punctuation. And it was fascinating.

I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to punctuation. I was never really a “grammar person,” and despite doing well with grammar in school, I have forgotten many rules and basically go with “what feels good.” I pretty much can do what’s right without always knowing why. I like creative writing and letting someone else edit me. But Tuss’ book has shamed—and at the same time–reminded me that I really am a stickler. (And working in an office with an editor for the Walters has helped too. I now cringe when en and em dashes are used wrong. The horror!) I like this stuff, actually, and I want to do better at it. So I hope my punctuation will be more precise in future blogs and now I move on to another geeky book in my pile, Woe is I.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2006 11:13 pm

    More “percise”? That’s funny.

    I’ve read this book and it is side-splitting funny for grammar geeks like me (er–grammar geeks such as I).

    Woe is I? Haven’t heard of it, but you just made me laugh and want to take a trip to the library.

  2. May 23, 2006 11:23 pm

    Hey, I was in the middle of editing still! I always publish and then reread (once you get all the html junk it’s so hard) and you caught me in between. No fair! 🙂

  3. May 23, 2006 11:40 pm

    Danielle, I do that too — post and then reread. So I always seem to make several edits and wonder if anyone has read it before it’s finished.

    Anyway, I need to read this book. I love to write, but am HORRIBLE at grammar. Ted laughs at me sometimes. But I find learning about grammar so boring, which means this book sounds perfect since you said it’s actually fascinating.

  4. May 24, 2006 12:00 am

    I too post and then edit…not sure why!
    I have heard of this book, but forgot about it like you! But now I will have to be sure to get it!

  5. May 24, 2006 7:00 am

    I would probably love the book. I’m such a grammar snob; alhthough, reading the book would probably show me how much I get wrong.

  6. May 24, 2006 9:01 am

    Nice use of the semi colon, Briana.

  7. Mom permalink
    May 24, 2006 11:10 am

    Danielle do you own the book? Would you share for a bit? Sounds like good summertime reading for Judith. Let me know and if willing to share, bring on Monday, thanks. Mom

  8. May 24, 2006 6:44 pm

    Okay I feel out of the loop. I am so terrible at grammar and spelling. I am just not wired that way. So don’t READ my blog! Just look at the pictures. 🙂 HA HA

  9. May 25, 2006 5:05 pm

    Seriously .I am the worst, at punctuating; I think, at least, most of the time: how are you doing — Danielle, is it! Or do you like to be called; Dani? How about I – some times call you Danielle. and when I’m really feeling chummy and all friends=like I&ll call you $Dani$.

  10. May 25, 2006 6:53 pm

    If I had any idea there were actually “grammar rules” I would have never dared to post a blog. I never met a comma I didn’t like or use. I should have known when Zoanna and (several other people) were offended by my use of “I’am” They were so polite, but I felt their stares at church….those grammar geeks and their smug superiority. Now they have books about it? They won’t fit me into their mold..they won’t.. SERENITY NOW!!

  11. May 26, 2006 3:27 am

    I’ve had this book for several years and love it! Thanks for the recommendation on “Woe is I” — I just ordered it from I have a really fun book to recommend, if you haven’t read it yet. It’s called “Ella Minnow Pea” by Mark Dunn, and is a fascinating novel…well, you’ll have to read the review on Amazon to find out why! 😉

    Ella Minnow Pea

  12. May 26, 2006 9:13 am

    Ha, that was funny Beth and Karen. Beth, you’re more than welcome to call me Dani. Libby and Amanda call me Dani and Dan all the time. Sarah, that a neat and original sounding book. I’ll have to check it out.

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