Are you a hardcore grammar nerd? I confess that I am and I thoroughly enjoyed the grammar expertise, clever humor, and graceful writing of Mary Norris in BETWEEN YOU & ME: CONFESSIONS OF A COMMA QUEEN. Norris is a veteran of The New Yorker’s copy department, a place rich with insider publishing and famous writer vs. copy editor anecdotes. Spelling, commas, hyphens, profanity, pencils…these and other chapters each lays out the rules, the puzzles, and struggles of working towards agreement, or at least accommodation, as the written words move towards publication.
Do you have a favorite writing implement? Norris loves her No. 1 pencils and there is much to learn about the production and care of pencils, including the variations in pencil-sharpening devices. She even visits an Ohio pencil-sharpener museum – home to 3441 sharpeners, each one unique! The collection was started by a minister, who made the collecting of pencil sharpeners his retirement hobby.
Norris introduces us to her co-workers; copy-editing seems to attract an opinionated, smart, and quirky group. It’s all fun (and informative) to read…and I am looking forward to Mary Norris in person, when she visits the Westport Library on July 9. Sure to be an interesting event!