Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Eats, Shoots  &  Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation"In 2002 Lynne Truss presented Cutting a Dash, a BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation." Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now "txt msgs," we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. If there are only pedants left who care, then so be it. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From George Orwell shunning the semicolon, to New Yorker editor Harold Ross's epic arguments with James Thurber over commas, this history makes a case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

I read this book in the hopes of reviewing my punctuation, but this read proved to be far more entertaining than simple grammar rules. If you are an American reader, be prepared to have many things about your country, as well as your poor grammar, mocked. I consider myself a bit of a grammar snob (even though I know mine is far from perfect), but Truss definitely put me in my place.

This is a challenging book to review, perhaps because it’s so straight forward. I think Truss did a great job of thoroughly cover all of her bases. It is definitely fair to say that this book proved to be helpful guide and refresher for punctuation. Truss provided practical examples to help her read better understand the points she made.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that Truss had clearly found her voice. She was intelligent, witty and humorous. If you like your grammar and punctuation rules with a little bit of snark, I highly suggest that you pick this book up.

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