Skip to main content

Review: Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss

This book is more than just a bunch of punctuation rules strung together, or a manual on English grammar: its a book made for the people who are sticklers to the (proper) rules of punctuation. Many of the things Lynne Truss said in this book ring true for me, though it made me pay attention to marks of punctuation that normally I would just let go. I realized that I am NOT the only crazy, punctuation-obsessed person on the planet. She might not be the best writer I've ever read, but she makes her subject interesting in the way that very few people can, by being sarcastic and humorous.

Some quotes: "They regard us as freaks. When we point out illiterate mistakes we are often aggressively instructed to 'get a life' but people who, interestingly, display no evidence of having lives themselves" (p.4)

"Punctuation has been defined in many ways. Some grammarians use the analogy of stitching: punctuation as the basting that holds the fabric of language in shape" (7).

"Stand outside a Leicester Square cinema indicating-with a cut-out apostrophe on a stick-how the title Two Weeks Notice might be easily grammatically corrected (I did this), and not a soul will take your side or indeed have a clue what your problem is" (19).

"So what I propose is action. Sticklers unite, you have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion, and arguably you didn't have a lot of that to begin with. Maybe we won't change the world, but at least we'll fee better" (28).

"In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semi-colon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly" (137-8).

Also reviewed by: Book Nut


I so enjoyed reading this book. When will I ever again say that about a book about grammar? My guess is never, unless Truss publishes another - which I will pick up in a heart beat! Thanks for those quotes. They were all great.
Heather J. said…
I gave this book to my dad as a gift years ago ... I'll have to ask him to dig it out so I can read it!
Andi said…
I've wanted to read this one for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I had a chance to meet the author at a mixer at Baylor U a few years ago, but I can't remember now why it fell through. Ahhh, well.
Literary Feline said…
This really was a fun book to read. Thank you for reminding me of how delightful it was by sharing the quotes!
Stephanie said…
My grammar is pretty bad, so this book would probably be helpful. Thanks for the information.
bookchronicle said…
I have to confess that as much as I love grammar and usage guides, I've been avoiding this one. I'll have to consider it again.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…