Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Book Review: Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Mary Norris didn't always intend to be an editor. In fact, after college she worked at a costume rental store, as a milkman, and as a cheese packer. Then she decided to move to New York, and through a family friend, she found a job at The New Yorker. Never could there have been a more perfect fit. Where else could Mary have had lengthy and serious discussions about hyphens, attended a party for a particular brand of pencil, and gotten fan mail from Phillip Roth? Interspersed between her personal stories, she includes digressions about apostrophes, who/whom, and curse words, but she's not too pedantic or precious (in fact, she admits to disagreeing with The New Yorker's style rules on a couple of points.) I even think I might now have mastered when to insert (or not) a comma in a series of adjectives (although restrictive clauses still just escape me.)
Ms. Norris's writing is accessible, humorous, and charming. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with her and I actually would have loved if the book had been twice as long!
I got this book for free from ABA's Winter Institute, with no expectation of a review.