Book Review - Eats, Shoots And Leaves by Lynne Truss
Just the other day I finished Eats, Shoots & Leaves - The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. You can draw one of two conclusions from this. Either I'm getting really serious about my writing, or I've gone over the edge and started reading books on arcane points of grammer and writing. I'd like to think it's the first of the two options, with a bent toward reading some really funny stuff!
Lynne Truss is English, and has written a book that took many by surprise. Ranked #5 on Amazon at this time, and it's a book on punctuation? Hey, where else can you get writing like this:
"As we shall shortly see, the comma has so many jobs as a 'separator' (punctuation marks are traditionally either 'separators' or 'terminators') that it tears about on the hillside of language, endlessly organising words into sensible groups and making them stay put: sorting and dividing; circulating and herding; and of course darting off with a peremptory 'woof' to round up any wayward subordinate clause that makes a futile bolt for semantic freedom. Commas, if you don't whistle at them to calm down, are unstoppably enthusiastic at this job."
As a writer, I at least try to pay attention to punctuation. As a reader, you're more influenced by punctuation than you probably realize. Truss covers the history of words and such with dry English wit and humor, making sure you learn dispite yourself. After finishing this book, you should have a much better grasp of what little symbol goes where, and when you should use a comma vs. a semi-colon vs. a colon. It's almost worth reading just for the quality of writing, regardless of whether the subject matter appeals to you.
The only problem with reading a book like this... Now that it's known I've read the book, you can watch my writing and see whether I've learned anything. :-)