Review: Norris’s Between You & Me

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
Mary Norris

Grammar books generally come in two stripes – clever, and not very helpful and helpful, but not very clever. Between you and me is the book that proves the rule. It’s exceedingly clever (perhaps the best written book on writing well I’ve ever read) and also very useful.

We should expect nothing less from Mary Norris. She’s a copy editor in the most famous of copyediting shops – the New Yorker – and her book is sprinkled with wonderful stories about the magazine and the writers and editors who have worked there. If all this book consisted of was anecdotes about Eleanor Gould Packard and Lu Burke, it would be worth the price of admission. But there’s also scores of helpful tips on avoiding troublesome grammar mistakes (see the title), many of which I make every day, and really interesting thoughts on the relationship of the editor to the writer. I enjoyed this book immensely and I really hope Norris comes out with another volume.


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