Author(s): Mary Norris
The most irreverent and enjoyable book on language since Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Mary Norris has spent more than three decades guarding the New Yorker's grand traditions of grammar and usage. Now she brings her vast experience and sharpened pencil to help the rest of us, in a charming language book as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You & Me features Norris's hilarious exhortations about exclamation marks and emoticons, splice commas and swear words; her memorable exchanges with writers such as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders; and her loving meditations on the most important tools of the trade. Readers-and writers-will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise new friend in love with language.
Mary Norris has been a copy editor, or something similar, at The New Yorker for over three decades, maintaining the magazine's reputation for grammatical correctness and style. In this memoir-cum-grammar-guide, she is relentlessly chatty and companionable, which is not my sort of thing, so, as I am reading, I am out to pick a fight with her whenever I can (generally on matters of style (grammar's wrestling ring (I think wrestling is done in a ring (grammar certainly is (also, note my use of New Yorkerian commas (the nested brackets being a predilection (affectation)of my own))))). - Thomas
'A delightful mix of autobiographer, New Yorker lore, and good language sense.' -- Ben Yagoda '[The] verbal diagnostician I would turn to for a first, second, or third opinion on just about anything.' -- John McPhee New Yorker 'Countless laugh-out-loud passages...A funny book for any serious reader.' Kirkus 'Mary Norris is a grammar geek with a streak of mischief, and her book is obscenely fun.' -- Marilyn Johnson 'Between You & Me is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it.' -- Garrison Keillor 'Marvelous...Mary Norris is no dry guardian of grammar, no punitive Poobah of punctuation. In giving an account of her journey from provincial obscurity to the glamour of New York-and the New Yorker-she offers a warm, tender, and funny coming of age story. (Or possibly it's a 'coming-of-age' story. Mary could tell you!)' -- Rebecca Mead 'Mary Norris's Between You & Me is so smart and funny and soulful and effortlessly illuminating. Well, she herself is so generous and great-what else would she do?' -- Ian Frazier 'Mary Norris brings a tough-minded, clear-eyed, fine-tuned wisdom to all the perplexities and traps and terrors of the English sentence.' -- Adam Gopnik
Mary Norris began working at the New Yorker in 1978. Originally from Cleveland, she now lives in New York. This is her first book. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with the Palomino Blackwing.