Greek to Me: Book summary and reviews of Greek to Me by Mary Norris

Greek to Me

Adventures of the Comma Queen

by Mary Norris

Greek to Me by Mary Norris X
Greek to Me by Mary Norris
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Apr 2, 2019
    240 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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About this book

Book Summary

The Comma Queen returns with a buoyant book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.

In her New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils and punctuation in The New Yorker's celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and funny paean to the art of self-expression, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek.

Greek to Me is a charming account of Norris's lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, goes searching for the fabled Baths of Aphrodite, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris's memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine' - and more than a few Greek men' - Greek to Me is the Comma Queen's fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. At the center of it all is her passion for Greek , a language often 'held to be impenetrable,' yet which gives her 'an erotic thrill, as if every verb and noun had some visceral connection to what it stands for.' For those who have long followed the Comma Queen, her latest outing will not disappoint." - Publishers Weekly

"A delightful celebration of a consuming passion." - Kirkus

"What a fantastic book! Not only is Greek to Me educational, entertaining, and gorgeously written, it shows us how intellectual curiosity coupled with a dash of bravery can pave the way for a more meaningful life. Mary Norris does for Greek and Greece what Cheryl Strayed did for hiking. Readers will long to follow in her footsteps." - Ann Patchett

"I fell in love with Mary Norris's first book, and am now even more in love with this charming, ribald, highly informed, and always funny excursion through the language, culture, and oddities of Greece and the Greek language. An adventure tale for intellectuals - and also for the rest of us." - Steve Martin

"In Greek to Me, Mary Norris' love for all things Greek is palpable and infectious. She is a charming, insightful guide through both ancient and modern glories, and I expect her lush descriptions of the Greek countryside to provoke a tourism stampede." - Madeline Miller, best-selling author of Circe

"As a reader, I would follow the writer Mary Norris wherever she goes, and I found myself enthralled by this wondrous journey through Greek myths and language and art. Norris brings everything into the glimmering light - most of all the beauty of words." - David Grann

"Poignant, antic, hilarious, Mary Norris is the definition of wearing your learning lightly, and after a lifetime of Greek immersion, pouring beer libations, and skinny-dipping in the waters of Aphrodite, her lessons slip down sweetly. This book is true ambrosia." - Caroline Fraser

"Mary Norris, our master grammarian, proves that knowing the rules sets you free. Here she writes about Greek language, culture, and mythology with an untrammeled grace that's a delight to read and, almost incidentally, a demonstration of high-level literary skill. Greek to Me is a book to dive into - a page-turning and wonderful achievement." - Ian Frazier

The information about Greek to Me shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Patricia G. (Dyer, IN)

Ode on a Grecian Yearning
I thoroughly enjoyed traveling with Mary Norris through her experience of all things Greek, both ancient and modern. I truly learned something new on every page, and her vibrant voice and comprehensive scholarship brought each detail to life. Although I do not expect to visit in person, I loved vicariously being there through Mary's enthusiastic retelling.

Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)

Delightful
I love this book primarily for Mary Norris' writing style. The book is a memoir, a travelogue & a study of all things Greek. Admittedly this book won't appeal to all but what a fun romp through Greece with Ms. Norris! As a lover of language I am in awe of her story - I'm quite challenged by any foreign language - and learning more about mythology has been on my bucket list forever.
For me this book was not a quick read - each page is packed with rewarding goodness ! I loved the author's humor & ability to share such beautiful insights about her love of all things Greek. I will be reading her other books & will recommend this book wholeheartedly.

Susan L. (Alexandria, VA)

Greek Immersion
Norris indulges her love of all things Greek in this book and shares her passion for the language, both modern and ancient, as well as for the people and culture of Greece. The book was a delightful introduction to a land that changed and influenced language itself.

Mary Anne R. (Towson, MD)

Greek To Me
Mary Norris' memoir shows how her love of things Greek-the language,the history and the myths-blended with her life experience of joys and sorrows to define who she is.

I found the in this author a kindred spirit because I too fell in love with Greece ago. The author's memoir brought to mind experiences that I too enjoyed.

I loved the author's writing style.She is introspective,humble and witty. I especially liked the unexpected moments where I laughed out loud.

This small book has a wealth of information. I took notes and researched many of the places that inspired her.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has had a love affair with Greece or would like to have.

Lindsay R. (Franklin, TN)

Greek To Me
I really enjoyed this book. I was also looking forward to reading it as well. I grew up loving Greek mythology, and this brought back that interest and fun. I enjoyed the history of our words base of Greek interspersed throughout the book. I enjoyed her enthusiasm about all things Greek and the history of the country. I learned so many things: Greek was originally written in all caps; the lower case letters came from the middle ages, mainly to save space. And that omicron means small o. I enjoyed her traveling adventures around Greece and learned much from those travels across the years. She discussed the Greek financial troubles and Cyprus' complicated history. Those with an interest in travel, history and yes, language and mythology will love this book.
My mother minored in ancient Greek in college (in the 40s) and we often discussed Greek history and mythology. I look forward to sharing this book with her.

Ann L. (Park City, UT)

Excellent book
But honestly not for me. I tried. I read the beginning then skipped through other portions of the book, and it did not pique my interest and i could not identify. Has nothing to do with quality of writing. Looks well written and developed. I will pass it along to other(s) who I feel will enjoy and better identify.

...12 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Mary Norris

Mary Norris is the author of Greek to Me and the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, an account of her years in The New Yorker copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York.

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