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BookBrowse Reviews Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

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Eats, Shoots and Leaves

The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

by Lynne Truss

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss X
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 240 pages

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The runaway bestseller that put punctuation back on the literary map. Non-Fiction/Grammar

From the book jacket: Many punctuation guides already exist explaining the principles of the apostrophe; the comma; the semi-colon. These books do their job but somehow punctuation abuse does not diminish. Why? Because people who can't punctuate don't read those books! Of course they don't! They laugh at books like those! Eats, Shoots and Leaves adopts a more militant approach and attempts to recruit an army of punctuation vigilantes: send letters back with the punctuation corrected. Do not accept sloppy emails. Climb ladders at dead of night with a pot of paint to remove the redundant apostrophe in "Video's sold here".....

Comment: Every now and then a book comes along, seemingly from out of the blue, and catches the public's interest.  For example, last year Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You To Know About and Marley and Me came from nowhere to make huge sales.  The year before, one of the breakout surprises was Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss, which gained serious momentum in Britain following its publication in November 2003 with a 15,000 print run (by Christmas 2003 500,000 copies had been sold) and hit the USA market with a bang in early 2004. 

As Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes (and a former English teacher) so delightfully puts it, "If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I'd nominate her for sainthood. As it is, thousands of English teachers from Maine to Maui will be calling down blessings on her merry, learned head for her book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It's a book about punctuation, the poor stepchild of mean old grammar. Punctuation, if you don't mind! The book is so spirited, so scholarly, so seductive, English teachers will sweep aside all other topics to get to, you guessed it, punctuation. Parents and children gather by the fire on chilly evenings to read passages on the history of the semi-colon and the much-maligned dash. Make way for the new Cinderella of the English language, Punctuation Herself!

This review first ran in the April 20, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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Read-Alikes

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If you liked Eats, Shoots and Leaves, try these:

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    A kinder, funner usage guide to the ever-changing English language and a useful tool for both the grammar stickler and the more colloquial user of English, from linguist and veteran professor Anne Curzan

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear? jacket

    Is That a Fish in Your Ear?

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    Funny and surprising on every page, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? offers readers new insight into the mystery of how we come to know what someone else means - whether we wish to understand Astérix cartoons or a foreign head of state.

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