Between You and Me: Confessions of Comma Queen

Written by:
Mary Norris
Narrated by:
Mary Norris

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2015
8 hours 12 minutes
Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You & Me features Norris's laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage-comma faults, danglers, 'who' vs. 'whom,' 'that' vs. 'which,' compound words, gender-neutral language-and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open-minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord's Prayer, as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. She takes us to see a copy of Noah Webster's groundbreaking Blue-Back Speller, on a quest to find out who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick, on a pilgrimage to the world's only pencil-sharpener museum, and inside the hallowed halls of The New Yorker and her work with such celebrated writers as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders. Readers-and writers-will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise and witty new friend in love with language and alive to the glories of its use in America, even in the age of autocorrect and spell-check. As Norris writes, 'The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can't let it push you around.'
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Jaylene Wallace

Mary Norris has a dry, dry sense of humor. She is a pencil nerd as well as a comma queen. I will have to listen again to some of her passages on stuff like the subjective case, or the proper use of "who" and "whom", to really understand the rules, but the book is entertaining for the most part. I could have done with three fewer stories about the intricacies of the editing process, but could relate to Norris's love of the details.

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