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 audiobook as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You & Me features Norris' laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage - comma faults, danglers, "who" versus "whom", "that" versus "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.
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Fun book for those who love language
It was great. I read the New Yorker and appreciate its outstanding quality. It was fun to hear from someone who was so integral to the quality of the magazine and its content.
When Norris describes some of her more famous co-workers and bosses and how their particular strengths worked together to make the New Yorker the magazine that it is. I also enjoyed hearing about the Pencil Sharpener Museum.
When she describes her problems in getting #2 pencils and trying mechanical pencils and other types of pencils. She is a true connoisseur and I loved it.
This is a quirky book about a quirky subject but can be enjoyed by anyone who cares about good writing and quality work.
- Kate M.
I smiled through the whole thing
She is absolutely engaging. She understands the issues completely, and writes well about them without making anything into life or death. Almost tongue in cheek. I can't imagine that many people would find this all that fascinating. But I did. I'm nervous about my punctuation.
- Michael Dillon