If we see better writing this year — improved spelling and punctuation — the reason could very well be Mary Norris. Recently retired after a long and distinguished career with The New Yorker magazine, she has written, “Between You and Me, Confessions of a Comma Queen.”
Her memoir is a delightful romp through her career as a copy editor with the distinguished weekly magazine that has earned and maintained a reputation for impeccable writing. Peppering her text with humor and wit, she weaves in and out of sharp office and work memories, war stories and explaining grammar.
Copy editors and word geeks will enjoy this one the most, but there are goodies for others to enjoy. For example, Philip Roth proposed to her. And if anyone can make a “predicate nominative” or “dangling participle” fun to learn about it, it’s Norris.
Don't throw away your copy of “The Elements of Style,” but do read this book. Of course, for those of us who absorb her wisdom (or at least try to), the pressure’s on…