Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Paperback)

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Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Paperback)


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April 2015 Indie Next List

“I was feeling pretty smug about my word skills until I learned something right there on page 26 of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. I have been mispronouncing 'elegiac.' Even so, I didn't begrudge Norris for taking me on a delightful tour of the offices of The New Yorker, the history of Noah Webster and his dictionary descendents, the city of Cleveland, and the hyphen in Moby-Dick. Between You and Me is a sprightly -- not 'spritely,' thank you -- gambol in the fields of grammar, and I enjoyed every step.”
— David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Staff Reviews

I'm a New Yorker groupie and a grammar nerd, and so I was in heaven reading this book by Mary Norris, long-time employee of the New Yorker Copy Department. She cares about grammar without being a purist ("A hyphen is not a moral issue.") and the book is charming and laugh-out-loud funny. You'll learn something about grammar, but also about dictionaries and how to properly sharpen a pencil. You'll also be treated to stories of life at the New Yorker (she had actual convervsations with Pauline Kael in the 18th floor bathroom!) and of working at a cheese factory prior to that. I had the pleaseure of meeting Ms. Norris at a recent book conference. She signed my copy of her book with her pencil of choice (a Blackwing 602) and my parting words to her were: "You're lilving my dream." She responded, "I'm living my dream." And that joie de vivre shines through brightly in her first book.

— From Jeanne's Picks

New York Times Bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal

"Hilarious…This book charmed my socks off." —Patricia O’Conner, New York Times Book Review


Mary Norris has spent more than three decades working in The New Yorker’s renowned copy department, helping to maintain its celebrated high standards. In Between You & Me, she brings her vast experience with grammar and usage, her good cheer and irreverence, and her finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.

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.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393352146
ISBN-10: 0393352145
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Pages: 240
Language: English
Ms. Norris, who has a dirty laugh that evokes late nights and Scotch, is…like the worldly aunt who pulls you aside at Thanksgiving and whispers that it is all right to occasionally flout the rules.
— Sarah Lyall - New York Times

[P]ure porn for word nerds.
— Allan Fallow - Washington Post

Mary Norris has an enthusiasm for the proper use of language that’s contagious. Her memoir is so engaging, in fact, that it’s easy to forget you’re learning things.
— People

A rollicking adventure into the origins of the apostrophe, the proliferation of profanity in American culture, and everything in between.
— San Francisco Chronicle

[A] winningly tender, funny reckoning with labor and language.
— Megan O'Grady - Vogue

Funny and endearing.
— Joanna Connors - Cleveland Plain Dealer

Laugh-out-loud funny and wise and compelling from beginning to end.
— Steve Weinberg - Houston Chronicle

Mary Norris is the verbal diagnostician I would turn to for a first, second, or third opinion on just about anything.
— John McPhee - The New Yorker

Smart and funny and soulful and effortlessly illuminating.
— Ian Frazier

Mary Norris brings a tough-minded, clear-eyed, fine-tuned wisdom to all the perplexities and traps and terrors of the English sentence.
— Adam Gopnik

Mary Norris is a grammar geek with a streak of mischief, and her book is obscenely fun.
— Marilyn Johnson

This is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it.

— Garrison Keillor

Destined to become an instant classic…It’s hard to imagine the reader who would not enjoy spending time with Norris.
— Christian Science Monitor