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Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen - Mary Norris - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 12:00pm</span>

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

10/24/2015 - 12:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301 & 302

Mary Norris began her professional career as a foot checker—dutifully checking patrons’ toes for athlete’s foot as they entered a Cleveland city pool—before working at a costume company and driving a milk truck. Humble beginnings for a woman who would come to spend more than three decades as a copy editor (or “prose goddess”) at The New Yorker, where she’s worked with such celebrated writers as Philip Roth, Pauline Kael, and George Saunders. Norris’s love of language, and her wish to help “all of you who want to feel better about your grammar,” led her to write Betweeen You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a hilarious, down-to-earth manual for untangling the most vexing spelling, punctuation, and usage quandaries in English. With her vivacity and singular wit, Norris clearly addresses the most ubiquitous issues in modern usage: Is it “who” or “whom”? “That” or “which”? Is it “traveler” or “traveller,” and which dictionary authority should you trust? When is it OK to use the F-word in print? Why is the semicolon considered “upper-crust”? And are we losing the apostrophe?
As Norris writes in her introduction, “Nobody knows everything—one of the pleasures of language is that there is always something new to learn—and everybody makes mistakes.” Drawing on wide-ranging and hilariously rendered examples (from Henry James, Emily Dickinson, and James Salter to “The Girl from Ipanema,” Moby-Dick, and The Simpsons), Norris expertly guides readers through the most common and confusing grammatical issues.

Mary Norris

About Presenter Mary Norris


Mary Norris worked for the New Yorker as a copy editor and query proofreader for more than thirty years. Her first book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, is a New York Times best-selling book about her years at the New Yorker. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Norris now lives in New York and Rockaway.


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