Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Author: Lynne Truss

This one is for the pedants. Read this book if you're the kind of person who grits your teeth every time you see a grammatical mistake in a hoarding. The title refers to a statement about a panda that eats (bamboo) shoots and leaves. But a misplaced comma makes it sound like a story about an evil panda that eats, shoots and leaves.

We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation. -Lynne Truss

Starting with the oft-misplaces apostrophe to the lesser used dashes and colons, each chapter deals with the history, usage and evolution of a punctuation mark. What I found most fascinating was the origin story of each of these little marks.

The author is not one of those crufty old people who insists that their crufty rules are the only ones that are worth following. Nor does she favour the semi-literate lower-case-ridden style of the smart phone generation, of course. What still matters is to adhere to some semblance of rules.

As a self-deprecating, fun rant, this was an enjoyable read.