Friday, April 5, 2019

Three Books on Writing, Two Signed by Mary Norris and One by Benjamin Dreyer

After work Tuesday I headed over to the Corner Bookstore for the book launch of Greek to Me by Mary Norris, the former copy editor of the New Yorker who is popularly known as the Comma Queen. I had read an excerpt of this new book in the magazine and was frankly quite impressed. She appeared at the bookstore in conversation with Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English.
I have no idea how anyone can get anywhere in the City by 6:00 p.m.—I certainly couldn't get to the Upper East Side on time—and during the conversation I had to wait outside the packed bookstore with a few other latecomers. I took a photo and strolled over to a nearby liquor store to take a chance on a select bottle of cognac I hadn't tried before.

After I completed my errand, gaining entry to the Corner Bookstore was no longer a problem. While waiting on the slow-moving line for the cash register, it became clear to me that I should use my one brief moment with Ms. Norris to have her sign both Greek to Me and her earlier book, Between You & Me, now in paperback, alas.

She signed and inscribed Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, documenting the precise date and place of the signing. 

Prior to having her sign Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen, I had to make certain she hadn't heard of my blog, which after all has a tangential relationship to the magazine she copy edited for decades. No danger of that. She very graciously had me write down the name of the blog on a sheet of scrap paper she kept for a variety of odd purposes. I was glad to be able to express my admiration to her for one of the sentences in the New Yorker excerpt that especially impressed me.

The inscription makes it clear that Ms. Norris signed and inscribed the book on its publication day. Nice touch! That's my name in Greek, by the way.

Perhaps it's no surprise that Ms. Norris couldn't resist adding a copy editor's correction to a typo on page 80.

Now regarding my writing, style-wise I'm an MLA devotee, or perhaps a Strunk and White type, or more truthfully I do whatever I want since I haven't cracked open either of those guides since college. I saw no harm in using this opportunity in the bookstore to also pick up a copy of the brand new Dreyer's English. particularly since I recently had heard Benjamin Dreyer interviewed on the Grammar Girl podcast and I was intrigued. I thanked him for permitting the use of and or but at the beginning of a sentence. And I meant it.

Benjamin Dreyer's inscription is elegant and to the point.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Signed Books

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