Lynne Truss is, perhaps, a little nuts about punctuation, but she has a point and she knows how to use it.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a very useful and very funny little book that discusses and illuminates punctuation in a manner that all but ensures you’ll know how to use it. Truss strongly believes that “[p:]roper punctuation is the sign and the cause of clear thinking” (202) and she argues her case very well. Using gorgeous little metaphors and images, historical origins, and a generous dose of humour (including hilarious errors), Truss makes clear the functions and importance of various types of punctuation. Not only does she explain the rules (where they exist), but she gives you a feel for language that deepens understanding.
Particularly amusing are the ‘raging’ debates that have occurred over such things as the frequency of comma use or whether or not one should use a semi-colon. Any editor or proofreader will be able to recall similar disputes (with fondness, frustration, sadness, anger, hilarity, etc., etc.). “If there’s one thing to be learned from this book,” Truss says, “it is that there is never a dull moment in the world of punctuation” (125). Heated debates on apostrophe use aside, I’m not sure if that’s true, but I can say that at least there’s never a dull moment in this book.
Highly recommended to everyone.