Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language audiobook as full of life as it is of practical advice. Between You & Me features Norris' laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage - comma faults, danglers, "who" versus "whom", "that" versus "which", compound words, gender-neutral language - and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord's Prayer as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. She takes us to see a copy of Noah Webster's groundbreaking Blue-Back Speller, on a quest to find out who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick, on a pilgrimage to the world's only pencil-sharpener museum, and inside the hallowed halls of The New Yorker and her work with such celebrated writers as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders.
©2015 Mary Norris (P)2015 Recorded Books
It was great. I read the New Yorker and appreciate its outstanding quality. It was fun to hear from someone who was so integral to the quality of the magazine and its content.
When Norris describes some of her more famous co-workers and bosses and how their particular strengths worked together to make the New Yorker the magazine that it is. I also enjoyed hearing about the Pencil Sharpener Museum.
When she describes her problems in getting #2 pencils and trying mechanical pencils and other types of pencils. She is a true connoisseur and I loved it.
This is a quirky book about a quirky subject but can be enjoyed by anyone who cares about good writing and quality work.
She is absolutely engaging. She understands the issues completely, and writes well about them without making anything into life or death. Almost tongue in cheek. I can't imagine that many people would find this all that fascinating. But I did. I'm nervous about my punctuation.
Mary Norris is very funny, both as a writer and a reader. While the book is mostly about stuff like pluperfect subjunctive gerund clauses and such, her hilarious asides were what I most enjoyed. I had to skip over much of the chapter about crude language, but was rewarded in the following wonderful chapter about pencils, the only downside being that it cost me a $40 order of Blackwing pencils.
This is a book that I will enjoy hearing again.
I learned things I never knew. I now understand things I had memorized but never really could explain. I gained much appreciation for and greater willingness to be curious about grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, meaning, and usage. I need to buy the paper version for reference. Her voice and delivery were exceptional. I laughed out loud more times than I can recall and that doesn't happen often and rarely, if ever, for a book on grammar.
As a writer, I enjoyed all of the grammar geekiness. I also enjoyed her office supply geekiness. Decent story, real good grammar information. I found it useful to put the narration on 1.25 speed as she is rather slow.
Oh, dear, oh, dear, I thought as I began Mary Norris’s “Between You and Me.” Her reading was too slow, too deliberate, and there was too much pause between some sentences and paragraphs. But now I know it would’ve been too bad to have missed this charming usage guide and memoir hybrid.
If reading and writing are like oxygen in your life, this audio book is well worth tolerating the different drummer rhythm of the reading. As I continued, either Norris improved as a reader, or I improved as a listener. By the final third, I swear I could hear the twinkle in her eye. I’ve read many memoirs by comedians that weren’t nearly as funny as this.
(Does anyone else deeply resent, as I do, being compelled to fill in the star ratings in order to do a review? It feels like the insipid Facebook thumbs-up and it's annoying when you're willing to take the time to articulate a real opinion.)
Yes...if they are into this sort of thing.
Like some many authors, she is a good writer but not a professional narrator. Should have left the narration to a pro.
As a former English teacher I enjoyed the book.
Daily Deal and title got me but the book lost me. Proof yet again that authors should not be allowed to read their own work. Pace and expression are flat and self important. Bet there may be some useful stuff in there but gave up as the authors biographical history--job to job, name dropping goes on and on and on and on....
(I am sure my use of grammar will appall the author.)
Avid listener on my daily commute!
I absolutely loved this, and like a previous reviewer, I smiled through the whole thing. For grammar, usage, vocabulary, and punctuation geeks like me, especially any who are already fans of the New Yorker and literature generally, this will be a big treat. Mary Norris is wicked smart and funny, and once you get accustomed to her gravelly Marge Simpson voice, you'll become truly enamored of her slow, deliberate, hilarious narration. My only caveats are: 1.) The chapter on apostrophes doesn't really work as an audiobook (I bought the Kindle version also, so that I could better absorb the humor in chapters like that one that have a strong visual component), and 2.) The final chapter, on pencils and pencil sharpeners, is a tad boring, even for a total nerd like me.
Nonetheless, I'm positive I will listen to this one many more times. This was certainly a few dollars VERY well spent. Grade: A++
This book was marred by the uneven and sometimes annoying reading by the author. I felt like I had to struggle through her endless talk about herself to get to a few little nuggets of word usage advice. It did have some interesting stories, but I was unable to finish it.
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