Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Narrated by: Lynne Truss
Length: 1 hr and 9 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (226 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 2002, Lynne Truss presented Cutting a Dash, a well-received BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation, which led to the writing of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The book became a runaway success in the UK, hitting number one on the best seller lists and prompting extraordinary headlines such as "Grammar Book Tops Bestseller List" (BBC News). With more than 500,000 copies of her book in print in her native England, Lynne Truss is ready to rally the troops on this side of the pond with her rousing cry, "Sticklers unite!"

Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. If there are only pedants left who care, then so be it.

This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From George Orwell shunning the semicolon, to New Yorker editor Harold Ross' epic arguments with James Thurber over commas, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

©2003 Lynne Truss (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks, Ltd.

Critic Reviews

Audie Award Finalist, Audiobook Adapted from Another Medium, 2005

"Oh, to be in England. Or rather, oh, to have quotidian access to BBC4 radio productions such as Cutting a Dash.... Thank goodness all six episodes are available as a classy audio production.... Through it all, the crisp, humor-filled voice of comedy writer/literary editor Lynne Truss gives us permission to laugh aloud while being shocked, yes shocked, about the disastrous state of punctuation and grammar in the modern world." (AudioFile

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Not Too Much There

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
First, it's not the original book, which I assumed it was. Rather is a number of disjointed excerpts, interviews, and sound bites, with lackluster attempts at comedy. I took away nothing I did not know.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
It is poor value for the cost. If the price were $3.95, I probably would not have returned it.

6 people found this helpful

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The Deadly Consequences of Punctuation.

This isn't the book! I say that because it is obvious from the title of this program if one reads the whole thing, but it seems many didn't bother and then were disappointed with the product for being what it says it is.
This is the radio broadcast that inspired the book. It's a very clever program that helps a person think about punctuation and its uses. It shows, for instance, how a misplaced coma can have deadly consequences. "Let's eat grandpa!" means something entirely different than "Lets eat, grandpa!". Lynne Truss uses such examples to show the usefulness of punctuation. And that is the usefulness of this program it arouses interest in punctuation and alerts the listener to the need for punctuation.
Of course, there is talk of how punctuation is used properly and different mistakes made with punctuation and why. The history of punctuation and the uses of different marks was also interesting. However, the show is by no means exhaustive in its treatment of punctuation. Most of the individual segments are maybe 10 minutes long. Also, there are no chapter breaks in this program. That seems like it would have been an easy thing to do. The whole program is one hour and runs through the entire broadcast in one fell swoop. No re-listening to just that segment on the comma.

2 people found this helpful

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Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Cute, but because it is a collection of radio broadcasts, it becomes very formulaic and predictable. Enjoyable for a quick listen, but seemed long, although it was only an hour in length.

5 people found this helpful

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Not the book

False advertising. I thought I was getting the book. It is NOT clear by the cover that this isn’t the book. The cover page is nearly identical to the book, even using the same art.

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interesting listen

good book, well narrated, really takes me back to my elementary school days and remind me of the good old classical grammar structures of days past.

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Not good audio book material

Any additional comments?

I was hoping for so much more; disappointing product. This content may have been better as the BBC show or as written material. There were parts such as the walks along London streets that did not work well in this format. There are better books on this subject matter.

1 person found this helpful

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Great if you need some help with writing!

I really enjoyed this book and it really helped me with my writing, but I think it was just the recordings of the radio show that the book is based on because it didn't flow like most audio books. I plan on buying the actual book to compare.

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This is not the audiobook you are looking for.

This is about an hour and a half long "radio program" by the author of the book and aired on what I assume was BBC radio (being the author talks of London, the UK literacy standards, and in general references to the UK). This is not a reading of the book as I had hoped and was sorely disappointed.