Lynne Truss is a writer and journalist who started out as a literary editor with a blue pencil and then got sidetracked. The author of three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas, she spent six years as the television critic of "The Times of London," followed by four (rather peculiar) years as a sports columnist for the same newspaper. She won Columnist of the Year for her work for Women's Journal. Lynne Truss also hosted Cutting a Dash, a popular BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation. She now reviews books for the Sunday Times of London and is a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4. She lives in Brighton, England.
Adult/High School-The title refers to the "Panda" entry in a poorly punctuated wildlife manual that, if believed, indicates the panda is truly to be feared, especially after eating. Truss, a self-described "punctuation stickler," has written a humorous but helpful guide that was a surprise best-seller in England. The book has been exported without re-editing, so some of the humor and grammar are "veddy" British; however, much of the information and history of punctuation are universal. The author takes pains to distinguish British versus American usage in her discussions. She is horrified at signs like BANANAS' and express checkout lines for "15 items or less." The short chapters are easy to follow and the discussions are light yet substantial. Punctuation marks are discussed individually with known history, geographical differences, and common mistakes. Teens will enjoy reading for fun and even for elucidation; a lot of information is packed into this small book.-Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Who would have thought a book about punctuation could cause such a sensation? Certainly not its modest if indignant author, who began her surprise hit motivated by "horror" and "despair" at the current state of British usage: ungrammatical signs ("BOB,S PETS"), headlines ("DEAD SONS PHOTOS MAY BE RELEASED") and band names ("Hear'Say") drove journalist and novelist Truss absolutely batty. But this spirited and wittily instructional little volume, which was a U.K. #1 bestseller, is not a grammar book, Truss insists; like a self-help volume, it "gives you permission to love punctuation." Her approach falls between the descriptive and prescriptive schools of grammar study, but is closer, perhaps, to the latter. (A self-professed "stickler," Truss recommends that anyone putting an apostrophe in a possessive "its"-as in "the dog chewed it's bone"-should be struck by lightning and chopped to bits.) Employing a chatty tone that ranges from pleasant rant to gentle lecture to bemused dismay, Truss dissects common errors that grammar mavens have long deplored (often, as she readily points out, in isolation) and makes elegant arguments for increased attention to punctuation correctness: "without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning." Interspersing her lessons with bits of history (the apostrophe dates from the 16th century; the first semicolon appeared in 1494) and plenty of wit, Truss serves up delightful, unabashedly strict and sometimes snobby little book, with cheery Britishisms ("Lawks-a-mussy!") dotting pages that express a more international righteous indignation. Agent, George Lucas. (On sale Apr. 13) Forecast: With 600,000 copies of the Profile Books edition in print (up from an original print run of 15,000 in November 2003), it's obvious that Truss's book has struck a nerve. Her volume may not reach such dizzying heights here-perhaps in part due to timing (there can't be Christmas runs in April)-but it'll make a lot of Stateside sticklers very, very happy. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.