eats, shoots and leaves

When was the last time you laughed out loud when reading a nonfiction book?

How about a nonfiction book about punctuation?  Lynne Truss’s book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves is just that.  A laugh-out-loud book about punctuation.  And, yes, there’s a panda on the cover.  Here’s the joke on which the title is based:

A panda walks into a cafe.  He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit.  The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door.  “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

Panda.  Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.  Eats, shoots and leaves.”

“So punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death,” writes the British Truss.  This, from a woman who was hoping to start a militant wing to the Apostrophe Protection Society (yes, such a society exists).

For any of you who were bothered when the movie Two Weeks Notice was released (not because of any objectionable content) this book is for you.  And if, right now, you’re wondering what the objection to it might be, then this also might be a good book for you (as it is quite educational regarding use of the possessive apostrophe).

Its appeal is surprisingly universal for a subject such as punctuation.  I attribute this to Ms. Truss’s unmatched wit and, what she calls, her “inner stickler.”  Of which I think we all take part to some degree and secretly relish.

I dedicate this post to my friend Amy, who takes the time to properly spell and punctuate her text messages.  Amy, you’re my hero.

9 thoughts on “eats, shoots and leaves

  1. Don’t worry, I haven’t joined the militant wing of any punctuation society. Your …’s are welcome here. However, an occasional cringe might be in order.

  2. Abigail,

    Thanks for this blog on the archaic art of punctuation. I’ve tried over and over to use the modern abbreviations to match the advanced super-speed technology we have. But every time I try, I have this vision. My journalism professor (who was also my newspaper adviser) is hitting me over the head with Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style,” which was a book that rarely left my side during four years of college. Thanks for the dedication. I’m honored.

  3. Hey Ab,

    Didn’t I give you that book as a Christmas present a couple years ago? I tell ya… big sisters get no credit these days. 🙂


    P.S. Sorry about the punctuation violations in the comment.

  4. Yep, you gave it to me. You also gave me the sequel to it called, “Talk to the Hand,” about rudeness. I guess that one didn’t take too well.

    Thanks for the books!!

  5. The real question is why would you bother reading the title of any movie with Hugh Grant’s picture on it.

    I would also ask that my knowledge of the cast of said movie not be further pondered.

  6. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it,
    you’re a great author.I wiull always bookmark your
    blog andd may ccome back down the road. I want to encourage continue your great posts, havve a nice evening!

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