Mary Norris has a very chatty tone when she's telling you about the spelling and grammar mistakes she's corrected in her career at the New Yorker, and it's easy to forget how remarkable her information is. She's talking about a certain language rule, and to illustrate, she tells you about a particular sentence she corrected years ago and the iterations it went through. But every once in while I had to stop to ponder: is her memory just that incredible? or was the sentence that memorable? or did she just do a buttload of research to write this book? Actually, I think the answer to all three of those questions might be "yes".
Between You & Me is partly a memoir of Norris' life and partly a behind-the-scenes tale of the New Yorker. But mostly it's a book about language by a language lover. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I loved her descriptions of her work. But I'm also glad I don't have her job. It's that gladness that keeps me from being incredibly nervous about writing a review for this book -- won't everyone who reads these be hyper-critical about grammar? Eh. I don't have her job, so I can turn off the grammar hyperdrive and just write and just read. Something she admits she has trouble doing.
She's gotten to read some amazing things and meet some amazing people. And at times she made me smile or laugh. I particularly liked her memorable inquiry as to the nature of semicolons. But I'll leave that for other readers to discover on their own. Highly recommended for word lovers.
I got a free copy of this from First Reads.