3 of 15: “Eats, Leaves and Shoots” by Lynne Truss

If you’re trying to finish 15 books in 15 days with me for the 15/15/15 project, put your book and link in the comments.

On day three, I didn’t pull it off. My third book finished WILL by Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. When I finish it, which I hope will be later today. Yesterday got a bit overstuffed. Review to come!

(In my defense, I am not finding this book as fast or fun a read as I had hoped.)

M at Mental Multivitamin had a very good idea, which is to finish 15 books over the 15 days that were in progress. She wondered whether I’d “allow” that or not. Sounds good to me.

I finished Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss, and have to leave for the bus stop to pick up 6yo Drake in 15 minutes, so I’m going to do this quickly.

I wish Truss’ book had been more of a quick read. Her book on punctuation that exhorts “Sticklers unite!” was longer than it needed to be, e.g., 2 pages of acks + 4 pages of Foreward + 1 page Publisher’s Note + 11 pages of Preface + 34 pages of Introduction. That’s 52 pages before the book even begins! Had this book been more the size of Strunk and White’s , I would have preferred it.

She bewails the current state of punctuation ignorance, offers many examples, and then has a chapter on each major punctuation mark. There is a lot to like about the book. Truss has a good sense of humor, and I often laughed out loud. She’s done her research, much of which was fascinating, and some of which was news to me. In the end, though, I found she was sometimes preaching to the converted, because who else is going to read this book other than people who tend to be sticklers about punctuation? And while I could relate to some of her stickler-ism, at other times I wanted to back away from her slowly, as her crazy was just too much for me.

I’m going to change exactly none of my punctuation habits because of this book. I use punctuation the way I think is right, and in a way I hope conveys meaning as simply and unfussily as possible. Truss notes that much of punctuation is personal style and preference, and that writing is always in flux. Thus the main point of her book seems to be a rant against people who misuse apostrophes, and I think we’re all pretty much in agreement on that already, right?

9 Responses to “3 of 15: “Eats, Leaves and Shoots” by Lynne Truss”

  1. Inquirer Says:

    3 of 15 … Profiles in Courage. This is a big change from my first two books. I enjoyed it and learned from it.


    It should be easier for me to read this week … maybe? We are participating in Turnoff Week. I am calling it “Think For Yourself Week.”


  2. Amy Says:

    I bought it because of the title, but have never gotten around to opening it. I’ll be interested to read your review.

    Mine’s up: http://www.newcenturyreading.com/2010/04/the-151515-projectday-3.html

  3. MFS Says:

    Here’s my update:


  4. Elle Says:

    Is this the British version or is there a US adaptation? Otherwise I guess it’s irritating to read about rules which are actually wrong in American English (I seem to remember a few of those are mentioned)! In general, I enjoyed the first half but found the second half a bit boring.

  5. SFP Says:

    Oh, yay. You just took a load of pressure off me. I like the idea of carrying over a book very very much.

    Yesterday I read Wigs on the Green, the new Nancy Mitford reissue.


  6. Jessica Snell Says:

    I never managed to finish Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Good luck!

    My number three:


  7. Farheen Zehra Says:

    It was really tough to get my fourth book done what with the gym, trips to the market and a family dinner outing. What I did realize, though, was that I managed to finish the book although I had my hands full. Just shows that if we make a certain goal and stick to achieving it, we can do it. Thanks!

    Here’s my fourth read.


  8. ChristineMM Says:

    Hi everyone, My book for day 3 is “What’s Your Story: A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction”. Highly recommended if you are looking for info on how to develop ideas into a real fiction story. I bought this used a few years ago and finally read it.


  9. Sherry Says:

    Book #3: Apparent Danger by David R. Stokes, a nonfiction story about one of those crazy fundamentalist preachers. J. Frank Norris turns out to be a more complicated character than the stereotype would suggest.