Book 'em

What I'm currently reading:

A panda walks into a café. 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.

I purchased the paperback version at Borders Books. A limited edition Punctuation Repair Kit was included.

Now, before all you begin to twitter with laughter, I am fully aware of the punctuation errors on this site. Believe it or not, I do actually edit each post. However, there are times when mistakes get past the draft stage. Ah, well, the beauty of blogging. Nonetheless, reading this book has begun to awaken my inner stickler.

Here are a few interesting items from the website:

An educational companion to Eats, Shoots & Leaves
available in PDF format or in Microsoft Word

Also, The Punctuation Game

From the New Yorker, a rather stern review:

Lynne Truss’s strange grammar.
Issue of 2004-06-28
Posted 2004-06-21

The first punctuation mistake in “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” (Gotham; $17.50), by Lynne Truss, a British writer, appears in the dedication, where a nonrestrictive clause is not preceded by a comma. It is a wild ride downhill from there. “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” presents itself as a call to arms, in a world spinning rapidly into subliteracy, by a hip yet unapologetic curmudgeon, a stickler for the rules of writing. But it’s hard to fend off the suspicion that the whole thing might be a hoax.

[Read the rest here...]

What I plan to read in the near future:

Gently Down the Stream by Ray Robertson
ISBN-10: 1-897151-02-0
Release date: September 2006
5.125" x 7.625"
Trade Paper
335 pages

Hank Roberts can't buy a thrill. His wife, Mary, his best friend, Phil, Phil's annoying new girlfriend and Canada's hottest new female novelist, Rebecca — everyone but Hank, it seems — has either become what they set out to be or are well on their way to getting there. Hank isn't old, but he's not young anymore, either; is bright, but by no means brilliant; is undeniably restless, but not by any stretch ambitious. He loves his wife, his dog, and rock and roll, but lately that just doesn't seem to be enough. Doomed, apparently, to be just another overeducated and underachieving Toronto thirty-something, Hank gets jarred out of his itchy complacency by a chance musical encounter at a Friday-night karaoke bar and his realization of the increasing gentrification of his west-end neighbourhood and, by extension, of the mind-numbing homogenization of the world around him.

About the author:
Ray Robertson is the author of three previous novels, Home Movies (published by Cormorant Books), Heroes, and Moody Food, both of which received starred reviews from Quill & Quire and the latter of which made it to the top one hundred lists of The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun. In 2004, Ray published Mental Hygiene, a collection of his articles, essays, and book reviews. Ray lives in Toronto, where he teaches Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.


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