Book review: Eats, shoots & leaves

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.”

Basically, it ought to be impossible to write an entertaining book on punctuation, but Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss is a wonderful, short read, full of practical tips on placing those pesky commas, colons, semi-colons and full stops as well as lots of amusing anecdotes.

The book is especially funny when the author describes her horror at seeing public examples of erroneuos punctuation, such as the move title Two Weeks Notice (should be Two Weeks’ Notice). She has actually picketed a movie theater showing the movie, armed with a large apostrophe on a stick which she held up to correct the title.

An amusing and interesting read: what more could you ask for.

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