Eats, Shoots & Leaves author Lynne Truss now has her own website! So what? Every writer has a website now. Hello! This is big news, reported by Reuters.
However, after visiting http://www.lynnetruss.com. I don’t think any punctuation mark can do it justice. It deserves an emoticon. Like this: 😦
Truss may well riposte, “Talk to my hand!” A thumbs down from a nobody like me can hardly matter to a bestselling minder of other people’s periods and manners like her.
And, besides, the site can only get only better — it’s got so little now.
The content’s decidedly skimpy. I guess Truss hasn’t had time to fully dress up her site (if she can dare to come out with such a bare site, I can split an infinitive). The site was launched only five days ago.
I do hope she will be posting her tips on punctuation there — then I won’t have to buy her next book. As for her advice on proper etiquette, it should be clear by now I have no use for it.
Just for the record, I do have a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves but never got beyond the first few chapters. I love my Fowler, as revised by Gowers — not the latest version revised by Burchfield. He took the fun out of it.
I know Eats, Shoots & Leaves is good fun too. But you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
And even Truss admits her approach takes the fun out of reading.
“Having been a sub-editor and a proof reader, I do proof-read everything I read and often find I am reading books to check them rather than read them. Any error just sits there and hurts you,” she told Reuters.
Not everyone likes the Queen of the Commas’ (that’s what the Guardian called Truss) “zero tolerance approach to punctuation”.
David Crystal, the author of The Story of English, condemns her for joining the ranks of ‘linguistic fundamentalists”, says the Guardian.
Crystal, who once told her a book on punctuation would never sell, admits: “‘I made the stupidest remark of my life.” Eats, Shoots & Leaves has sold three million copies worldwide, reports the Guardian, and an illustrated children’s version has just been published.
Even Crystal says,” ‘Her book is humorous, clever, clear, pretty accurate, well crafted”, but he adds, it’s “deeply unnerving”.
“Zero tolerance does not allow for flexibility,” he says. “It suggests that language is in a state where all the rules are established with 100 per cent certainty. The suggestion is false. We do not know what all the rules of punctuation are. And no rule of punctuation is followed by all of the people all of the time.”
He is right.
I needed an emoticon — not a punctuation mark — to sum up my feeings about www.lynnetruss.com.
Crystal has a website, too, with a lot more stuff.