October 7, 2015

New Yorker’s Norris Coming to Labyrinth

Mary Norris Page 12

Mary Norris, who has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker’s copy department, will be at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, October 13, at 6 p.m. to read from and discuss her new book Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Norton $24.95).

Writing in The New Yorker, John McPhee calls Mary Norris “the verbal diagnostician I would turn to for a first, second, or third opinion on just about anything.” The New York Times’ Sarah Lyall writes, “Ms. Norris, who has a dirty laugh that evokes late nights and Scotch, is … like the worldly aunt who pulls you aside at Thanksgiving and whispers that it is all right to occasionally flout the rules.”

Between You & Me features Ms. Norris’s descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage — comma faults, danglers, “who” vs. “whom,” “that” vs. “which,” compound words, gender-neutral language — and her clear explanations of how to handle them. She draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as from The HoneymoonersThe Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. As Ms. Norris writes, “The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can’t let it push you around.”

Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978. Originally from Cleveland, she now lives in New York.