Synopses & Reviews
These are interesting times for word nerds. We ate, shot and left, bonding over a joke about a panda and some rants about greengrocers who abuse apostrophes. We can go on Facebook and vow to judge people when they use poor grammar. The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Elements of Style inspired sentimental reveries. Grammar Girls tally of Twitter followers is well into six digits. We cant get enough of a parody of the Associated Press Stylebook, of all things, or a collection of "unnecessary" quotation marks.Could you care less? Does bad grammar or usage "literally" make your head explode? Test your need for this new book with these sentences:"Katrina misplaced many residents of New Orleans from their homes.""Sherry finally graduated college this year.""An armed gunman held up a convenience store on Broadway yesterday afternoon."Pat yourself on the back if you found issues in every one of these sentences, but remember: There is a world out there beyond the stylebooks, beyond Strunk and White, beyond Lynne Truss and Failblogs. In his long-awaited follow-up to Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, while steering readers and writers on the proper road to correct usage, Walsh cautions against slavish adherence to rules, emphasizing that the correct choice often depends on the situation. He might disagree with the AP Stylebook or Merriam-Webster, but he always backs up his preferences with logic and humor.Walsh argues with both sides in the language wars, the sticklers and the apologists, and even with himself, over the disputed territory and ultimately over whether all this is warfare or just a big misunderstanding. Part usage manual, part confessional, and part manifesto, Yes, I Could Care Less bounces from sadomasochism to weather geekery, from "Top Chef" to Monty Python, from the chile of New Mexico to the daiquiris of Las Vegas, with Walshs distinctive take on the way we write and talk. Yes, I Could Care Less is a lively and often personal look at one mans continuing journey through the obstacle course that some refer to, far too simply, as "grammar."
"Walsh (The Elephants of Style) uses his years as a copy editor for The Washington Post to deliver an irreverent, meandering tour through the vagaries of the English language. The self-proclaimed 'word nerd' waxes philosophical on a wide variety of subjects from the proper uses of punctuation, to misused phrases like 'could care less' and 'literally', to inaccurate plurals and possessives. Unfortunately, he has so much fun sharing his opinions that he often moves on to the next quibble before finishing his point. His Curmudgeon's Stylebook introduces readers to brief opinions on the proper way to use 'anniversary', 'coffee shop', compound nouns, ramen noodles, and much more. As Walsh explains, this is about 'what I care about,...what I don't care about, and why.' Of course, he also admits to being 'a big fat elitist' so readers can take his words with a grain of salt. While it's entertaining to see a master at work, Walsh undermines his own efforts to share his expertise with forced casualness, offhanded humor, and lack of focus. Those looking for a useful reference manual or a pure work of comedy will likely be disappointed. Agent: Janet Rosen, Sheree Bykofsky Associates. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A usage guide for writers and all lovers of language from Bill Walsh, language maven, copy editor at The Washington Post, and author of Lapsing into a Comma
Calling all language sticklers—and those who love to argue with them! Usage maven Bill Walsh expounds (rather than expands) on his pet peeves in the long-awaited follow-up (note the hyphens, please) to The Elephants of Style and Lapsing Into a Comma.
Could you care less? Does bad grammar “literally” make your head explode? Test your need for this book with these sentences:
- "Katrina misplaced many residents of New Orleans from their homes."
- "Mark had a full schedule of meetings. His first of the day was a small businessman, followed by a high schoolteacher."
- "Betty was 100% percent wrong."
Pat yourself on the back if you found issues in every one of these sentences, but remember: There is a world out there beyond the stylebooks, beyond Strunk and White, beyond Lynne Truss and Failblogs. Part usage manual, part confessional and part manifesto, Yes, I Could Care Less bounces from sadomasochism to weather geekery, Top Chef to Monty Python. It is a lively and often personal look at one mans continuing journey through the obstacle course that some refer to, far too simply, as “grammar.”
About the Author
Bill Walsh is a copy editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1997. He is a regular presenter at the annual conferences of the American Copy Editors Society. Walsh is the author of Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style and blogs at www.theslot.com.