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A panda walked 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 am 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.
This is a zero tolerance guide.
I was lucky enough to meet Lynn Truss last year whilst she was visiting the Christchurch Literary Festival - and what a lady. She read exerpts from her book and upon speaking with her, I think she was genuinely surprised by her success with a book of this nature.
And surprised she should be. How many authors can say they have a book listed in both the reference section and in the humour section. When I mentioned this to her, she felt it was indeed an achievement.
This book has become my bible. It breaks down the essentially dull and dry subject of grammar into bite sized pieces laced with lashings of humour and copious witty examples. I only wish this book had been written 20 years ago, I would have paid more attention in English - I may have even passed English first time. I can honestly say that I have learnt more with this one book than through the countless English teachers could have ever taught me. I can honestly say this book has been far more informative than any other English book I have read, and certainly more captivating.
Truss delivers the information at a cut throat pace, in a witty and elegant manner. Her clarity and simplicity makes this book a must for the bookshelf of every writer, student and English teacher.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves has been a surprising best seller and has topped the book lists throughout the world, and deservedly so. Truss deserves every accolade due to her for the services to English grammar and humour. I await her next books eagerly.
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He must find the last 13. Our fate is in their hands.
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Andy Rooney (1919 - )