Six Degrees of Separation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Thanks as always to Books Are My Favorite and Best for  hosting Six Degrees of Separation each month! You can read the rules here.


This month we are starting our chains with Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. I have not read this book, so here is the Amazon blurb:

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Using examples from literature, history, neighborhood signage, and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and the hilarious consequences of punctuation gone awry.

My Chain

My brain was taxed by too many emails, too many committee meetings on Zoom and the like so I’ve gone the obvious route this month.

My Chain


The first book that came to mind explains much about why punctuation and even real prose has taken a huge hit–texting. This is a very fun book, by the way. Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortbeg.


A sweet, but not cloying or precious, book that uses texting and other disasterous forms of communication in substandard English is Akin by Emma Donoghue. Yes the premise is a bit crazy, but just go with it. Pictures, emojis, abbreviations–all of texting and social media posting works in this book. Akin: A Novel by Emma Donoghue.


Another book that came to mind also addresses why we cannot use standard English, its grammar or its punctuation anymore: We are overwhelmed by e-mail and the subsequent “active hive mind” approach to our work day. This one is well worth reading. A World Without Email by Cal Newport.


A book that uses a lot of email in the story is the funny Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea.


Another force trying to destroy the English language is the Academe. This book is so funny (if you work in academia, that is) I had to be sure I didn’t take a drink while listening to it. Whether it is debating the most inclusive language [which I am in no way against–I’m merely against ever attending another meeting on that subject and most other subjects ever again], or whether whatever in vogue cannon is x-enough, or if x-group has “agency” –it is all in the book, all the daily absurdities of academia’s endless committee meetings. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher.



I tossed a coin whether the use of “AF” or “AS” or F— or BadAss would win. The constant use of profanity is another thing our society needs to back away from. Yes, I’m old. Yes, I used to think it was ‘just a word’ (or phrase). I’ve lived a while. I’ve seen the coarsening effects. It’s up there with men’s genitalia being displayed in boxers or briefs above the waistband of their pants and facial tatoos. (Yes, I am, as a matter of fact, judging.) I picked this book because it epitomizes the problem. This books, is of course, to be taken as humor (and I get the humor–I was a Mom of a kid who barely slept). But it’s too much.  Go the F@@k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.

Next month, August, we start our chains with Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher.

Did you participate in Six Degrees this month? Leave me a link to your post in the comments.

Does this look like fun to you? It is! Join in next month! Here are the rules.


26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

      1. I have a collab opportunity for you if you’re interested! I’ve been contacting bloggers to submit a one paragraph blurb about one book they would recommend that someone should read this summer (with a link to your blog review)….I have 19 bloggers so far! If you want to participate email me your book choice at readingladies1@gmail.com ASAP (I know you’re busy…so no worries or pressure!). I’ll be posting this on July 9. Here’s last years post so you can get an idea…I’m just expanding the collab this year. https://readingladies.com/2020/07/17/summers-one-mustreadbook-2020/


  1. Is this a new blog theme? It too me a while to find where to comment? But, as you can see, I tracked it down.

    I loved all your books about or using texting. I haven’t read many yet, but I’d enjoy good ones.

    Your comment ” I didn’t take a drink while listening to it” about Dear committee members made ME laugh. I’m glad it wasn’t coffee time.

    And, yes, being a woman of a certain age who doesn’t go in for profanity – lazy speech as far as I’m concerned and.or indicative of an increasing angry society – I understand your reservations about that book, albeit I too could relate. I used to make up all sorts of special lines to Kumbaya “Go to sleep now, kumbaya” and “Mummy’s tired now, kumbaya” but never a profanity in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great chain! I actually remember a world without emails, so Academe appeals to me and also Dear Committee Members. I went to too many committee meetings in my time working in local government, so repetitive, boring and full of people too fond of their own voices. And as for the coarsening of life – well I’m in complete agreement with you. Yes, I am old too (older than you – I retired from paid work some time ago).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, I know what you mean by committee meetings. But I’m going to stay away from more of those, and pick up Texts from Jane Eyre instead. Humor is my go-to genre in reading whenever I am feeling the blues. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah…Yes, I understand the too many emails and the too many meetings. I’ve had so many meetings this whole entire year. This is such a great chain! I am going to look into Texts from Jane Eyre. Dear Committee Members sounds like it will be a lot of fun as well. Akin seems an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay so the world without emails got me thinking. How amazing that the first half of our lives was spent without emails, texts, etc. How did we survive!? 🙂 I never could have imagined life without a phone or computer, and the way English that we learned so thoroughly would evolve and degrade. Yeah, I do sound old …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved your blog today. So interesting to this old lady who is a stickler for proper English and punctuation, not to mention spelling! I’d love to read most of the books you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

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