I’m not one of those people who’s averse to using an exclamation mark. I also like commas, apostrophes and all the other types of punctuation. I don’t apologise if this sounds a bit geeky; I write for a living, so it’s right that I have an interest in how to use them to their best effect.
So, I’ve just started reading Lynne Truss‘s book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003). It’s been on my mind to get hold of a copy for a little while, as it received quite a mixed reception when it was first published. Okay, it may not be for everyone, but I’m really enjoying it. The book’s a very interesting, curious account of modern-day applications of punctuation and where it all stemmed from.
It’s not an in-depth history of the development of each mark, but more of a cheerful narration on where many of them started and why they’re so necessary to our understanding of the written word. Leading on from that, the book also mentions how punctuation has contributed to different interpretations of texts, such as the Bible (even if it is a very simplified explanation!).
Truss’s tongue-in-cheek style is self-deprecating and observes the little quirks that, I suspect, many writers suffer from. If you always comment on badly-punctuated notices and signs to long-suffering friends and family (or just to your inner self, because they already refuse to come out with you), you’ll like this too.