Sara Wheeler

Spectator books of the year: Sara Wheeler wallows in a witty grammar memoir

Spectator books of the year: Sara Wheeler wallows in a witty grammar memoir
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My Book of the Year is Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a grammar memoir by Mary Norris, a copy editor at the New Yorker for 30 years (Norton, £15.99). Anyone who loves language will wallow in this book. Working with the greats (Roth to McPhee) and digressing on the foibles of the serial comma, Norris infects every line with wit and wisdom.

In the travel department I commend Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette (Quercus, £25), a gripping account of an under-reported island.

As for fiction, I pick John Banville’s The Blue Guitar (Viking, £14.99) — perhaps for the tone of elegiac melancholy as the protagonist faces the sorrows and indignities of late middle-age.