Category Archives: Books

Send to the Grammer Vandal

I LOVE Random House.  They are kind enough to send me grammar and language books from time to time, and some of them are very funny and entertaining.  I will be posting a review on the first shortly.

But you have to admit…in the latest package they sent me, this was a bit odd:


I found it funny enough that they didn’t even put my actual name on the address.  (My coworkers, some of whom simply call me Vandal, were amused as well.)   But the GRAMMER vandal?!

Eh.  They send me books.  I still love them.

Bill Cosby = Grammar WIN!

Earlier in this blog’s history, I talked about Bill Cosby’s latest book, Come On People.  (I discussed it here and later here.)

Oh, Bill.  Oh, publishing company.  Without the comma, there’s suddenly a LOT of innuendo in this title.  (The cover art doesn’t help, either.)

Well, I was perusing the books at Borders the other day and saw the latest edition of the book:


They actually added the comma!

THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!  It’s so rare that you actually see a company changing its grammar after customer complaints!  (Believe me, there were a lot of complaints.  This book got a lot of press for its missing comma in the title.)

I have to give a shout-out to the book’s publisher, Thomas Nelson.  Well done, Tommy boy.  Very well done.

Ella Minnow Pea: a delightful read!

A few years ago in the Fairfield University bookstore, I came across a lovely little book called Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. It’s just the kind of book that fans of language like my readers would enjoy!

It’s an interesting concept. The entire novel is in the form of letters. It takes place on a fictitious island nation off the coast of South Carolina called Nollop. The island is named after Nevin Nollop, author of the pangram, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

A pangram is a sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet. The island worships Nevin Nollop’s incredible, short pangram so much that he becomes the center of their lives. In the center of town, they have a statue built in his honor, with a monument documenting each letter in each word.

All is well — until the Z falls off.

The nation decides to consider it a sign from above and ban the usage of the letter Z. Consequently, the letter Z disappears from Ella’s letters and the novel as a whole.

As time goes on, more letters start falling, and the villagers are prosecuted and eventually banned from the island for using any of the letters, even in casual conversation. The X disappears, more lesser-used letters disappear, and finally the vowels start going as well!

All the while, the citizens work to find a literary solution to restore order on the island.

It’s really interesting to see how Mark Dunn is able to write beautifully, even after dropping as many as half the letters in the alphabet!

I highly recommend this lovely little book. Best of all, you could read the whole thing in a rainy afternoon like today. Click here to check it out on

Gifts for the Grammarian

I’m back! I’m back!

Sorry for the absence. I hope you’re all well.

I got a few grammar-oriented gifts for Christmas — which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting at all!

First of all, my friend Lisa got me this magnet:

They have a whole line of products with this image, from shirts and tank tops to pins, stickers and bags. Check out the line here.

From my dad, I got the book Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English:

I leafed through the book, and it has a lot of great topics for future posts. Buy it on Amazon here.

Stay tuned….

A Common [SPACE] Sense Posting

I was reading about this book on today, and at first I thought there was a typo when they mentioned the title. Is “Commonsense” a word? (For the record, other than that word, I think the title’s hilarious!)

I’m not sure if it’s correct, because I’ve never seen it in professional writing as one word. It could be antiquated, along with “covenantbreakers” and “lovingkindnesses” and all those other long words in the Bible.

Unless Commonsense is a brand name.

I’m googling.

Okay. It appears to be a brand name — it’s a series of how-to books. Because of that, I won’t go after them. It’s creative license.

Of course, if I were creating a brand name, I would use the correct spelling and grammar, but that’s just me. 🙂

ALSO: I’m watching I Love New York as I type this, and the following sentence appeared on the screen: FYI: Mr. Boston is an accountant not a chef. Yikes….

Get your mind out of the gutter!

Reader Bike Cop brought my attention to Bill Cosby’s newest book, which is in desperate need of a comma:

Sometimes I disgust myself.
That being said, this book reminds me of the sign that began my foray into grammar vandalism: “RUN EASY BOSTON.”
Thanks, Bike Cop.