Title: Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
Author: Mary Norris
Hardcover: 978-1324001270, $25.95
Imprint: New York: Norton, 2019
“In her New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils and punctuation in The New Yorker’s celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and funny paean to the art of self-expression, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek.
Greek to Me is a charming account of Norris’s lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, goes searching for the fabled Baths of Aphrodite, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris’s memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine―and more than a few Greek men―Greek to Me is the Comma Queen’s fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.”
“One of the most satisfying accounts of a great passion that I have ever read.”
– Vivian Gornick, New York Times Book Review
“Greek to Me [is] an ode to the joy of exercising free reign in one’s life…Norris is an uncommonly engaging, witty enthusiast with a nose for delicious details and funny asides that makes you willing to follow her anywhere.”
– Heller McAlpin, NPR
“A rapturous memoir of falling in love with language…At their best, these pages leave you feeling salt-kissed and freshly tanned, languorous with ouzo.”
– Rory Tolan, Washington Post
“Charming…Aiming at times for slapstick, Ms. Norris keeps uncovering veins of tragedy.”
– A. E. Stallings, Wall Street Journal
“Norris’ vibrant prose flies off the page, and the breadth of her material set my head spinning at times. Still, she brings it all together with insight and wisdom.”
– Elfrieda Abbe, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“An entertaining, erudite, and altogether delightful journey fueled by the love of language.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“What a fantastic book! Not only is Greek to Me educational, entertaining, and gorgeously written, it shows us how intellectual curiosity coupled with a dash of bravery can pave the way for a more meaningful life. Mary Norris does for Greek and Greece what Cheryl Strayed did for hiking. Readers will long to follow in her footsteps.”
– Ann Patchett
“I fell in love with Mary Norris’s first book, and am now even more in love with this charming, ribald, highly informed, and always funny excursion through the language, culture, and oddities of Greece and the Greek language. An adventure tale for intellectuals―and also for the rest of us.”
– Steve Martin
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.