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The Comma Queen returns with a buoyant book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.
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.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
ABC Radio: Late Night Live (autoplay)
ABC Radio Melbourne: Evenings (2:01:00)
ABC Radio Sydney: Drive (2:00:00)
Australian Writers’ Centre podcast
Minneapolis Star Tribune
New Yorker [extract]
New Zealand Herald
New Zealand Listener
NPR: Book Reviews
Paris Review (extract)
New York Times
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘This book, rich in the history of language and the alphabet…takes us on a journey with the written and spoken word…It’s the alpha to omega of everything, really.’
‘Mary Norris’s Greek to Me is one of the most satisfying accounts of a great passion that I have ever read. It traces a decades-long obsession with Greece: its language (both modern and ancient), literature, mythologies, people, places, food and monuments—all with an absorption that never falters and never squanders the reader’s attention.’
‘Greek to Me is erudite, warm-hearted and endlessly fascinating…[it] champions the beauty of language in all guises.‘
‘Mary Norris, AKA the Comma Queen, writes absolutely delightful memoirs. Her boundless curiosity and giddy enthusiasm will sweep you up and into her stories…not to be missed.’
‘Norris writes with a twinkle in her eye and is gorgeously playful with language, but the principal joy is the way she hits upon what good books can do, how they open and transform us, and make our small lives suddenly vast.’
‘Greek to Me is laced with hilarious anecdotes…Norris’ enthusiasm for history, culture, literature, language and for words is contagious.’
‘Even if you could not care less about Greece, Norris can infect you with her passion for it…her writing is sharp and funny.’
‘This sparking account of how a passion can enrich your life left me wanting to visit Greece ASAP.’