The New Yorker’s invisible woman

Over the weekend, I discovered a TED Talk by famed New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris, and I was delighted to find that I could share it here! Some of my favorite lines from her talk:

• “Our purpose is to make the author look good.”

• “If we do our job well, we’re invisible.”

And I wanted to cheer when I learned that she, too, abhors “the singular their,” a usage which gives us sentences like, “Everyone in the vicinity held their breath.” What does Norris say about this use of “their” with a singular antecedent?

• “To give it legitimacy, copy editors call it ‘the singular their,’ as if calling it singular makes it no longer plural. It is my job, when I see it in print, to do my best to eliminate it.”

If you have 10 minutes, I think you’d enjoy watching this talk. And if you do, I’d like to hear your own takeaways!


Fine Books & Collections Magazine

current_coverDo any of you remember the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup slogan, “Two great tastes that taste great together”? Well, I love magazines and I love books, and a few months ago I was delighted to discover a combo of the two every bit as awesome as the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Fine Books & Collections is the name of the magazine, and I’ve just received my second issue in the mail.

I’ve already told my husband that I’d like to visit the new American Writers Museum, a subject of one feature, the next time we’re in Chicago, and of course I love all the advertisements about rare book auctions. (Would you pay $11,250 for a first edition of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind? Someone just did.)
But for my money, the best article in this issue is Biblio 360, the magazine’s guide to book clubs and societies, membership libraries, classes and seminars, exhibits, conferences, book fairs, and festivals. I was quite intrigued to learn about such bookish groups as:
The American Society of Bookplate Collectors & Designers. People collect bookplates? That’s one area I’ve never explored, but maybe I ought to! (
• Fine Press Book Association. This group has the goal of “promoting the appreciation of beautiful books and printing skills.” (
• The Miniature Book Society. A nonprofit organization, this group promotes “all aspects of the book arts with special affection for the small format.” (
• The Movable Book Society. I tend to move my books from stack to stack around the house, but that’s not what this means. This is a group of enthusiasts of pop-up and movable books. (
And if you’d like to keep up with such intriguing book news for yourself, you can visit the Fine Books & Collections website for a free sample issue here.