Hi Alena! Thanks so much for joining us on Doing Dewey today. I loved your book and am very excited to have a chance to talk to you about it. Could you please begin by telling us a bit about The Word Exchange?
Hi, Katie! Thank you so much for inviting me! I’m utterly thrilled to join you, and I’m very grateful to you for having read the book, for your very kind words about it, and for giving me the opportunity to join you today!
The Word Exchange is set in the very near future, just a few years from now. The much-anticipated “death of print” has finally become a reality. That’s a problem for the main characters, because they work together at a dictionary—the last of its kind.
When The Word Exchange begins, the final print edition of their dictionary is just about to come out. After that, the protagonists’ future is uncertain, which, as it happens, is also true of the future of language. That’s because in this near-future world, smart phones have become even smarter than they are today, unlike the people who use them. The handheld devices that people rely on most are called Memes, which anticipate users’ wants and needs. But these handy little machines have also started to corrode people’s memories. There’s no need to remember things anymore when it’s easier just to use “memory.” In fact, many people have even started forgetting the meanings of some words. If a person encounters an unknown term—during a conversation, in a text, etc.—her device will ask if she wants to download its definition (for just a couple of cents) from a huge online database called The Word Exchange. Read more »