Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon (read 7/31/15 to 8/11/15)

This was one of the books I received in my Book Riot July Quarterly Box.  I was excited to read it, it sounded so interesting.  The Premise is that that in what I assume is an alternate reality books, libraries, and newspapers have at last become things of the past. Everybody used devises that are called Memes for all their communication and entertainment needs.  I imagine them to look like Blackberries and be extremely advanced smart devices. The Memes are intuitive and can anticipate the users needs, dialing the doctor before the user knows they are sick, or prompting the user with forgotten words or definitions of unfamiliar words. Yet there are still a few dedicated wordsmiths who are working on the final print edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language. One evening, right before it’s released, Anana Johnson finds that the chief editor—her father—has vanished.  The book then follows Anana and her colleague Bart as they search for her father from a single clue he left her in his office.  There is intrigue and danger and a giant conspiracy that must be unraveled.  All while trying to avoid succumbing to the deadly "Word Flu."  People are losing their language, whole words are disappearing and some are even dying.  How is it transmitted, why is it here, what does it have to do with Anana's father?This was a great read, I was enthralled with it, it was scientific and terrifying and engrossing.  I can see the way we are all attached to our smart phones and understand how we are losing something in our communications and our interactions with each other. This read was very thought provoking on the language breakdown.  There were lots of subtitles, that even if I didn't catch them all it didn't detract from my read.  For example, I  didn't realize the chapters were in alphabetical order until the last chapter. I will need a second read to catch it all I think.  There was a lot of science regarding the word flu and how it spread and how it was created, it was fascinating, but I think deserves a second read to fully comprehend.  The writing was great, it flowed really easy and kept my attention.  I really liked it, in fact I have recommended it to my book club as a read.

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