Our lovely Managing Editor, Jade Craddock, has prepared some questions to be discussed alongside NB’s Recommendation for April; The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. Perfect for book clubs!

  1. How aware were you of the history/context of the evolution of the OED? Did the novel pique your interest or even change the way you thought about dictionaries?
  1. What did you like/dislike about the novel being set against the backdrop of the dictionary’s evolution? How important was that aspect to the story as a whole?
  2. The novel follows Esme’s whole life story, what did you think of the way this is depicted? Did you feel the book achieves the right balance in depicting each stage of her life?
  3. The story places women very much front and centre, ironically at a time when they were on the periphery in history but fighting for suffrage, how did you feel about the balance between the the personal and political elements of women’s lives and the range of female characters in the novel?
  4. The novel explores the idea that some words are more important than others, do you agree? Is it something that still chimes today? Are there particular words that you feel are prioritised/marginalised more than others?
  5. How did you feel about the ending of the novel? Was it what you expected/hoped for?