The Circle

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The Circle

by Dave Eggers

Knopf Canada | October 8, 2013 | Hardcover

The Circle is rated 3.3333 out of 5 by 3.

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.
 
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 504 pages, 8.79 × 6.45 × 1.53 in

Published: October 8, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345808584

ISBN - 13: 9780345808585

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Dumbed down view of a techno-corporate dictatorship on the rise. If I HAD to recommend this book for anyone, it would have to be young teenagers, and then only to make them think about social media. As an adult reader, the writing was so poor and juvenile I wanted to rip the book apart. The concept is great: A large internet corporation wants to rule the world, and uses social media propaganda to get there. The story telling however is awful. The characters make unrealistic decisions throughout the book. For example; Mae (our heroine) learns that she's been filmed doing a sexual act without her permission. The guy who filmed it refuses to erase it, and when Mae takes it up with her friend, who is also a big wig in the company, her friend suggests she drop the issue, which she does. So: a girl gets sexually violated, on company property, and everyone just lets it slide? Then Mae dates the same fellow again later in the book. Totally unrealistic. Another shame is how predictable the story is: You can see each event in the story happen at least 3 chapters ahead of time. The writing couldn't be more simple. My Little Pony has more complicated dialogue. Give this book a pass. There are so many better choices out there.
Date published: 2014-06-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Circle This book really made me think. This book changed how I looked at life, or at least one aspect of it; I think differently about social media and internet privacy now. The Circle is a social media corporation—think Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all rolled into one. The company uses its financial power and social connections to create a Utopian "campus" for the staff. "Outside the walls of the Circle, all was noise and struggle, failure and filth. But here, all had been perfected. The best people had made the best systems and the best systems had reaped funds, unlimited funds, that made possible this, the best place to work, Mae thought. Who else but utopians could made utopia?" The main character, Mae, lands her dream job at the Circle. Soon the dark side of Utopia becomes apparent to the reader, but not to Mae. She enjoys the free daily entertainment, and she submits to company pressure to stay on campus as much as possible. She eats free food and drinks free wine, and she buys into their "stay connected at all times" philosophy. She makes more money than ever, and she lives in front of a screen, minute by minute: eighteen minutes to eat lunch and three to pee. Her new lifestyle affects her family, her friendships and relationships. Her ex-boyfriend, Mercer, says: ". . . you're not doing anything interesting anymore. You're not seeing anything, saying anything. The weird paradox is that you think you're at the center of things, and that makes your opinions more valuable, but you yourself are becoming less vibrant. The executives at the head of the Circle strive for total "transparency." No hiding and no lies. Public officials begin to wear cameras all day, every day, so their every transaction can be viewed and recorded. Soon Mae adopts "transparency" and a 24-hour camera, too. The paradox is that her so-called real life immediately becomes staged and rehearsed. Like our Reality TV, when people know they are on camera, they adjust their behaviour, so it's not real at all. Even though Mae begins to realize that she and a close friend "hadn't had a natural interaction in months," she presses on. "It was important, Mae had been told, that the entire event seem natural . . ." Eggers touches on themes we already see in our social media world: how we develop an artificial sense of accomplishing change when we "like" someone's post, how we live or die by the number of followers we have, how our self-esteem takes a dive if even a small percentage of people don't like what we're doing on-line, and how unsustainable a "transparent" life is. Eggers captures the rapture and the anxiety of life on the Circle campus effectively. Even as we readers are salivating at the idea of free food and wine, we're worrying about whether Mae will get back to her desk on time. Eggers' prose phrasings simulate the relentless rhythm and pressure of Mae's minute by minute statistic-led life. He makes us cringe at the creepy level of surveillance. He builds tension around private lives made public, without permission. How does this story end? Will Mae shake off the yoke? Will she begin to see the value of individual privacy? You'll have to read and find out. How will our social media and internet privacy story end? I don't know, but Eggers' book has made me think about it.
Date published: 2014-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Social networking and personal tech gets creepy A new graduate get's a job in a tech company that resembles Google, Apple, and Facebook combined. Things get creepy as the Circle works towards drastically changing lives by making them technologically transparent to everyone. This book is less about the company and more about how corporate culture can become culty and overbearing for those who buy in. It speaks to the trend of always being connected and work / life merging together. Reading this book will make you examine how you use social media and question your relation to technology.
Date published: 2014-01-14

– More About This Product –

The Circle

by Dave Eggers

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 504 pages, 8.79 × 6.45 × 1.53 in

Published: October 8, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345808584

ISBN - 13: 9780345808585

From the Publisher

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.
 
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

About the Author

Dave Eggers grew up near Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. In 2002, he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit youth writing and tutoring center in San Francisco’s Mission District. Sister centers have since opened in seven other American cities under the umbrella of 826 National, and like-minded centers have opened in Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Birmingham, Alabama, among other locations. His work has been nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, France’s Prix Médicis, Germany’s Albatross Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the American Book Award. Eggers lives in Northern California with his family.
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