“It’s like snack food. You know how they engineer this food? They scientifically determine precisely how much salt and fat they need to include to keep you eating. You’re not hungry, you don’t need the food, it does nothing for you, but you keep eating these empty calories. This is what you’re pushing. Same thing. Endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent. And you calibrate it so it’s equally addictive.”
― Dave Eggers,
Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Publication date: 8th October 2013
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Goodreads rating: 3.44
Genre: Science Fiction
Mainly spoiler Free, I talk about aspects of the book, but nothing that gives the plot away as a whole.
I purchased a copy of this book and all views are my own.
The quote I have chosen above is my favourite from the book.
When Mae 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. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency.
Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – 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…
Overall Opinion of the Book:
I found the concept of this book extremely interesting. It definitely served as a reminder to me of how much technology is constantly evolving and changing. Not only that, but how much technology has taken over our lives. Not just in a social aspect, but in schools, work and even in public places. In today’s society you can’t really escape it. It’s happened so quickly, without us even fully realising how much we rely on technology and social media. I mean, don’t you ever wonder to yourself how people coped without Googling a question they had? We take technology for granted and it’s definitely caused a new found addiction in so many of us.
The Circle served as an ominous reminder to me of society and the direction in which it’s taking. What shocked me the most about this book is that although it’s a work of fiction, many of the things The Circle does, and the technology it creates, could certainly be turned into reality quite easily. Most of the ideas discussed in the novel are completely plausible and to be honest, it’s quite a daunting prospect!
I probably shouldn’t say this, but it seems as though Eggers has taken some inspiration from some well known companies when he came up with the idea of The Circle. In my opinion, The Circle company seems similar to what a mixture of Google and Apple would be. Both companies are highly influential in today’s society and have a lot of control over people’s data, personal information and the internet in general.
Although I did enjoy the basis of this book, it did fall short in a few places for me. Some of the language was quite repetitive, and it was a little information heavy in a few places. I know this may be because it’s a Sci-Fi book, but sometimes it felt a little unnecessary. There were also parts of the book that were quite sexually explicit. In terms of this book, I felt it wasn’t really necessary and was included to shock the reader, rather than to further the plot.
At some points in the book some of the ideas are taken a little far, in my opinion. I understand that this was probably Egger’s intention, but I didn’t enjoy these parts so much. Without giving too much of the plot away, some of Mae’s co-workers react rather melodramatically and in an unnatural way to her actions. My problem here isn’t with the writing as such, but more to do with the actual characters themselves.
The ending was a little disappointing and a little unrealistic for me. The opposite to what I thought would happen, happened, and I was just left a little disappointed. I felt this way when I watched the film adaptation of The Circle after reading it too. I expected a big dramatic ending which ties up all of the loose ends, but didn’t feel like this happened.
Aside from these small gripes, I did thoroughly enjoy the book however, especially the political aspects to it. It was also particularly interesting to see the vast difference between Mae’s home and work life, which are worlds apart.
I would certainly recommend this book to read as it really is a great concept and idea. It’s an interesting and thought provoking read. While some aspects of it did disappoint me, it’s written brilliantly and was still enjoyable.
Although it is a Sci-Fi, as it’s based in modern society it’s fairly easy to understand, follow and potentially relate to. I’m not a huge Sci-Fi fan myself and I still enjoyed this book. If you’re a fan of the TV series Black Mirror, then I would recommend you read this book. It has similar vibes and themes.
If you would like to purchase a copy of The Circle, you can do so here:
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Book synopses – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18302455-the-circle
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