I’ve just finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers. It was incredible and exhilarating.
The Circle is an extremely powerful company, much like Facebook or Google, except even more all-encompassing and further-reaching with its end goal being for every single person to have one account, one online identity, to do everything you have to do.
It’s like if you had to go through Facebook to pay your taxes, or to do your online banking … or even to vote.
It was staring at me like this in the library Source
The book takes us into this world – already disturbingly similar to the world we’re really living in today – through the eyes of main character Mae Holland, who begins working at the Circle, and we follow her progress as she finds her footing then gains power and influence. Very real questions around issues of privacy, democracy, and our capacity for/right to knowledge arise.
This book was such a great read and I’m so mad that I’ve finished it … It’s so relevant to today and especially since we’ve recently been reading and discussing all those articles in Swedish class, about how many is too many Facebook friends, or the impact technology/social media has on parents and their kids, how addictive Facebook can be and how meaningful (or not) interactions online are versus in real life.
I would especially recommend my brother, Dr Yam, to read it because he is a dreadful Facebook addict. I feel like beating him over the head with it really because the book is as big as a dictionary and maybe it’ll get through to him that way. There was a really great quote in the book that has stayed with me, that “Individually you don’t know what you’re doing collectively.”
I’m in awe of this book even though I can’t quite believe the ending and I don’t know if I like it or not … but it is seriously well done, with beautiful, powerful imagery and spot-on dialogue. (They even say ‘meh’! Very accurate.) After I finished reading it I had to go for a walk because my brain was going to explode (in a good way) and the apartment is too small to contain all of it.
HIGHLY recommend this book and really glad I found it a week ago at the library in the sad little collection of English books. I’ve known about Dave Eggers for ages but never got around to borrowing the one I’ve been meaning to read – A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I got out What is the What a while ago when I was still in Australia (OK, so like more that a year ago) but didn’t really get into it because it’s about war and I found it more upsetting/depressing than compelling. Dr Yam, if you’re reading this, stop right away and read The Circle.
I’m constantly reminded of this one reading we had to do back in 4th year architecture for my Seeing Architecture theory class. It’s the opening chapter of The Anaesthetics of Architecture by Neil Leach, 1999. In it he briefly talked about the overload of information on society rendering the information meaningless and that really stayed with me too. I can’t believe he said that back in 1999. It’s a thousand times worse today, and still true.
Next I’m going to read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, who I love and who is always writing about lesbians (except not in The Little Stranger, which was a pretty mong book, but not because it didn’t have lesbians). My copy of The Paying Guests arrived yesterday from book depository so I’m going to get into it after my brain recovers from The Circle and between reading the new book for Swedish class, Tusen Gånger Starkare.
Well done to anyone STILL reading this huge rant and I hope you have a jolly good weekend!
Written by Moshi