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The Circle By Dave Eggers

 

The Circle
By Dave Eggers

Corrie Martin - Director, Women's Resource Center

Greg Rohlf
Associate Professor 

My favorite book is often the one that I've just finished!  This spring I picked up Dave Eggers' The Circle (from the Library's Leisure Reading collection, in fact) and couldn't put it down. 

The book tells the story of two college roommates who become co-workers at an imaginary Silicon Valley behemoth that combines Facebook, Twitter and Google.  Annie starts the story as the corporate star who was cultivated for her soaring status at the firm (and in the world) from her birth and upbringing in a well-to-do family.   Annie pulls strings to get shy and insecure Mae hired at an entry-level position, rescuing her from a dreary office job in Fresno.  Over the course of the story, Annie and Mae switch positions, as Mae becomes the high-flyer in the bizarre corporate culture of the Circle in which "privacy is crime," and Annie ends up trying to get out of the crowd-sourced vortex that the Circle creates with its 24 / 7 all-connected-with-all goal.   

The book has heavy doses of satire and science fiction, and yet reads almost like non-fiction, so spot-on was the setting and commentary about our times.  I loved this mix and recommended it to my book group.   Overall, the book did for me what any good work of fiction does: immerses you in a different time (sort of), space and culture, so that when you put it down, you look around and wonder where you are, for just a moment at least.  It was huge plus to discuss it with the guys in my book group, too.  The story provoked great questions about the good life and how we live today.