Friday, June 27, 2014

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The main character in this entertaining novel is Mae Holland, a 24 year old recent college graduate who gets an entry-level job answering user questions at the Circle, a powerful tech company that is suggestive of  a combination of Google and Facebook. 

The Circle's cause is "ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN" and "SECRETS ARE LIES" which means total transparency or a total-surveillance society. Mae moves up in the Circle and is soon sucked into their ideals. She believes that everyone should be required to have a Circle account and that every transaction should go through them. 

When the Circle is "complete" there will be no privacy and they will own all the world's information. Mae wears a camera and mic to broadcast her every move, her family's moves, and the Circle's moves to millions of followers. The Circle is a cautionary tale that feels very real. 

The Circle would be perfect for a book club discussion because it brings up current arguments concerning security, privacy, and our online rights.

I recommend reading, I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards and In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes our Lives by Steven Levy to learn about the "powerful tech company" that The Circle is based on.

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