from my bookshelf: the circle by dave eggers


mae holland lands a new job at “the circle,” the planet’s most influential internet company. mae is relieved by an opportunity to leave her old office job behind (specifically, her boss who smells like ham and the gurgling water cooler that threatens to drown her). the circle seems ideal with its pristine facilities, high tech solutions for every inconvenience imaginable, and employees who ooze with intimidating yet desirable cool-ness. eventually, mae’s fascination with the circle is overshadowed by her fear of it; mae is pained by the inescapable burden of putting forth every thought, idea, and experience for the community to share with her. this book is a good reminder to unplug and see our social media-driven world for what it is, and what it hopefully will never become.


“He was an awful assault on the senses, his breath smelling of ham and his mustache furry and wayward, like two small paws emerging, southwest and southeast, from his ever-flared nostrils.”

“Your devices knew who you were, and your one identity–the TruYou, unbendable and unmaskable–was the person paying, signing up, responding, viewing and reviewing, seeing and being seen.”

“That was, she thought drunkenly, evidence of God, was it not? That she could encounter thousands of people in her life thus far, so many of them similar, so many of them forgettable, but then there is this person, new and bizarre and speaking bizarrely. Every day some scientist discovered a new specifies of frog or waterlily, and that, too, seemed to confirm some divine showman, some celestial inventor putting new toys before us, hidden but hidden poorly, just where we might happen upon them.”

“She began to think a bit harder about the clothes she wore to work. She thought more about where she scratched, when she blew her nose or how. But it was a good kind of thinking, a good kind of calibration. And knowing she was being watched, that the Circle was, overnight, the most-watched workplace in the world, reminded her, more profoundly than ever, just how radically her life had changed in only a few months.”

“Knowledge is a basic human right. Equal access to all possible human experiences is a basic human right.”

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