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The Circle (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series) Hardcover – Large Print, 26 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 631 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (26 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410466825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410466822
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including "Zeitoun," a nonfiction account a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina and "What Is the What," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine ("The Believer"), and "Wholphin," a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

Product Description

Review

A stunning work of terrifying plausability ... a worthy and entertaining read (Publisher's Weekly)

Eggers has set his style and pace to technothriller: the writing is brisk, spare and efficient ... it works (Time)

Prescient, important and enjoyable ... a deft modern synthesis of Swiftian wit with Orwellian prognostication' (Guardian)

The Circle is 'Brave New World' for our brave new world ... fast, witty and troubling (Washington Post)

An elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st Century (Vanity Fair)

Immensley readable and very timely (Metro)

A gripping and highly unsettling read (Sunday Times)

Unputdownable (Times)

Eggers's writing is so fluent, his ventriloquism of tech-world dialect so light, his denouement so enjoyably inevitable (Observer)

Tremendous novel ... inventive, big hearted and very funny. Prepare to be addicted (Daily Mail)

Compelling and deeply contemporary (L.A Times)

Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life (Booklist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including his recent trilogy: The Circle, A Hologram for the King, (2012 National Book Award finalist), and Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? He is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco producing books as well as a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) and a monthly magazine (The Believer). McSweeney's also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Dave Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of tutoring centres around the country, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization promoting greater college access. He lives in Northern California with his family. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rough Diamond TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Well, no, not for much longer, if the scenario Dave Eggers imagines in 'The Circle' is to be believed. Set in the near future, The Circle has become the daddy of all internet companies, and has subsumed Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and all the rest to become a completely dominant and all-pervasive presence in people's online lives. The 10,000 or so employees working on The Circle's California campus have no doubt that their technology is making the world a better, safer, wiser place. But the implications of The Circle's omnipresence in terms of civil liberties, privacy and personal independence become more and more disturbing as The Circle's management pushes the company's capabilties towards their ultimate conclusion - which they refer to rather ominously as 'completing the circle'.

Eggers here is doing what satirists and science fiction writers have done for generations: take an existing modern trend and push it to its extremes. He is spot on in targeting the way in which our addiction to social media is allowing us to sleepwalk into a surveillance society, and he's also entertainingly paranoid in imagining a world in which there is no opt-out from public participation - a world where, in one of the book's many memorable taglines, Privacy is Theft. As well as raising the alarm on the threat of an online panopticon, the book is perhaps even more than this a satire on the corrosive effects of unrestrained capitalism, by imagining a world in which users' very selves can effectively be privatised and monetised by social media. All of which places a salutary question mark over today's internet giants and their anodyine internal injunctions of 'Don't Do Evil' and suchlike.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dutch Magpie on 17 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure where to stand on this book.

I think the author had a great idea here. The premise of this book is certainly interesting. Eggers exploits the creepiness associated with Google's and Facebook's disregard for personal privacy and turns it into a dystopian thriller. Post-Edward Snowden, this book really hits the target.

As a story, however, it fails. Its vacuous and shockingly naive main protagonist, Mae Holland, blindly and unquestioningly accepts all the bizarre requests her company demands of her. Not once does she put up an ounce of resistance when she is being told to share even the most personal and private details of her life. What motivates Mae's lack of resistance remains infuriatingly unclear throughout the story.

I kept on wondering at which point she would explode and tell her employers to stick their requests where the sun doesn't shine. I kept expecting her to at least say "enough is enough" and storm out. Alas, no. All she does is apologise profusely and sacrifice more of her personal dignity. It made me want to grab her by the shoulders and scream at her. Towards the end of the book I even loathed her so much I was actively hoping for some suitably nasty end to her pathetic existence.

Most of the other characters are extremely peripheral and not fleshed out in much detail. There's a couple of love interests here and there, but those aren't explored very much. Then there's the ex boyfriend who acts as the moral conscience of the story. He's the only one who's remotely likeable.

Still though, despite all these criticisms this book did make me sit back and think.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By sharona27 on 30 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has so much potential and I enjoyed reading it but it only half realises its ideas. There is a delicious irony that when you finish it you are guided to Twitter, Facebook and other websites. For those who don't know the book is a dystopia which explores the ramifications of our social media information obsession so it's a bit strange to be now conforming to The Circle by rating the book on Amazon.

Strengths: the book has a good idea as all good dystopia fiction should and it poses some important questions about what would happen to our notion of truth, privacy and community especially if one company owned Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter and every other social media site and app.

Weaknesses: the main character and the story. Mae is irritating. She's an anti-hero who is just too dumb. Also these stories require conflict - section 1 is all exposition much of which is repeated as if we didn't pick up the mantra about privacy and truth in the first conversation between the same two characters. Then, shockingly and I'll try to avoid spoilers, the most important moment of the book isn't there! Also Eggers just seems to get bored with characters like Annie and Mae's parents.

Had this been edited properly and developed it would have rightfully taken its place beside other great dystopias that have challenged the way we think about society and control. A thought-provoking novel that has certainly affected the way and how often I've used technology today alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann Fairweather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 April 2014
Format: Paperback
An excellent read all round. I found the novel captivating, and based on how things work to day, who's to say that Google, Twitter , Facebook, Amazon, etc, will not, one not so distant day, all merged into one big online conglomerate similar to the 'Circle'? Everything in the book in either already happening or very possibly happening soon, the main reason that made this story absolutely riveting. Mae is also a very interesting character, because, in spite of all her unblinking enthusiasm for the Circle, I still wanted to believe right up to the end, that she would manage to shake free of her allegiance to it. No spoiler, but it does not turn out quite like that. I found the conclusion utterly chilling, well demonstrating the complete madness of the 'transparency' obsession. Funny enough, nowadays, transparency is something we all believe is good for society, so it only takes to push it a little further and further to turn it, as Eggers shows here, into some monstrous control over everyone. It is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone using social media or any internet facilities, because it gives lots of food for thought about the positives and negatives of it all. Granted, the scene with the shark in the aquarium towards the end, is really one Eggers should have edited out, its symbolism as subtle as a mammoth, but for this one faux-pas, the whole novel proves to be an absolute addictive feast. +smile+
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