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The Circle Audio Download – Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 358 customer reviews

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Audio Download, Unabridged, 6 Mar 2014
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 36 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
  • Release Date: 6 Mar. 2014
  • Language: English

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
This novel by Dave Eggers is a book I deem so important I really wish everyone would read it - or at least everyone who leads a considerable portion of their lives online, such as many bloggers (myself included), all facebook members, ebay and Amazon shoppers, google profile owners and many more.

In short, Dave Eggers shows with this novel what could happen (and, on a smaller scale, is already happening - kind of) if one company took over ALL online services for banking, shopping, cloud computing, messaging, and so on. That fictitious company is "The Circle", and its goal is to be complete - something someone wants to prevent at all cost.

Mae Holland is a young woman who lands one of the coveted jobs at The Circle, much envied by her contemporaries for what everybody deems a fantastic opportunity. She soon starts letting The Circle take over more and more of her life, and feels good about it - in fact, whenever she does not share something with the entire community (which encompasses nearly all the world), she is made to feel guilty with arguments so convincing you can really imagine this sort of brain-washing taking place.

A mysterious man, wonderfully described as "calligraphic", becomes Mae's lover, but she can't find out anything about him on the Circle's network, something that greatly irritates her. When she finally learns his true identity (the reader of course guessed it long before that), it is too late for her to be saved - and save the world from the omnipresent tentacles of this giant data-collecting octopus The Circle has become.

The novel ends not quite the way I expected, or was hoping for.
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