Book Review: The Circle

the circleTitle: The Circle

Author: David Eggers

Series: none

Edition: library e-book

Blurb: When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Review: Funny, lately I’ve been getting my reading inspiration from other forms of media. First, it was The Handmaid’s Tale because of the new series on Hulu. This time, it was The Circle, after seeing the trailer for the movie coming up with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.

It’s interesting though, reading these two books back to back. They both show a potential future, but the outcomes of these two futures are very different. Instead of The Handmaid’s Tale‘s religious oppression, The Circle has a very 1984 feel to it, except that instead of Big Brother watching, everyone is watching. The idea is that all information is available. There is no privacy. Every thing is available to be watched by anyone, anywhere. Anyone who is trying to hide something is suspicious – if they are hiding it, it must be something shameful or something illegal. The Circle is what a company like Google would be on steroids, and also if it was run by devious people. Or at least ambiguous people. It’s really hard to tell if the leaders of the Circle are actually evil or just really, really misguided. Actually, I think at least one is evil. But I could be wrong. As I said, it’s really hard to tell.

And that’s what makes this a really good book. Nothing is simple. The Circle starts out as an Internet company that looks to do good, making things easier for people online. Identify theft is pretty much ended because of their work and millions of lives are made simpler. Mae is a really good character, who at the start of the book only wants to get out of her dead end job. She’s so happy when she gets her opportunity at the Circle, which does seem like a utopia. I spent a good deal of the time wishing I could work there. It was really easy for her to get more and more pulled into their influence, until they control nearly every aspect of not just her life, but her mind as well. It’s a really interesting character study.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I originally checked out the e-book from the library, but just bought a physical copy today. This is one I will want to re-read again. GoodReads rating: 5 stars

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WWW Wednesday – March 8, 2017

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

So many things at the moment! Still working through The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien – this is my bedtime book. Also started Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, which I am very much enjoying. Some terrific world building in those books! I’m reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke for the Seasonal Reading Challenge book for Spring. This is a re-read for me and I love this book – it’s a modern book that reads like something from the 1800s.

What have you recently finished?

I finished RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, and boy do I have some opinions! A review will be coming soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, the last of the Grisha trilogy. I really want to see how this pans out. After that, I would probably look to work on finishing another series, maybe the Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy by Aimee Carter?

There are my answers for the week! Please leave yours in comments!

Teaser Tuesday – March 7, 2017

Teaser-Tuesdays-Purple

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you would like to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The winding white gravel path led us through the palace grounds, past the rolling lawns and follies, and the high walls of the hedge maze. Tolya, ordinarily so still and silent, squirmed in his saddle, his mouth set in a sullen line.

~ Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I really love this series. I enjoyed the first book, although it’s been several months since I read it. I didn’t re-read it before starting book #2, but I think I remember enough about it that I’m good. Usually that isn’t the case – I like to have the story fresh in my mind – but I didn’t want to take the time to re-read it right now, although I probably will once I finish the series.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

WWW Wednesday – March 1, 2017

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a Word of Words. Yes folks, it’s already March! Can’t believe how fast this year is already going. Missed a few days of blogging because I had the plague. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better now. On with the show!

What are you currently reading?

Started up with The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien last night. This one will take a while, so I’m just going to savor it. I also need to watch The Two Towers movie – I haven’t done that since finishing the book.

Also got quite a bit of progress on RoseBlood by A.G. Howard. I’m . . . well . . . I’m still on the fence on this one. It’s a bit strange and I don’t know how I feel about it yet. It’s definitely caught my interest, so I will keep reading to the end. I want to see where she’s going with this.

Still also reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing new to report here. The last thing I finished was The Two Towers and haven’t finished anything else since then.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Still planning on reading Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo to finish this series.

That’s my status for the week. Please leave your WWW in comments!

 

WWW Wednesday – February 22, 2017

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

This answer has only changed slightly since last week. I read a bit more in RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, which has been a bit odd so far. This is the one that was inspired by the Phantom of the Opera, if you remember. Well, I am very protective of my Phantom stories, more so than any other fandom, so it’s been a bit weird seeing such a different take on it. I’m still not sure what I think, although I’m not even half way in yet. So we’ll see.

Also working on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, although I missed posting about it this Monday. Might try to do that tomorrow.

You might notice something missing from this part. That’s because . . .

What did you recently finish reading?

I finally finished reading The Two Towers!! And I mean just finished, because I literally closed the book about ten minutes ago. I waited to make this post so that I could say that I finished it instead of continuing to plod through it. So yay!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely will be reading The Return of the King, because of course. After that, I think I will stop reading with Mark Reads just for a little while and start working on some of the series I need to try and complete. I challenged myself to complete five of them from my list, so I should probably think about that. To that end, I will say that I will also read Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, book #2 in The Grisha series. I read the first book, Shadow and Bone, at the end of last year, although it was during my blogging slump, so I never actually reviewed it. I should probably do that at some point.

There are my answers for this week! Please leave yours in comments!

Teaser Tuesday – February 21, 2017

Teaser-Tuesdays-Purple

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

~ Gandalf, The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

I love this quote. It appears in this book, but also in The Fellowship of the Ring, where it was originally spoken.

This book is taking a very long time, I know, but Tolkien is something that tends to go slowly. I do want to try and finish this one this week though.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

the-handmaids-taleTitle: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Series: None

Edition: E-book

Seasonal Reading Challenge:Task 15.3, Option #2 – Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy in January 1792.

Option 1, Read TWO books, one book 1 and one book 2.

Book 1: Read a book from this list of Popular Feminism Books
Required: State the page of the list where your book is found.

Book 2: Read a book by a female author whose initials are found in MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. Letters may only be used as often as they appear. All name part initials must be considered. One qualifying author in a book by multiple contributors fulfills this task.

OR

Option 2, Read ONE book that fulfills both option 1 Book A and Book B.

Blurb: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Review: Oh. My. GAWD! How have I never read this book before??

I devoured this book in one day. Almost in one sitting. It was that compelling.

It’s really hard to explain what I liked about the book, because there are very few things I didn’t like. The setting took some time to figure out where exactly this was taking place – it was a reveal in and of itself. The characters were wonderfully rich and complex. Offred is a very compelling protagonist, but it was also interesting to see that the people who were in power, who should have been “the bad guys” were also very complicated. The Commander and his wife were part of the system, but neither one seemed very happy about it. I really liked the under culture too, and would LOVE to hear more about Moira’s story.

The pacing in this was great as well. We get constant hints throughout of Offred’s life before, but it’s not until towards the end that we really see the full picture, and see how we got to this point in the first place. And it’s fascinating. The only thing I could even criticize about it is that the final chapter feels really out of place. It takes place long after the events of the book and, well, I don’t know. It felt wrong. I wanted to have more of a definitive conclusion of Offred’s story, and we don’t really get that.

But that was me just being nitpicky. The rest of the book is great. Thought provoking, shocking, but in all the right ways. GoodReads rating: 5 stars.