Boozy Babes Book Club: The Circle

12:00 PM

So maybe last week you noticed that I accidentally posted this without actually "posting" anything. That was a big oops on my part. Sometimes when I think I have technology figured it out it comes back to bite me in the ass. Sort of fitting that I make a technological error when our Boozy Babes Book Club book for May was The Circle by Dave Eggers.

This was a book on my to read list for a while. So I was extremely excited when it was drawn and won for the May meeting. It's a book that makes you feel incredibly uncomfortable and unsettled. It makes you question your internet and social media usage. And makes you wonder if the world will be as bleak and as terrifying as the one depicted in the book. The Circle is a bit of a cross between 1984 and Brave New World. There will be those that will immediately compare it to the former in terms of surveillance and lack of privacy. But unlike in Orwell's vision of the future the majority of characters of The Circle are willing participants in the constant surveillance of their and other's lives. This is where the idea that it follows Brave New World seems more apt, a society willingly allowing themselves to be controlled. The use of soma in Brave New World distracts people from the realization that there is something wrong much like the use of technology in The Circle. People have deluded themselves and ignoring the very disturbing issues that come with an over abundance of technology through their use of technology.

In short the plot for The Circle revolves around a young and eager woman named Mae. She is desperate to prove herself as a valuable worker in The Circle after being hired thanks to her friend who is one of the more higher ups. She starts as a customer service rep, one of thousands
of workers in The Circle, to basically becoming the face of the company itself. What seems to be a genuine and harmless desire to connect people through social media, make the world safer, make people more informed and worldly through the internet becomes something far more sinister. 

I had been reading a wide variety of books these past few months, many of which inadvertently tied into the concepts and themes in The Circle. For a bit of non-fiction reading I strongly recommend checking out Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman. Written and published in the 1980s he makes an argument for why the media (he focuses on television but the same argument could be applied today to the internet) is destroying public discourse. I also recommend this article by Miya Tokumitsu called The United States of Work where she explores how our employers manage to control our lives similar to how The Circle controls their employees. I just finished reading Lawrence Wright's book about Scientology, Going Clear which surprisingly the cult mentality of The Circle mirrored that of Scientology in certain respects and cannot recommend enough. 

I was able to knock out this rather lengthy novel in barely 5 days, unable to put it down. There were parts that made me genuinely uneasy (reading about Mae staying up until dawn interacting in social media to improve her standing in The Circle) and other parts that made me question the slippery slope of what seems good (a implanted tracker in children). While it's almost a been there done that plot (again seen in 1984 and Brave New World) it does add something additional to the conversation in how our employers try to control our lives outside of work and the grasp that social media has taken over us. 

Our Next Boozy Babes Book Club read for June will be Kill The Next One by Frederico Axat. Follow us along in our reads on instagram by searching the hashtag: #boozybabesbookclub

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