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The Circle
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2014 Book Discussions > The Circle - General Discussion No Spoilers (February 2014)

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message 1: by Deborah (last edited Feb 02, 2014 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Deborah | 983 comments We are reading The Circle this month. It won our Open Pick poll. I think it's one of those books that will polarize. People seem to love it or not so much.

I think we'll try to keep spoilers out of the mix in this thread.

More folders to come, where we'll break things down into sections. (I'm on an audiobook, and so I need a bit of time to figure out which chapters are where.)

So, to get things rolling - Have you read it yet? Are you reading? Is this your first experience with Eggers? Are you a fan?


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments Are there chapters at all..? cause I got the impression that there aren't, only three major parts - so I thought it might be a little tough to organize the reading.
For me, the book so far seems 3 stars at best. But it's definitely an enjoyable read, it's just that after the Goldfinch it seems middling.


Deborah | 983 comments There definitely places where there could be chapters. Alright. So, since there aren't.... we'll wing it!


Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments There are three books, but on Kindle Book I is the beginning through 61% (I think), Book II is 61% through 97%, and Book III is the rest. I don't think they will be particularly useful...


Deborah | 983 comments I think that makes sense. But for me, I think there should be a break at the sea change meeting. (I assume that is the correct spelling. Again. Audio book. Sorry!)


Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments I have to admit, after I started reading this book, it struck me as an odd choice for this group. The prose seems to be at best pedestrian, with large, clumsy info-dumps and rather lazy characterization. The ratings for this on Goodreads and Amazon really run the gamut from enthusiastic raves to disgusted condemnations, which is interesting (a book no one bothers to hate can be as dull as a book no one loves).

I'm finding it a easy enough read, but not particularly compelling so far (I'm at 34% or so at the moment). I suspect I know a lot more about how the internet and the high tech industry works than the author. Certainly more than he shows he knows.

But it is important remember that a book can be fun to discuss without necessarily being that much fun to actually read.


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
I have just read the Kindle sample so far, but I plan to start reading in earnest later today or tomorrow. It is my first experience with Eggers. (I think I had him confused with a different author when I voted for this book.)


Deborah | 983 comments Peter, I tend to agree with you. I commented to some friends, a few weeks ago, that I think I might have enjoyed this book much more if it had been presented as a work of popular fiction. I don't think as a work of literary fiction that is succeeds. At all. (Actually, I don't know that I'm allowed to say that as a discussion facilitator, but I hope people will feel free to disagree with me, if they do. Disagree.)


Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments It's SeeChange, and the SeeChange meeting starts on Page 59, Kindle location 829, 13% through the book.


Deborah | 983 comments That is very early to count as a section. You're right. Not too early put in part 1's discussion.


Daniel Peter wrote: "I have to admit, after I started reading this book, it struck me as an odd choice for this group. The prose seems to be at best pedestrian, with large, clumsy info-dumps and rather lazy characteri..."

My thoughts exactly. Well said.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments I've just started the book. I have read four of Eggers' books; this will be my fifth. His first A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius drove me nuts. It was completely stream of consciousness, which was not just within the novel but on the publisher's page as well. If you've not seen it in print, you need to. Underneath all the "postmodernism" (may not be the right term but I've heard it referred to as such), was a compelling true story of how when he was in college his parent died and he became his younger brother's guardian.

Then came What is the What, based on the true story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It took me months to finish it. Not so much stream of consciousness as before and another compelling tale, but really not easy to read. After this, it was Zeitoun, which was pretty conventional in delivery and non-fiction -- the story of a family that lived through the New Orleans flood. And then in 2012, was the novel A Hologram for the King, which could have been much more than it was but even so had its good points.

I am not sure why I continue to read Eggers except that he impresses me as a good person who has some of that Pete Seeger spirit in him. I am glad to be reading this one with the group.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments Peter wrote: "The prose seems to be at best pedestrian"

That is such a good expression for what it is! Brilliant! :D

I was actually surprised too, cause this was not what i expected. Especially after reading the Goldfinch.. but i do think that it's not a bad thing we're reading it. even if it's not written so well and seems rather pop, the topic remains interesting. and we're probably reading about the world that might become reality in some ten years - it makes me think a lot about how creepy that would actually be. so even if not for the books itself, it's still worth it to check out the ideas about this utopia.

i also gathered that the author might be a layman about how the internet works... but oh well. fantasy is fantasy. still, it's based on interesting thoughts, like i said.


Daniel Linda wrote: "I've just started the book. I have read four of Eggers' books; this will be my fifth. His first A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius drove me nuts. It was completely stream of..."

I think it will be great having your perspective, Linda. This is my introduction to Eggers, and I'm not terribly impressed. Having somebody able to interpret this novel through the lens of Eggers' previous works should be a real asset in adding some depth to our discussion.


Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I am not enjoying this book at all. But I did like Zeitoun - probably because it was something of an eye-opener (from a British perspective).


Daniel Sophia wrote: "I am not enjoying this book at all. But I did like Zeitoun - probably because it was something of an eye-opener (from a British perspective)."

As with Linda's comments over in the spoiler thread, I find this very helpful. Hearing that The Circle doesn't match Eggers' previous work helps keep things in perspective. That it comes from readers I respect likely helps keep me sane...


Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments [grin]


message 18: by Lily (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2498 comments Has Eggers perhaps spread himself too thin:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Eggers


message 19: by Lily (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lily (joy1) | 2498 comments Deborah wrote: "We are reading The Circle this month. It won our Open Pick poll. I think it's one of those books that will polarize. People seem to love it or not so much...."

I hope our commentary here has not dissuaded some who voted for The Circle from either commenting or reading. I'd love to hear from others -- 32 did vote for it, and a number of us who have been commenting, did not.


message 20: by Jenny (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenny | 1 comments I've read all of Dave Eggers works. My favorite is "What is the What". The Circle is not one of his works i'd recommend. Actually, I think it's one of his worst.


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