Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Dave Eggers is everywhere these days. I know that this phenomenon is probably just a product of my newfound awareness of his existence after picking up his new book The Circle, but frankly, it’s gotten a little ridiculous. Not only did he write this new novel (and previous novels, of course), but apparently this man co-founded an organization that I have admired ever since I moved to Seattle. 826 Seattle is a nonprofit writing and tutoring center that inspires young people to cultivate their writing, which I obviously think is a noble endeavor. When I discovered Dave Eggers was involved in the founding of this national organization, I’ll admit I was a bit impressed. Then it turns out he edits a short story collection that I have recently stumbled upon (also associated with this volunteer organization). Then I fly to New York, and a woman sitting near me on the plane wants to talk about Dave Eggers when she sees I’m reading The Circle — she read an excerpt of the novel in a magazine and wants to know what I think. Then I go to a bar in New York, I say that I work in the books industry, and the guy I’m talking to wants to know what I’m reading right now. I tell him I’m reading The Circle by Dave Eggers. He tells me he is great friends with Dave Eggers’s brother. And he has met Dave several times. He thinks the Eggers brothers are both geniuses. At this point I’m thinking there must be some sort of conspiracy going on. This feeling fits in perfectly with the storyline of Dave’s novel too, in an uncanny sort of way.
The story itself, which resembles my life in so many ways given my own position at a tech company, is quite compelling. I think the Circle is a sufficiently creepy tech company, the main character Mae is both relatable and frustrating, and the whole scenario is eerily plausible, as you would expect from any effective dystopian novel. For me, the test for the recommend-ability of a book is whether or not I’m thinking about the characters and the story when I’m not reading, and also if these thoughts continue after I finish. The Circle? Check and check. I think that everyone in our generation should read this book, we should talk about it, and we should work to avoid a similar storyline. In the meantime, I’m waiting on my next Dave Eggers encounter. Perhaps a random street sighting? One can hope.