The Circle, by Dave Eggers
Mae Holland is a newbie at the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company. “It’s heaven,” she says, wandering around the office – or campus, as it’s called – with its glass atrium cafe, ergonomic desks, tennis courts, picnic areas and signs urging the company’s great young minds to “dream”, “breathe” and “innovate”. To the 24-year-old it feels as if she has landed the perfect job. It comes with free food, clothes and health insurance, and at the weekends there are parties, gigs and Ted-type talks. Soon, however, despite the perks, a more sinister side to the corporation is uncovered: hidden cameras; a growing interest in Mae’s private life; the drive for greater surveillance. As Mae throws herself into her new job she quickly begins to disengage from her reality, instead becoming increasingly obsessed with her online presence and the never-ending stream of Circle social-media activity. This gripping, timely novel raises many questions about privacy and the internet and may make you think about cutting back your screen time.