Real-life Books

Last semester I took a course in the MJ-school called New Media Technologies taught by the awesome Gary Kayye (who is my professor for the Branding of Me course).

Part of our course work was to read a novel written by Dave Eggers called The Circle. (NYT’s book review here). In short, the story follows Mae Holland’s journey as an employee at the Circle – which is essentially a giant tech company that holds transparency in the highest regard.

Mae is completely stunned by the extravagant campus and the allure of working for the world’s most important company. However, the story quickly progresses as the Circle continues to grow in attempts to force complete transparency, essentially proposing to eradicate privacy for the sake of sharing. The company’s mantra of ‘sharing is caring’ quickly becomes eerie as we see Mae’s personal life shatter at the expense of her attempts to become ultra-connected through millions of superficial relationships, rather than focusing on her personal life and the real people around her.

On Friday in honor of LDOC (last day of classes) and simply because our professor is awesome, Gary treated our entire class to seeing The Circle in theaters as it was recently released.

To be frank, it wasn’t my favorite movie. Even with an all-star cast of Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega I walked out feeling a little confused and definitely disappointed. The Circle was one of my favorite reading assignments this year. I thought it was a great book – one that I couldn’t put down and continued to ponder over long after I had read it.

The themes of technology, privacy and social content were ones that are extremely relevant as our world – and especially our social circles become increasingly dependent on technology.

In light of that, I’m here to say that I’m a huge advocate of what I like to call ‘real-life books.’ From a young age I couldn’t keep my hands off of books, constantly searching for the next story – often spending my weekends lost in the pages. I know that digital books make way more sense in regards to saving money and environmental purposes, but I’m convinced there is something almost magical when you curl up in a comfy armchair with a well-loved paper back novel.

10/10 recommend always reading the book before the movie, and 10/10 recommend picking up a real-life book the next time you can.


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