It’s been awhile since I’ve read a novel written by Dave Eggers (the last one was in 2003, You Shall Know Our Velocity). I figured based on the reviews that The Circle would be really good. It wasn’t.

The Circle is poorly veiled commentary and satire disguised as a novel about what we are willing to give up to exist on the Internet. The (lack-of-character) arc is trite and predictable. And the ending. Let’s chat a little about the ending.

When you have written a novel to end it using a short chapter of exposition is a punch in the face, especially when Eggers is the founder of a website/magazine that holds high standards to the content that appears online and print. I get that the publishing industry is a business and that name alone sells books but the good reviews The Circle seems to be receiving is a fine example of dick riding sponsored by the publisher to ensure copies sell. Maybe check out this book at your library but that’s as far as I’ll recommend. It is a fast read but you’ll wonder why you spent your money and time on it afterwards.

Here are things that are better than The Circle:

  • Last night’s Frightened Rabbit concert at The Beacham: the sound mix was horrible and Laura and I could barely understand what they were singing. We left 45 minutes into the show to go have drinks with a couple I haven’t seen in two years. However, at least you didn’t see the poor sound mix coming a mile away.
  • The Megabus showing up over an hour late in Morgantown: it was cold and rainy and the wait was hard because I was in Morgantown for 19 days at that point. However, the bus eventually showed up and I made it to Pittsburgh safe and sound. The time waiting was better spent than the time it took to read The Circle. Unlike the book, I experienced a happy ending.
  • The New York Giants: yes, they are 0-6, but unlike the plot of The Circle, no one saw that coming.
  • The government shutdown: actually, that is one thing that is worse than The Circle. Remember this shutdown when it is time to vote in the midterm elections in 2014. Stop electing assholes, guys.
  • Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1: I saw the last half of this movie when I switched hotels in Morgantown. The c-section by fang scene far more enjoyable than The Circle because ‘c-section by fang’.


Next Saturday, my reading series presents a Dead Poets Slam at my old slam venue, featuring three of the four poets on The Lucky Funeral Tour. Here’s the Facebook event page with more details.


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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at

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