A Review of Two Books About Google

I recently chose two audiobooks from one of my local public libraries and they just happen to both be about Google.  Kinda. They are Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and The Circle by Dave Eggers.

It was a coincidence that they turned out to hinge on common themes and elements, but it was a very interesting contrast in perspective.  Mr. Penumbra’s takes a rather positive view of technology and data and how it can help us solve mysteries and enjoy life more deeply.  The Circle, however, takes a far warier view of our connected, internet society and the threat it poses to individual freedom and liberty.

I would recommend them both for different reasons.  The first book is a fun, light-hearted mystery/adventure with lots of literary color.  The second book is basically a horror story in the tradition of 1984 and A Brave New World.

Book Review: The Giver

SUMMARY: (5 of 5 stars) I’d never even heard of this book until a friend mentioned it on Facebook as an example of dystopian fiction, but apparently all of my friends have and they loved it. I did not enjoy reading this book because it’s horrifying and painful to read, but it’s a good book and a very quick read.

It’s the story of a boy who is born into a society of near-perfect equality, but is assigned the role of “Receiver” for his community. And in training for his life’s work, he starts to understand all sorts of horrible things about life there.