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The Anthropocene Reviewed
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The Anthropocene Reviewed
Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
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A deeply moving and insightful collection of personal essays from #1 bestselling author John Green.The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and...
A deeply moving and insightful collection of personal essays from #1 bestselling author John Green.The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and...
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  • A deeply moving and insightful collection of personal essays from #1 bestselling author John Green.
    The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.
    Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.
    John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.

Excerpts-

  • From the book From the Introduction
     
    When I reviewed books, “I” was never in the review. I imagined myself as a disinterested observer writing from outside. My early re­views of Diet Dr Pepper and Canada geese were similarly written in the nonfictional version of third-person omniscient narration. After Sarah read them, she pointed out that in the Anthropocene, there are no disinterested observers; there are only participants. She explained that  when people write reviews, they are really writing a kind of mem­oir—here’s what my experience was eating at this restaurant or getting my hair cut at this barbershop. I’d written 1,500 words about Diet Dr Pepper without once mentioning my abiding and deeply personal love of Diet Dr Pepper.

    Around the same time, as I began to regain my sense of balance, I reread the work of my friend and mentor Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who’d died a few months earlier. She’d once written, “For anyone trying to discern what to do w/ their life: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO. That’s pretty much all the info u need.” My attention had become so fractured, and my world had become so loud, that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was paying attention to. But when I put myself into the reviews as Sarah suggested, I felt like for the first time in years, I was at least trying to pay attention to what I pay attention to.

    •••
     
    This book started out as a podcast, where I tried to chart some of the contradictions of human life as I experience it—how we can be so com­passionate and so cruel, so persistent and so quick to despair. Above all, I wanted to understand the contradiction of human power: We are at once far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough. We are power­ful enough to radically reshape Earth’s climate and biodiversity, but not powerful enough to choose how we reshape them. We are so powerful that we have escaped our planet’s atmosphere. But we are not powerful enough to save those we love from suffering.

    I also wanted to write about some of the places where my small life runs into the large forces of the Anthropocene. In early 2020, after two years of writing the podcast, an exceptionally large force appeared in the form of a novel coronavirus. I began then to write about the only thing I could write about. Amid the crisis—and writing to you from April of 2021, I am still amid it—I find much to fear and lament. But I also see humans working together to share and distribute what we collectively learn, and I see people working together to care for the sick and vulner­able. Even separated, we are bound up in each other. As Sarah told me, there are no observers; only participants.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from May 21, 2021

    In these essays, the Anthropocene is defined as the era in which humans decided that humanity was the most important influence on the world. It is a circuitous definition, the humor and despair of which is not lost on Green (Turtles All the Way Down). In his first foray into nonfiction, Green explores the joys, sorrows, and inconveniences of being human, through essays reviewing things he has encountered in his life, from Diet Dr Pepper to viral meningitis. Each review is less about its central object or circumstance and more about how it reflects on the user or observer (we also learn Green's true feelings on wintry mix). The book is a review of humanity: how we grow, how we build, how we destroy, and how we observe ourselves. Many books succeed at making the personal universal, but this one also makes the universal personal. With these essays, Green reveals his internal life in vignettes, with the hope that one of his stories will spark recognition and connection among readers. VERDICT This is a book about culture, about science and medicine, about Green himself, but really it surpasses these designations. It is essential to the human conversation. John Green whispered the truth of humanity onto the page, and as with all good secrets, you'll need to lean in closely to hear.--Ahliah Bratzler, Indianapolis

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2021
    The bestselling author offers a miscellany of essays on life and letters in an environmentally fraught time. Green, who admits to a certain amount of OCD, opens charmingly with a telling instance: It took him 30 days to create a path through the woods behind his Indianapolis home to reach a treehouse less than a minute away: "It took me a month to build a fifty-eight-second walk in the woods." He might well have conjured the critic Morse Peckham, who once observed that a futile activity isn't so futile if it puts off recognizing its own futility. It's one of few bookish allusions Green misses in this pleasing book of essays personal and cultural. The author notes that we are at a moment when everything is rated thanks to the pernicious influences of Amazon and Yelp and such; Green calls a bout of labyrinthitis "an unambiguously one-star experience." The ratings continue: He gives humankind a four-star chance of surviving the present era of mounting catastrophes, the Anthropocene. His register of references is far-ranging. Among dozens of other topics, he discusses Shakespearean evocations of clouds, the origins of the "pathetic fallacy" in the writings of John Ruskin, and the world's largest ball of paint, which can be found not far from Green's home. There are fine moments throughout, as when the author writes appreciatively of Indianapolis as a place he loves "precisely because it isn't easy to love" or when he ponders the social basis of genius, by which artists such as Michelangelo flourished because others were making advances in the study of human anatomy and Julius Caesar "became a dictator because...over time the empire's soldiers felt more loyalty to their military leaders than to their civilian ones." In a treat for die-hard fans, each copy from the first print run will be signed by the author. A grab bag, but one that repays reading and reflection and a pleasure throughout despite occasionally dark moments.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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