With the silly concept of rating things in life according to a five-star scale, The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Dutton, 2021) combines the author’s thoughts about humankind, our influence on the world, and the world’s changing influence on each of us in a collection essays. The essays range from somewhat silly to insightful. As is often the case in an essay collection, I found some of the essays to be ones I long to revisit in order to continue my pondering. Others were a bit more superficial or autobiographical to the extent that I don’t feel compelled to dwell on them.
John Green is the author of young adult novels, such as The Fault in our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines, both of which I read and reviewed many years ago. He and his brother also create the Crash Course YouTube videos, which provide a somewhat irreverent and humorous view of history, science, and so many more subjects, most of which tend to have a moment or two of tangential explanation in the midst of the factual (although sometimes biased) instructional videos. The essays in this volume had a similar feel and I liked that in the audiobook, the author’s familiar voice told of his experiences and opinions. I cannot imagine listening to a different narrator.
With the depth in some of the essays (none of which I remember the names for, since I only listened and did not read this book), I do feel like reading will help me gain a better appreciation for the concepts introduced and presented. Green gave numerous quotes from other writes and public figures, and I liked how all of these only enhanced his personal essays.
I really enjoyed this somewhat random collection of essays, all of which touch on human influence on each other, on ourselves, and on the world around us. How do we influence the world and how does the world influence us? There is much to think about. It’s time I start going through these things slower. Maybe no more listening to audiobooks on double speed.