The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

I really enjoyed John Green’s other books like The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska. But The Anthropocene Reviewed is nothing like those.

But that’s a great thing! Green has really branched out and gone away from the young adult genre to bring us an adult essay-style feature. Green originally began this project as a podcast where he reviewed the human condition and gave them ratings on a 5-star scale. The podcast was then adapted into this book which was released in 2021.

Green cheerfully shares personal stories about the every day and the mundane. You’ll be overcome with nostalgia and fond memories from your childhood, while also reminiscing about your losses. This book truly encapsulates what it is to be human.

I think the table of contents will help you get the best grasp of the type of content and topics discussed:

  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
  • Humanity’s Temporal Range
  • Halley’s Comet
  • Our Capacity for Wonder
  • Lascaux Cave Paintings
  • Scratch `n’ Sniff Stickers
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Velociraptors
  • Canada Geese
  • Teddy Bears
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • Air-Conditioning
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • The Internet
  • Academic Decathlon
  • Sunsets
  • Jerzy Dudek’s Performance on May 25, 2005
  • Penguins of Madagascar
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
  • CNN
  • Harvey
  • The Yips
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Googling Strangers
  • Indianapolis
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • The Indianapolis 500
  • Monopoly
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Bonneville Salt Flats
  • Hiroyuki Doi’s Circle Drawings
  • Whispering
  • Viral Meningitis
  • Plague
  • Wintry Mix
  • The Hot Dogs of Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
  • The Notes App
  • The Mountain Goats
  • The QWERTY Keyboard
  • The Worlds Largest Ball of Paint
  • Sycamore Trees
  • “New Partner”
  • Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

I particularly enjoyed the Diet Dr. Pepper chapter and the Piggly Wiggly chapter. For some reason, they were extra appealing. But really, nearly all of these essays were relevant to me. I bet most readers will feel the same.

This book is relatable to human nature and exemplifies humanity in the US in the 2020s. Nothing is over-explained, nothing is too science jargon-y, and nothing is too out of bounds. I was pleased with the relaxed tone and conversational manner.

I also learned a lot. Surprisingly, there was A TON of great info in here. Some straight facts about air conditioners and the history of the Monopoly game. Now, to be fair, some of these quirky facts will never really be relevant other than to amuse others at dinner parties, but, hey, at least that’s something.

Overall, this was a pleasant read that held my attention. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting an insightful and entertaining book.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is Green’s sixth book and first nonfiction. It also won the 2021 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction. Check out John Green’s website for more!

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