“The Anthropocene is a proposed term for the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. Nothing is more human than aggrandizing humans, but we are a hugely powerful force on Earth in the twenty-first century.”
The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green is quite a riveting book. With 40+ essays that I didn’t know I would enjoy reading, I spent my last week with much contemplation and relating several stories with myself. You can watch the animated video of Introduction of this book on Youtube at Green’s channel with his brother, vlogbrothers.
This book is collection of Green’s previously broadcasted episodes from the his podcast with the same title. Like many of us review or give ratings to almost every experience we encounter everyday, such as films, books, restaurants, vacation spot, our Uber/Grab drivers, or doctors’ services at clinics, he reviews different facets of our human-centered planet on a five star scale. The experiences he reviewed varied from places he has stayed or visited to new inventions and discoveries by human; natural beauty to people’s habits; songs to historical or notable events, etc.
What make this book interesting is Green’s storytelling. In his usual and unique way, the narrative is occasionally parenthetical but not overflowing with information. He managed to tied up everything he has said at the end of each essay. Chatty yet emphatic might be a precise description of this book. And rhetorically written, as well, in my opinion. You will mull over things with different perspectives or will probably get elated to find someone who has pondered like you have.
Green has written this book during pandemic and most of the pieces are related to how he sees or feels in this time such as the separation from our loved ones, the things we took granted for, and the heartbreaking news we see over the internet about how people suffered because of this infectious disease. He worries about the present, gets nostalgia about the past, and is hopeful about the future. He also shared about his own experiences as an OCD person and of dealing with anxiety issues, too.
Some of my few favourites are: Humanity’s Temporal Range, Sunsets, Bonneville Salt Flats, Whispering, and Sycamore Trees. I believe this is a book you can flick open anytime and pick a story. Although the content in this book become old and at some point in our life, some may not be valid anymore as our experiences change. Like he had written in the book; “History presses into us, shaping contemporary experience. History changes as we look back on the past from different presents.” Nonetheless, I truly appreciate to find another book that challenge me the way I see or experience things. It is a great read, indeed.
I am not unfamiliar with John Green’s works. He’s known for his famous YA books and some of which have been adapted to films, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. But my favourite is his debut novel, Looking for Alaska. I love it immensely and his latest novel Turtles All the Way Down is a gem, too. I used to watch his vlog with his brother on Youtube and I listened to some of the beginning episodes of this podcast, The Anthropocene Reviewed. It can be listened on Apple Podcast, Spotify and Soundcloud.