The Anthropocene Reviewed

The Anthropocene Reviewed coverThe Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
John Green
Dutton (May 18, 2021), 302 pages
Kindle edition $14.99, Amazon hardcover $16.80

I had seen this book pop up in several contexts, and my initial thought was that the title was somewhat arrogant. How could one be so bold as to review the geological era of human existence? The title got so many favorable notices, however, that I decided to give it a go. There is no arrogance here, in fact. John Green is a modest fellow in these essays.

Green writes on several topics, many of them autobiographical. He talks candidly about his own physical and mental challenges. He discusses his work at the trade publication Booklist and his time as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital. Seems he had plans to attend seminary for the Episcopal priesthood, something he abandoned. He talks about his childhood and admits to being an odd kid. He writes about living in Indianapolis and attending the annual auto race. (Did you know that Speedway, IN is a separate legal entity within Indianapolis? He compares it to the Vatican and Rome.)

Green is best known for his fiction, including the young adult novel Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars, which became a popular movie. He comes from a younger generation compared to me. His favorite musical artists are The Mountain Goats and Will Oldham. I had heard of neither act until reading this book. But then my musical taste is stuck in the 1970s, as it has been for decades.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is pleasant reading. I saw that it has appeared in the New York Times nonfiction print bestseller list one week, but not on the combined print and e-book list. That makes sense. The book would make for good beach or poolside reading. And Green, well, I would enjoy having him over for dinner.

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