• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green

John Green provides a range of thoughtful, wonderfully absurd, or sentimental examinations along with his ratings on a five-star scale of various concepts, natural phenomena, and inventions of our age.

When people we love are suffering, we want to make it better. But sometimes--often, in fact--you can't make it better. I'm reminded of something my supervisor said to me when I was a student chaplain: "Don't just do something. Stand there.”

The Anthropocene Reviewed is a collection of personal essays from John Green.

The title comes from Green's podcast of the same name, in which he rated "facets of the human condition on a five-star scale." His book includes some of the subjects he explored in the podcast, as well as some new topics.

The Anthropocene is the current geological age, and Green delightfully subjects a wide range of aspects of our world (including the QWERTY keyboard, Canada geese, Super Mario Kart, the Bonneville Salt Flats, whispering, the World's Largest Ball of Paint, wintry mix, and teddy bears) to his sometimes absurd, occasionally unfavorable, often effusive star rating system.

As he explores our human-centric views of the world and of the universe, he consistently questions assumptions and repeatedly delights in the beauty of the natural world's showiest and most humble productions. He also considers the ways in which we shield ourselves from vulnerability and cope with the pandemic.

Green is thoughtful and self-effacing, curious, sensitive, and I reveled in his explorations of his own glorious favoritism (hello, Diet Dr. Pepper) and deep-seated resentments (I’m looking at you, Canada geese) .

I listened to The Anthropocene Reviewed as an audiobook.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

John Green is the author of the young adult novels An Abundance of Katherines, Turtles All the Way Down, The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns.

For more collections of essays, you might check out my glowing Bossy reviews of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, The Book of Delights by Ross Gay, Festival Days by Jo Ann Beard, or The Best of Me by David Sedaris.