I swear to you I had never heard the word “Anthropocene” in my life until John Green announced he was releasing a non-fiction essay collection, and now I hear it like once a week. Speaking of that, I was very shocked to learn Green–who we think of as a King in Young Adult Fiction–was releasing a nonfiction essay collection. Perhaps even more shocking…I kind of liked it a lot? Like..more than most of his YA books, and I was of ~the age~ for them. This collection of essays is about well…life. and I cannot recommend it enough. I read it in one day, which is like my highest badge of honor in a book these days.
The Anthropocene, if you are also confused, is basically the name of the age we live in now. Basically…the human times. You know how Jurassic was the dinosaur time? Yeah…like that. And humans…dang, we weird. In this collection of essays, Green “reviews” everything from viral meningitis and the plague (obvious current topics) to Diet Dr. Pepper, googling random strangers (my favorite essay of this bunch) and sunsets. This is also kind of part memoir–I learned SO much about Green, and honestly, developed a lot more respect for his previous work through these essays. Learning about his work as a chaplain at a hospital, for example, made his desire to write The Fault in our Stars seem less like a “sick lit” problem and more like a rumination on his own experiences. Frankly, I didn’t know much about Green personally before this, and I both enjoyed learning about him and his life and his family and getting his funny opinions on things, diving down random rabbit holes with him, etc etc.
My favorite essay in this book was “Googling Random Strangers” which features Green’s experience as a chaplain intern basically, dealing with a child who had severe burns and who he didn’t think would make it. He spent years thinking about this child only to discover…well, I’ll let you read it yourself. This book has heart and humor and a fuck ton of fun facts, and I give it five stars.
But while I loved this book, I will not be listening to the podcast because I already listen to too many podcasts.
The Anthropocene Reviewed is on sale wherever books are sold. I’ve also heard great things about the audiobook–which Green narrates.