The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green: A review
The Anthropocene, of course, is the name given to the geological age in which we live. Its name recognizes the impact that human activity has had in shaping the planet and its biodiversity.
The subjects of Green's essays are wide-ranging, to say the least. He jumps around from topics as diverse as hot-dog eating contests to his relationship with his brother Hank to why we have the QWERTY keyboard and many more just as random. He makes each of his topics personal and relates them in such a way that they have emotional impact while never overloading them with subjectivity. It's a delicate balance and for the most part, he succeeds, I think.
The essays are short and briskly written. Each one pulls you along because you want to see where he is headed with this subject. In most instances, I found them well-reasoned and thought-provoking. I frequently found myself wanting to read more on a particular subject.
And so we hear from Green about Canada Geese, about air conditioning, about the game of Monopoly, about plagues from Covid to Cholera, about the Yips, the Lascaux Cave paintings, Halley's Comet, the Penguins of Madagascar, and about his own struggles with OCD. Well, you get the idea. As I indicated, "wide-ranging" hardly even begins to describe it. The essays are not all of the highest quality. Some of them drag a bit, but overall, I would say that each of them had some valuable information and/or wisdom to impart.
John Green is, of course, most well known for his YA fiction writing. His best-known books are probably The Fault in our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down. I haven't read either of those or, in fact, any of his fiction, but I think that is probably his forte. This book, I believe, was his first venture into nonfiction and it is not a bad beginning. He kept his essays brief. They are of a length and substance that one could easily read one or two just before retiring at night and that is usually the time that I chose to read them. If he decides to do more essays in the future, I would look forward to adding them to my reading list.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars