Skip to main content

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Nonfiction Book Review

 

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 

Overall: 5

It's a little meta to be writing a review about a book on a five start scale that's whole premise is reviewing the human centered planet on a five star scale. Maybe we're all just a million little Yelp reviews stacked on top of each other. None the less, here's my review of John's reviews, which I've given a perfect five stars even if it's not necessarily a perfect book. Five stars is a state of mind, right? 

I should probably premise this with the fact that I like John Green's books despite the fact that maybe they're a bit manic pixie dream girl at times. They're not the most brilliant books in the world, but they became extremely important to me one summer. I felt seen by the "teens who don't sound like teens" according to a ton of adults on Goodreads. They sounded like me. And they still matter to me, even though, as with everything popular, they've been thoroughly dissected for their flaws. I also like his podcast with his brother and the Vlogbrothers videos that I watch whenever they show up in my recommended. John thinks in a very interesting way. I was also primed to like this book because I was a fan of the Anthropocene Reviewed podcast that was the start of the book. So with that out of the way, here's why I like this peculiar book of essays: 

I've always strongly believed that a review says more about the reviewer than it does about the work itself. That's the core message of this book. Part nonfiction, part memoir, all in the context of rating the world as a way to understand it. Sometimes I think about how in the hundreds of reviews I've written for this blog and my music blog I've left a paper trail of my taste, of who I was at any specific moment in time. I've grown and changed and there's proof of that written all over these troves of reviews. They reflect on my fears and anxieties and hopes and loves. And I think that's beautiful. I honestly don't understand reviews that turn away from that personal place, that assume they can objectively review the quality of any kind of art. Each essay in this book is written with that same level of thought, intention, and awareness. 

I'm honestly struggling with how to write this review in a way that's helpful to any of you. Each essay is so wildly different that it doesn't make much sense to really talk about any of them detail. The essays are earnest; they're full of metaphor. If you've read John's other books, the voice is the same. If you've followed his videos, you've probably heard most of these stories in some form before. In that way, it's almost like seeing a distant relative and hearing them tell you the same anecdotes they hold close. Yet, somehow, it's endearing instead of annoying.

There's also a self awareness in these pages that is sometimes criticized as missing from John's earlier works of fiction. Every piece of figurative language is considered, and the more existential thoughts are critically analyzed and questioned. Much of the message boils down to the fact that we know so much, but we don't know even more. We can make poetic meaning out of the best and worst in life, but that's really just band-aids over bullet holes situation. Sometimes things don't happen for a reason. 

A couple pages in, I dug out a highlighter to keep with me as I read. I'm not against writing in books at all, but I just don't do it very often when I'm not reading for school. I wanted the chance to leave my first impressions all over the book. There were many lines that impressed me that I wanted to return to later. Lines that felt inspiring or comforting or invigorating. I'm excited to go back and read through them again in a few days or weeks or months. 

My favorite story in the book came from a review of the Apple notes app- probably my most used app. John writes about how he dealt with all his random thoughts before the app came into existence by writing in whatever books he was reading at the time. Like full grocery lists in the margins. I can already see bookstagram shaking their collective head in disdain now. But there was something about that weird practice that resonated with me. Giving small pieces of yourself back to the book that's bearing the author's soul to you, even if you don't understand your own notes to self later. As for my own notes app, it's probably the most transparent way into how my brain works in all its messy, overstuffed, fragmented glory.  

While it's not YA or terribly conventional or about much of anything, The Anthropocene Reviewed is a book that's worth reading. I intended to read it slowly over the course of a month or so- an essay each evening or something like that- but I wound up finishing it in basically a day. It's been a while since I managed to do that. 

More From John Green...

Turtles All The Way Down Review

Looking For Alaska Review

An Abundance of Katherines Review 

The Fault In Our Stars Review

Paper Towns Review

My Favorite Podcasts

Will Greyson, Will Greyson Review 

Let It Snow Review

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera   by Monica Gomez-Hera Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC so I could share my honest thoughts with all of you! Overview: Carmen hasn't graduated high school, even though it's the summer after senior year. When her senior project fell through, Carmen has to scramble to complete the project over the summer. That means no college (not that she applied) and no future plans beyond becoming a Dream (floating around in a Belle costume at children's parties) with her best friend Waverley. So maybe it's not the summer Carmen wanted, but it's fine. At least until her ex-boyfriend who ruined everything, Mauro, also shows up on the team and then they get assigned to work her nemesis and younger cousin's quinceañera, which becomes the big event of the summer. Nothing ever quite goes to plan for Carmen, does it? Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I enjoyed hanging out with Carmen for a while. She's super witty and cynical in a way that I

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Olivia Rodrigo'a SOUR As YA Books: Track By Track

This list turned out to be much harder to make than I anticipated when I came up with the idea last week. I set out to match songs to SOUR because what goes better with an album written by a 17/18 year old than YA books, but it turns out that YA books are just too hopeful for this album. Unlike many of these songs, I couldn't find books where the characters ended the book totally despondent and broken up. It took a bit of brainstorming, but I think I found a book to match the essence of each SOUR track. Le me know in the comments which songs on SOUR are your favorite. Mine are "brutal", "favorite crime", "deja vu", and "jealousy, jealousy".  1. "brutal" : War and Speech   by Don Zolidis War and Speech just radiates the same badass, discontented with teenage life energy as "brutal". This was the first book that popped into my mind when I thought about making this post. Just look at the cover. Sydney's life has been fa

What's on my YA TBR: September 2021 Edition

September is always a magical, busy time in bookland because there are always a million books releasing to get ready for the holiday rush. That's how this list wound up featuring 7 books. There are a couple like Never Saw You Coming  and As If On Cue  that I've had my eyes on for almost a year, and then there are some new discoveries that I'm super super excited about. From heartfelt contemporaries to K-Pop to a musical anthology and a summer camp of animators, there's something for everyone on this list. I haven't been this excited about a TBR of books in a while, and I'm sad that with starting school, it'll probably take me a while to get through them, but I'm hoping my local library will pick up copies soon. Speaking of which, I have tons of new libraries to explore around campus! As always, I want to make it as easy as possible to preorder these books and connect with the authors who wrote them! If you click the link in the title of each book, it wil

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

My First Time Trying a Book Box: Literati Luminary Book Club Review

I am incredibly excited for today's blog posts because I'm working with Literati to share my experience with their Luminary Book Club. If you've been keeping up with my posts, I recently talked about how book clubs are an amazing way to fend off a reading slump, especially when life gets super hectic, and even with a super long TBR, I've still felt lost when I go to pick out my next read. I'm so grateful to Literati for sending me a book box and sponsoring this post!  On top of feeling stuck with choosing what to read, I've also been trying to explore more genres and the world outside of YA. YA has been my home base for so long that I always get overwhelmed trying to figure out what I want to read in other genres. Luckily, Literati had just what I needed. I got the chance to choose from 13 different book clubs all curated by Luminaries who are amazing, award winning writers, thought leaders, and artists you most definitely know like Malala and her Fearless cl

Fresh by Margot Wood: YA Book Review

  Fresh  by Margot Wood Get a Copy (this is an affiliate link. purchasing through this bookshop link helps support indie bookstores and this blog at no cost to you) Overview: Elliot isn't really sure why she's going to college. It's the next step that people take in life, I guess. She also isn't sure why she's at Emerson. It sounded better than Ohio State. She has no plan, no clue and how to approach college life. Quickly, Elliot gets sucked into a whirlwind of all the worst college tropes- the endless cereal bar, hooking up with everyone in the Little Building, not paying attention in any of her that classes she doesn't really want to be in anyway... the list goes on. She quickly forms a tight group of friends on her floor, but even those connections get tested as the year progresses. Eventually, Elliot is forced to realize that she needs to care about the academic side of college, and she craves closer connections than a trail of hook ups. Elliot, like most co

Weekly Book Reviews and Recommendations: Week 5

This week has been a bit crazy. With a four day weekend because of Easter, I thought I'd get some extra reading done. Lo and behold, that's not exactly what happened. I was way busier than I thought I'd be, but better late than never, I guess. Anyway, I read three great books this week that were all very different but also very good in their own rights. "You Matter" 1) Girl In Pieces  by Kathleen Glasgow (406 pages)  This book was so beautiful and amazing that I had to write a Standout Review for it. I published that earlier in the week, and you can check it out here:  http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/04/standout-book-girl-in-pieces.html P.S. I Still Love You  by Jenny Han (337 pages) Overview:   P.S. I Still Love You  is the second installment of Jenny Han's YA series. (You can check out my review of the first book To All The Boys I've Loved Before  here:  http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/reading-reviews-and-recommendati

You'd Be Home By Now by Kathleen Glasgow: YA Book Review

  You'd Be Home By Now  by Kathleen Glasgow  I'm very thankful to the publisher for providing me with this ARC to share my honest thoughts on this book with all of you. Overview: Emory has always been the good one. The nice one. The easy one. The invisible one. Her older sister, Maddie, is gorgeous and talented. Her older brother, Joey, is struggling with addiction issues, and her parents saddle Emory with the responsibility of being his forever babysitter. No one thinks about Emory- ever. Which leads her to pick up a habit of stealing and collecting small things and hooking up with the high school baseball star next door to feel seen and important. While Joey is stuck on the rollercoaster of his addiction, his family is right there behind him, and as Emory struggles to keep Joey stable, she's also left to contend with her own precariously okay life. Overall: 5+ Characters: 5 Emory is maybe the most universally relatable teen character in YA. She feels unheard and unseen by