I agreed to review The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green on September 12 at the Albany Public Library, mainly for selfish reasons.
I’ve been having a terrible time reading books this year. I’ve attended many book reviews and author talks this year and have even bought several books from the authors.
So if I agree to review the book, which I bought when it was brand new in 2021, read about 50 pages, then never got back to it, I MUST finish it. I completed it the day before the review.
Next issue: how to present the review. The first thing, I suppose, is to explain the title. What the heck is the Anthropocene? According to the video The Anthropocene and the Near Future: Crash Course Big History #9, the Anthropocene is “an unofficial geologic era where humans have an immense influence over the biosphere.”
Then, I needed to explain what Crash Course, started by John Green and his brother Hank, is. “At Crash Course, we believe that high-quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 45 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences.
“Crash Course transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format, enhancing the learning experience.” I learned. I discovered that my daughter had looked at several videos for her Advanced Placement history course, notably on the French Revolution.
And, of course, I needed to introduce them to John Green. Fortunately, on the 20 February 2023 episode of JEOPARDY, episode #8811, there was a category called A CRASH COURSE IN JOHN GREEN. One clue mentioned his book The Fault in Our Stars, which was “largely inspired by a young friend, Esther Earl, who died of cancer at 16″ in 2010.
The answer (or question) of one J clue was, “What is Nerdfighteria?” How do I explain that?! It is the mainly online-based community subculture that originated around Vlogbrothers videos, to “get together and try to do awesome things and have a good time and fight against world suck.”
This led to the DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) store and other activities. They’ve raised about $5 million to help fight maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. The Awesome Coffee Club, Awesome Socks Club, Pizzamas, and other endeavors have funded this.
Back to the book!
But what do I want to say about The Anthropocene Reviewed itself? In a Vlogbrothers post from 2021, What is my new book about, John admitted that it was difficult to describe. It’s an adaption of 2018-2021 essays, plus others going back to 2008. It’s a memoir.
Answers from some Nerdfighters: “The Anthropocene Reviewed attempts to capture what it means to be human. It is both joyful and terribly sad, filled with light and darkness, levity and grief. “
“It’s essays that “review facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.”
“It is about honoring your lenses from which you see the world, letting yourself wonder and wander, but never forgetting that your lenses are not the full picture, and they depend on who moves them.”
John reviewed the reviews of his book.
Ultimately, I spent most of my time reading from the book. The only section I shared in its entirety is the section about the movie Harvey.
I did NOT play these videos. But if YOU want to get a sense of The Anthropocene Reviewed, check out these three, at least the first one.
I liked the book a lot. Moreover, I loved the integration of self and the stuff around self. My audience seemed to appreciate the artfulness of the duality of the form in the book.