The Anthropocene Reviewed

John Green’s New Book

The Anthropocene Reviewed

Aya Kasim, Editor-in-Chief

John Green is a YA novelist best known for his fictional works Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles all the Way Down. However, as of May 18, Green stepped into the nonfiction world with The Anthropocene Reviewed (TAR), a series of essays that “rate different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.” Though the format and genre has changed, Green is bringing more striking observations on life than ever before through his authentic and vulnerable prose. 

Finding its start as a podcast before its recent publishing, TAR is an intricate collection of essays that takes obscure and seemingly unrelated things such as Canada Geese, Diet Dr. Pepper, Plague, and Penguins of Madagascar and connects them to larger ideas for a better understanding, or rather questioning, of our world. 

Green has written this book over the last year and a half, arguably a time in which self-reflection and taking a moment’s pause were what Green calls “a rare human experience so ubiquitous that the pronouns require no antecedent” in one of TAR’s essays. For the first time, Green is writing directly about his life rather than “through code” as any fiction writer does when embedding parts of themselves in their characters and plot, but never outright. 

“I wrote the book because I wanted to write my way back to wonder and hope and sustained attention; And, it gave me that gift and I hope it can give you something of that gift too,” Green said in his video “Saying What I’ve Needed to Say to Hank for a While.”

Along with being his first nonfiction and most open book, TAR is considered special from as early as its bookend page. When writing this book, Green took on the challenge of signing every copy of the first printing–250,000 books. This endeavor took months to complete, cost dozens of sharpies, and severe hand cramps. However, despite the trouble, Green considers it worth the result.

“I wanted to sign this book for you in the hopes that it might give you the same little moment of joy that I always feel when I come across a signed book,” Green says in note printed beside every signed page. “ An autograph doesn’t mean much, I guess. It’s just a scribble on a page. (an utterly illegible scribble in my case) but it’s the only way I know how to say thank you. Thank you for giving this book a seat at the table in your life.”

The Anthropocene Reviewed is out now everywhere where books are sold. Go pick up a signed copy before they are gone!

P.S. Not sure if TAR will suit your taste? Listen to the free TAR podcast that features a few essays from the book including the ones about Plague, Auld Lang Syne, and the QWERTY Keyboard.