|The Anthropocene Reviewed|
|Hosted by||John Green|
|Created by||John Green|
|Production||Rosianna Halse Rojas|
|Composed by||Hannis Brown|
|No. of episodes||36|
|Original release||January 29, 2018– August 26, 2021|
WNYC Studios (former)
The Anthropocene Reviewed is the shared name for a podcast and 2021 nonfiction book by John Green. The podcast started in January 2018, with each episode featuring Green reviewing "facets of the human condition on a five-star scale". The name comes from the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch that includes significant human impact on the environment. Episodes typically contain Green reviewing two topics, accompanied by stories on how they have affected his life. These topics have included intangible concepts like humanity's capacity for wonder, artificial products like Diet Dr. Pepper, natural species that have had their fates altered by human influence like the Canada goose, and phenomena that primarily influence humanity such as Halley's Comet.
The podcast was released monthly until September 2020, when Green announced he was putting the podcast on hiatus as he adapted it into a book. The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet, was published by Dutton Penguin on May 18, 2021, featuring revised essays from the podcast and several new essays. The book received positive reviews and debuted at number 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list. After the release of a four-episode season accompanying the publication of the book, Green announced he did not have plans to release any further episodes.
Each podcast typically covers two topics, which have included a diverse range of subjects including celestial phenomena, works of art, diseases, and human emotions. The subjects ultimately serve as starting points into explorations of Green's own life and perspectives in the form of memoir-like essays, which have been described as "thought-provoking reviews [that] use a blend of poetry, historical detail and humor."
The premise for the podcast was borne from a number of sources. Green worked for the book review journal Booklist in the early 2000s, where he reviewed hundreds of books over the course of five years, sparking his interest in reviews as a literary format.
In October 2017, after the release of Green's most recent novel, Turtles All the Way Down, he and his brother Hank Green went on a book tour. As they travelled across the country, they passed the time by finding Google user reviews for the places they were passing that they considered absurd, such as a one-star review for Badlands National Park. While reflecting on the increased prevalence that reviews and the five-star scale had taken in modern life, John told Hank he had once had an idea to write a review on Canada geese, to which Hank responded, "The Anthropocene... reviewed!"
A few months later, John shared some reviews he had written in 2014 on Canada geese and Diet Dr Pepper with his wife, Sarah Urist Green. After noting that John wrote the reviews in a nonfiction form of third-person omniscient narration, Sarah pointed out that reviews often act as a form of memoir, saying that, "in the Anthropocene, there are no disinterested observers; there are only participants." John cited this as a major reason he chose to put more of himself into the reviews.
John Green, in the introduction to The Anthropocene Reviewed book, also revealed that he had begun to have trouble writing fiction because of the ways readers were conflating his protagonists views with his own. Green specifically referenced a 2017 Allegra Goodman quote, "I seem to be writing it myself, but since I’m a novelist, it’s all in code.” In an interview with The New York Times in June 2021, Green elaborated, stating that, “I didn’t want to write in code anymore. I wanted to try to write as myself because I’ve never done that in any formal way.”
The podcast's first episode was released on January 29, 2018. Green reflected in a November 2018 interview with Vulture that, "The Anthropocene Reviewed is an opportunity for me to get back to my roots. With the podcast, I want to pay careful and sustained attention to the world around me, and that’s something I often feel like I don’t do, especially when I’m on the internet."
In June 2019, Roman Mars interviewed Green about his show in an episode of 99% Invisible which also featured the reviews from episodes six and nine. The Lascaux Paintings essay from episode six was also adapted into an animated visualization by the German YouTube channel Kurzgesagt in May 2020.
In August 2019, John and Hank performed live versions of their podcasts on stage, with John presenting a new episode of The Anthropocene Reviewed, as well as a live episode of their shared podcast Dear Hank & John. The live performances returned in March 2020 with a planned three-city tour including stops in Columbus, Ohio and Carmel, Indiana, with a third performance set for Ann Arbor, Michigan. However, the third performance was cancelled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
On the August 2020 episode titled "The Anthropocene Reviewed, Reviewed", Green announced he would be taking a hiatus from the podcast after the following month's episode in part to work on a book adaptation of the podcast. In April 2021 the podcast returned for a four-episode season coinciding with the release of the book. The fourth episode was released on August 26, 2021, with Green commenting the day before in a video posted to his Vlogbrothers YouTube channel that he believed the episode would be his last. He stated, "Working on The Anthropocene Reviewed has been an incredible experience, but I think I'm ready to go back to writing fiction... maybe?"
|Cover artist||Grace Han|
|May 18, 2021|
|Media type||Print (hardcover), audiobook|
The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet was published by Dutton Penguin on May 18, 2021, Green's first nonfiction book and sixth solo publication. The book features revised versions of many of the essays from the podcast, as well as new original essays, ordered chronologically through Green's life to give the book the approximate structure of a memoir. Green wrote about living through the COVID-19 pandemic in many of the essays. He also narrated the audiobook, which was released simultaneously with the hardcover. In addition to the English version, translated versions were released in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch.
As he had done with many of his previous books, Green signed all 250,000 tip-in sheets of the first printing for the United States and Canada. He wrote a review of the experience on the final signed page. This review was later revised and expanded on for an episode of the podcast released on the same day as the book. Green hosted a virtual book tour, with guests Clint Smith, Latif Nasser, Sarah Urist Green, Hank Green, and Ashley C. Ford making appearances at the various shows.
In November 2021, Green announced an accompanying zine sold through the Green brothers' e-commerce store DFTBA.com. The zine is 20 pages long and contains reviews from John Green and Stan Muller, a poem by Rosianna Halse Rojas, and illustrations by Nadim Silverman.
The book received positive reviews and sold well, with more than 57,000 copies purchased during its first week. It debuted as a number 1 New York Times Best Seller in the Combined Print & E-books Nonfiction and Hardcover Nonfiction categories, staying on the latter list for nine weeks. It was subsequently listed at number six on the American Booksellers Association's Year-End 2021 Bestseller List in the category of hardcover nonfiction. Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness all gave starred reviews, with the last stating that "each of the 44 entries [...] is a small gem, polished to near perfection." Adam Frank reviewing the book for NPR wrote how each essay, "is a web of salient and unexpected connections." Elizabeth Greenwood from The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "The Anthropocene Reviewed is the perfect book to read over lunch or to keep on your nightstand, whenever you need a reminder of what it is to feel small and human, in the best possible way." Scott Neumyer of Shondaland wrote that, "Green may have made his name by writing fiction (and for good reason), but this first foray into nonfiction is his most mature, compelling, and beautifully written book yet."
In November 2021, the book was named to the longlist for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The book also won the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards in the category of Best Nonfiction.
Ratings are presented in the order that topics are listed in the title, regardless of order presented within the episode.
|1||"Canada Geese and Diet Dr Pepper"||16:44||January 29, 2018|
|2||"Halley's Comet and Cholera"||18:36||February 21, 2018|
|3||"Googling Strangers and Kentucky Bluegrass"||18:42||March 28, 2018|
|4||"Super Mario Kart and Bonneville Salt Flats"||17:46||April 26, 2018|
|5||"Hawaiian Pizza and Viral Meningitis"||20:34||May 31, 2018|
|6||"Lascaux Paintings and Taco Bell Breakfast Menu"||17:50||July 18, 2018|
|7||"The Yips and CNN"||20:12||August 30, 2018|
|8||"Whispering and the Weather"||19:16||September 27, 2018|
|9||"Pennies and Piggly Wiggly"||21:28||October 25, 2018|
|10||"Tetris and the Seed Potatoes of Leningrad"||22:46||November 15, 2018|
|11||"Teddy Bears and Penalty Shootouts"||24:47||December 27, 2018|
|12||"Indianapolis and Love at First Sight"||22:05||January 31, 2019|
|13||"Velociraptors and Harvey"||20:26||February 28, 2019|
|14||"The Hall of Presidents and New Partner"||21:22||March 28, 2019|
|15||"Prom and Stanford Marshmallow Experiment"||19:22||April 25, 2019|
|-||"Jogging and Playing Bullshit with Nat Wolff"||18:29||May 17, 2019|
(Project for Awesome exclusive)
|16||"Scratch 'n' Sniff Stickers and the Indianapolis 500"||22:41||May 30, 2019|
|17||"Gray Aliens and Rock Paper Scissors"||22:16||June 27, 2019|
|18||"Air Conditioning and Sycamore Trees"||23:40||July 25, 2019|
|19||"Hot Dog Eating Contest and Chemotherapy"||25:09||August 29, 2019|
|20||"QWERTY Keyboard and the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō"||23:20||September 26, 2019|
|21||"Capacity for Wonder and Sunsets"||23:48||October 31, 2019|
|22||"Notes App and Sports Rivalries"||22:58||November 27, 2019|
|23||"Auld Lang Syne"||24:07||December 26, 2019|
|24||"Works of Art by Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Doi"||22:43||January 30, 2020|
|25||"Staphylococcus Aureus and the Non-Denial Denial"||23:48||February 24, 2020|
|26||"Humanity's Temporal Range"||22:58||March 26, 2020|
|27||"Monopoly and Academic Decathlon"||24:14||April 30, 2020|
|28||"You'll Never Walk Alone and Jerzy Dudek"||27:29||May 28, 2020|
|29||"Seventeen Listener Suggestions, Reviewed"||22:43||June 25, 2020|
|30||"Mortification and Civilization"||27:35||July 30, 2020|
|31||"The Anthropocene Reviewed, Reviewed"||
|24:42||August 27, 2020|
|32||"Plague"||26:12||September 24, 2020|
|33||"Penguins of Madagascar and the Smallpox Vaccine"||28:05||April 29, 2021|
|34||"Icelandic Hot Dog Stand and Signing Your Name 250,000 Times"||25:39||May 18, 2021|
|35||"Ginkgo Biloba"||28:21||June 30, 2021|
|36||"Orbital Sunrise"||24:05||August 26, 2021|
Reviews in The Anthropocene Reviewed book originally from the podcast are excluded from the table below.
|Coffee mugs||Coffee mug sold as a DFTBA Records exclusive||February 27, 2020|
|Signing your name 250,000 times||Hand-written on the tip-in sheet of a single copy of The Anthropocene Reviewed book||March 30, 2021|
|The Internet||First published in the main text of The Anthropocene Reviewed book||May 18, 2021|
|The World's Largest Ball of Paint|
|Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance[note 1]|
|Autographs||Page opposite the autographed tip-in sheet of The Anthropocene Reviewed book|
|Bembo MT Pro||Copyright page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book|
|Half-title pages||Half-title page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book|
|Back page book ads||Back page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book|