The Anthropocene Reviewed
Presentation
Hosted byJohn Green
GenreCommentary
Created byJohn Green
LanguageEnglish
UpdatesMonthly
Production
ProductionRosianna Halse Rojas
Stan Muller
Composed byHannis Brown
Audio formatMP3
No. of episodes36
Publication
Original releaseJanuary 29, 2018 (2018-01-29) – August 26, 2021 (2021-08-26)
ProviderComplexly
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".[1] The name comes from the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch that includes significant human impact on the environment.[2] 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.

Podcast

Subjects of reviews. Clockwise from upper left: Green's signature, the Indianapolis 500, Lascaux paintings, Halley's Comet, Hawaiian pizza, Staphylococcus aureus.

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."[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Background

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.[9][10]

John (left) and Hank Green (right) during their 2017 book tour
John (left) and Hank Green (right) during their 2017 book tour

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.[3] 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!"[10][3]

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."[10] John cited this as a major reason he chose to put more of himself into the reviews.[10]

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.”[10] 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.”[9]

Post-debut

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."[11]

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.[7] The Lascaux Paintings essay from episode six was also adapted into an animated visualization by the German YouTube channel Kurzgesagt in May 2020.[12]

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.[13] 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.[13][14]

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.[15] In April 2021 the podcast returned for a four-episode season coinciding with the release of the book.[16] 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?"[17]

Book

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
AuthorJohn Green
Cover artistGrace Han
LanguageEnglish
SubjectEssay, Memoir
PublisherDutton Penguin
Publication date
May 18, 2021
Media typePrint (hardcover), audiobook
Pages304[10]
ISBN978-0525555216

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.[18] 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.[19][3][20][21] Green wrote about living through the COVID-19 pandemic in many of the essays.[22][23] He also narrated the audiobook, which was released simultaneously with the hardcover.[23] In addition to the English version, translated versions were released in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch.[24][25][26]

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.[27] This review was later revised and expanded on for an episode of the podcast released on the same day as the book.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30][31]

Reception

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.[32][33][34] It was subsequently listed at number six on the American Booksellers Association's Year-End 2021 Bestseller List in the category of hardcover nonfiction.[35] 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."[36][37][38][39] Adam Frank reviewing the book for NPR wrote how each essay, "is a web of salient and unexpected connections."[22] 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."[40] 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."[41]

In November 2021, the book was named to the longlist for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.[42] The book also won the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards in the category of Best Nonfiction.[43]

Reviews

Podcast episodes

Ratings are presented in the order that topics are listed in the title, regardless of order presented within the episode.

No. Title Rating(s) Duration Release date
1"Canada Geese and Diet Dr Pepper"16:44January 29, 2018 (2018-01-29)
2"Halley's Comet and Cholera"18:36February 21, 2018 (2018-02-21)
3"Googling Strangers and Kentucky Bluegrass"18:42March 28, 2018 (2018-03-28)
4"Super Mario Kart and Bonneville Salt Flats"17:46April 26, 2018 (2018-04-26)
5"Hawaiian Pizza and Viral Meningitis"20:34May 31, 2018 (2018-05-31)
6"Lascaux Paintings and Taco Bell Breakfast Menu"17:50July 18, 2018 (2018-07-18)
7"The Yips and CNN"20:12August 30, 2018 (2018-08-30)
8"Whispering and the Weather"19:16September 27, 2018 (2018-09-27)
9"Pennies and Piggly Wiggly"21:28October 25, 2018 (2018-10-25)
10"Tetris and the Seed Potatoes of Leningrad"22:46November 15, 2018 (2018-11-15)
11"Teddy Bears and Penalty Shootouts"24:47December 27, 2018 (2018-12-27)
12"Indianapolis and Love at First Sight"22:05January 31, 2019 (2019-01-31)
13"Velociraptors and Harvey"20:26February 28, 2019 (2019-02-28)
14"The Hall of Presidents and New Partner"21:22March 28, 2019 (2019-03-28)
15"Prom and Stanford Marshmallow Experiment"19:22April 25, 2019 (2019-04-25)
-"Jogging and Playing Bullshit with Nat Wolff"18:29May 17, 2019 (2019-05-17)[44]
(Project for Awesome exclusive)
16"Scratch 'n' Sniff Stickers and the Indianapolis 500"22:41May 30, 2019 (2019-05-30)
17"Gray Aliens and Rock Paper Scissors"22:16June 27, 2019 (2019-06-27)
18"Air Conditioning and Sycamore Trees"23:40July 25, 2019 (2019-07-25)
19"Hot Dog Eating Contest and Chemotherapy"25:09August 29, 2019 (2019-08-29)
20"QWERTY Keyboard and the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō"23:20September 26, 2019 (2019-09-26)
21"Capacity for Wonder and Sunsets"23:48October 31, 2019 (2019-10-31)
22"Notes App and Sports Rivalries"22:58November 27, 2019 (2019-11-27)
23 "Auld Lang Syne" 24:07 December 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)
24"Works of Art by Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Doi"22:43January 30, 2020 (2020-01-30)
25"Staphylococcus Aureus and the Non-Denial Denial"23:48February 24, 2020 (2020-02-24)
26 "Humanity's Temporal Range" 22:58 March 26, 2020 (2020-03-26)
27"Monopoly and Academic Decathlon"24:14April 30, 2020 (2020-04-30)
28"You'll Never Walk Alone and Jerzy Dudek"27:29May 28, 2020 (2020-05-28)
29 "Seventeen Listener Suggestions, Reviewed" 22:43 June 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
30"Mortification and Civilization"27:35July 30, 2020 (2020-07-30)
31 "The Anthropocene Reviewed, Reviewed"
(podcast)

(experience)
24:42 August 27, 2020 (2020-08-27)
32 "Plague" 26:12 September 24, 2020 (2020-09-24)
33"Penguins of Madagascar and the Smallpox Vaccine"28:05April 29, 2021 (2021-04-29)
34"Icelandic Hot Dog Stand and Signing Your Name 250,000 Times"25:39May 18, 2021 (2021-05-18)
35 "Ginkgo Biloba" 28:21 June 30, 2021 (2021-06-30)
36 "Orbital Sunrise" 24:05 August 26, 2021 (2021-08-26)

Text-based reviews

Reviews in The Anthropocene Reviewed book originally from the podcast are excluded from the table below.

Subject Rating Source Release date
Coffee mugs Coffee mug sold as a DFTBA Records exclusive[45] February 27, 2020 (2020-02-27)[46]
Signing your name 250,000 times Hand-written on the tip-in sheet of a single copy of The Anthropocene Reviewed book[27][47] March 30, 2021 (2021-03-30)
The Internet First published in the main text of The Anthropocene Reviewed book[10] May 18, 2021 (2021-05-18)
Wintry mix
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[10]
Bembo MT Pro Copyright page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book[10]
Half-title pages Half-title page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book[10]
Back page book ads Back page of The Anthropocene Reviewed book[10]

References

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  2. ^ Locker, Melissa (2018-11-08). "Exclusive: John and Hank Green have a slate of podcasts coming to WNYC Studios". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  3. ^ a b c d Puang, Serena (18 May 2021). "6 things to know about John Green's newest book". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  4. ^ Goudsmit, Robin (19 November 2020). "'The Anthropocene Reviewed' biedt een moment van bezinning met 's werelds meest geliefde nerd". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  5. ^ Lindquist, David. "John Green's 'Anthropocene Reviewed' podcast critiques the good, bad and fatal". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  6. ^ May, Ethan. "'Spectacular in our ordinariness': How John Green rated Indianapolis in a new podcast episode". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b "The Anthropocene Reviewed". WBEZ Chicago. 2019-06-18. Archived from the original on 2021-05-14. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  8. ^ Quah, Nicholas (30 March 2020). "Looking for a Distraction? Try These Escapist Podcasts". Vulture. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  9. ^ a b Egan, Elisabeth (2021-06-10). "John Green is Not Writing in Code". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Green, John (2021). The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet. [New York, New York]: Dutton Penguin. ISBN 978-0525555216.
  11. ^ Quah, Nicholas (2018-11-15). "John Green Loves Podcasting Because It Reminds Him of Early YouTube". Vulture. Archived from the original on 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  12. ^ "The Past We Can Never Return To – The Anthropocene Reviewed". Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. YouTube. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b Lindquist, David. "'Vlogbrothers' John and Hank Green plan tour stop in Carmel". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  14. ^ "CANCELED: Dear Hank and John: Minotour 2020 in Ann Arbor, MI". Hank and John. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  15. ^ "The Anthropocene Reviewed, Reviewed - The Anthropocene Reviewed". Spotify. Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  16. ^ Green, John. "Mini Season Tweet". Twitter. Archived from the original on 28 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  17. ^ Green, John. "It's My Birthday. I Gave Myself This Video". YouTube. Vlogbrothers. Archived from the original on 2021-08-26. Retrieved 2021-08-26.
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  19. ^ Rebolini, Arianna. "Check Out The Cover Of John Green's Debut Essay Collection". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
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  22. ^ a b Frank, Adam. "Author John Green Explores How To Live In Uncertainty In 'The Anthropocene Reviewed'". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  23. ^ a b Pentland, Courtney (2021-08-01). "The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet". Library Journal. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  24. ^ "The Anthropocene Reviewed Book". John Green. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  25. ^ "Benvenuti nell'antropocene". Rizzoli Libri (in Italian). Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  26. ^ Green, John (24 August 2021). "Antropoceno: Notas Sobre a Vida na Terra". Amazon (in Portuguese). Intrínseca. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  27. ^ a b Green, John. "I did it!". YouTube.com. Vlogbrothers. Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  28. ^ "Icelandic Hot Dog Stand and Signing Your Name 250,000 Times". The Anthropocene Reviewed - Spotify. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
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  30. ^ Green, John. "Zine Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  31. ^ Green, John (12 November 2021). "The Anthropocene Reviewed Zine". The Anthropocene Reviewed Zine. DFTBA.com.
  32. ^ Milliot, Jim (2021-05-28). "Print Book Sales Rose 2.3% Last Week". PublishersWeekly.com. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
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  35. ^ "The Year-End 2021 Bestseller List". the American Booksellers Association. 14 December 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
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  37. ^ Bratzler, Ahliah. "The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet". Library Journal. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green. Dutton, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-55521-6". PublishersWeekly.com. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
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  40. ^ Greenwood, Elizabeth. "Review: A bright mind's musings make even the small things in life wondrous". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  41. ^ Neumyer, Scott (2021-05-18). "John Green Is Finally Writing for Himself". Shondaland. Archived from the original on 2021-05-18. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  42. ^ "2022 Winners". Reference & User Services Association (RUSA). 17 October 2021. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  43. ^ "Announcing the Goodreads Choice Winner in Best Nonfiction!". Goodreads. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
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  45. ^ "The Anthropocene Mug Review Mug". DFTBA. Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  46. ^ "Mug Release". Twitter. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
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  48. ^ Green, John. "What This Photo Doesn't Show". The Art Assignment. YouTube. Archived from the original on 17 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.

Notes

  1. ^ This essay is adapted from an episode of The Art Assignment released on February 28, 2019, where no starred review was given.[48]