The Anthropocene Reviewed

The Anthropocene Reviewed is a WNYC Studios-produced podcast in which “#1 New York Times bestselling author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Turtles All the Way Down) reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.” Lindsey Grantland, chemical engineer and podcast enthusiast, recommended this in a group text several months ago, but the (hard to spell, bland at first look) title went in one brain wave and out another. Recently, Lindsey re-recommended it, and I dove in. Friends who recognize, accept, and enable your severe case of CRS: I give them 5 stars.

Those who don’t spend their days reading with teenagers may not know John Green’s repertoire of quick-witted young adult novels, but this teacher sure does. The Fault in Our Stars gets all the recognition because of its Ansel Elgort/Shailene Woodley movie adaptation, but Looking for Alaska is my personal favorite. Despite what crotchety old people may say on Facebook, teenagers are smart and thoughtful, sometimes introspective–beings. They are able to and want to consider their stance on tough topics; this is how they grow and learn who they are and who they want to be. John Green, unlike so many watered-down YA writers, handles complex topics unapologetically and beautifully on each page. His subtext is: Your move, teenagers. Figure out what you think about this and go be a better human.

Not surprisingly, his way of masterfully wrestling with the big picture topics in life translates flawlessly to the podcast medium. Each episode of The Anthropocene Reviewed…well, reviews two unrelated topics. Green shares personal stories and researched facts about Super Mario Kart, Googling strangers, sycamore trees, and more before leading up to his ultimate opinion on the topic: a rating on a five star scale. Spoiler alert: viral meningitis does not receive many stars. Unlike his busy, highly energetic persona in his vlog series with his brother Hank, Green’s podcast voice is steady and soothing. Think: a more serious, creative nonfiction approach to Andy Daly’s Review. Episodes are roughly 20 minutes each, making them perfect entertainment for a cross-town commute. At press time, I have listened to seven and a half episodes, and I can’t wait for more. The Anthropocene Reviewed is #doneuprealgood.

Bonus Content: John Green discusses Gatsby’s American Dream:

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