The Anthropocene Reviewed

The Book of the Week is “The Anthropocene Reviewed, Essays on A Human-Centered Planet” by John Green, published in 2021.

In this collection of essays which reviewed (on a five-star scale) a variety of places and things– the author wrote that he continually sought beauty, hope and a reason. He should have rated people as well. Sounds as though his Alabama high-school roommate Todd deserved five stars, Elizabeth Magie should have received four stars; Hasbro and Charles Darrow, two stars each.

In one of his essays, entitled “Bonneville Salt Flats” the author revealed an important component of a good marriage. Besides each other, husband and wife should enjoy a “third thing” together. This could be eye-candy sunsets, scenery or other beautiful visual experiences they both appreciate, or an activity in which they engage in friendly competition. At this point, additional pop psychology is in order. That “third thing” could also be called “shared experience” as described below in the second kind of marriage.

The best, lifelong monogamous marriages can be one of two kinds (the second is superior):

1) attraction to a mate due to inherited traits– re-creating a family situation with which one feels comfortable

2) activity partner– doing things together and then talking about the shared experience, which is in itself, a shared experience

The single biggest factor in beginning a relationship: HONESTY. If one starts out lying, no one will be happy for long.

Other factors that make the relationship even better:

  • both parties are retired and children are grown or nonexistent, so that the parties have few daily stresses
  • consistently good sex life
  • agreement on major lifestyle choices– where to live, what car(s) to drive, how to manage money, what to do on a day-to-day basis
  • both parties feel the same way about various life aspects– family, how to spend leisure time, etc.; their political views need NOT necessarily coincide, and if there is disagreement– the parties agree NOT to discuss them with each other
  • both parties have already done the psychological work involved to make themselves maximally attractive– they’ve gotten healthy, practiced tolerance for others’ choices, etc.
  • both fulfill the other’s psychological needs for companionship and growth.

Read the book to learn of a few of the author’s personal struggles, and little-known facts on all kinds of subjects from science to popular culture.

ENDNOTE: The contents of this book deserve four out of five stars, for entertainment value and / or gems of wisdom. However, the overall writing quality deserves two out of five stars– as numerous, lesser-known errors (grammatical, especially!) were repeatedly made. Grammar perfectionists will cringe.

It seems that the kinds of errors that appear over and over in books published in the United States in recent decades, the kinds that also appear below, are on the increase; perhaps due to changes (for the worse!) in the teaching of writing in American schools, and / or the trend toward cost-cutting and dollar-chasing in the publishing industry:

The author wrote, “… or they’d ask me questions as if I were the protagonist.”

The corrected wording should be: “… questions as though I were the protagonist.” [as though instead of as if]

“… time to create art, almost as if art…” should be: “… create art, almost as though art…”

The author wrote, “…asked me if I also, as the narrator…”

The corrected wording should be: “… asked me whether I also…” [whether instead of if]

“… asked me if I liked romance…” should be: “… asked me whether I liked romance…”

There were numerous occasions when the word “only” was misplaced in the sentence:

“The five-star scale has only been used…” should be: “used only in…”

“In fact, it may only take life…” should be: “… take life on Earth only a few…”

“They only left after a…” should be: “They left only after…”

“I can only give Canada geese…” should be: “I can give Canada geese only…”

“… and the corporation can only exist if…” should be: “… and the corporation can exist only if…”

“They only want to know if I believe in God…” should be: “They want to know only whether I believe in God…”

“… poem, but it only works because…” should be: “poem, but it works only because…”

“… Saunders envisioned would only become a reality…” should be: “… Saunders envisioned would become a reality only many decades…”

“… it’s possible that James was only referring to Wendover’s…” should be: “… James was referring only to…”

“… cholera is successful only in the twenty-first century because…” should be: “… cholera is successful in the twenty-first century only because the rich…”

“… future, I start to only see the…” should be: “I start to see only…”

“I have only been here a little while…” should be: “I have been here only a little while…”

There were numerous occasions when a noun should have been possessive in the sentence:

“Part of our fears about the world ending…” should be: “… the world’s ending…”

“… the way of Hank being the wise…” should be: “… get in the way of Hank’s being…” [this is a poorly worded sentence to begin with {as were several other sentences in this book!} or as an old-school English teacher would describe it– “awkward”]

“I wouldn’t bet against us finding a way to…” should be: “I wouldn’t bet against our finding…”

“… imagine one killing a human…” should be: “… imagine one’s killing a human…”

“… within a decade of the first Piggly Wiggly opening.” should be: “… of the first Piggly Wiggly’s opening.”

“The story concluded with Saunders appealing to…” should be: “… with Saunders’ appealing to…”

“… broadcast began with Turner standing behind…” should be: “… began with Turner’s standing behind…”

“… is on Facebook– has led to me making…” should be: “… is on Facebook– has led to my making…”

“A story of capitalism working turns out to be a story of capitalism failing.” should be: “A story of capitalism’s working… capitalism’s failing…”

“… to one person without risking everyone hearing.” should be: “… without risking everyone’s hearing.”

“… when Scott writes of nature having a…” should be: “… of nature’s having…”

“…noise of graupel bombarding the ground.” should be: “… of graupel’s bombarding the…”

“… way toward Wisconsin abolishing the death…” should be: “… Wisconsin’s abolishing…”

“… handwriting (hence it taking an entire line of…” should be: “… handwriting (hence its taking an…”

The phrase “because of” should be replaced with “due to” when ultimately followed by a noun:

“… largely because of processed, prepackaged foods.” should be: “… largely due to processed…”

“Neither” requires a “nor” and vice versa, and the two should negate two items, neither three nor more.

“We don’t see much about climate change on CNN, unless a new report is published, nor do we see regular coverage…” should be: “On CNN, we see neither much about climate change, nor regular coverage… unless a new report is published.”

In a comparison, “different” should be followed by “from” rather than “than.”

“Robert Burns originally had a different tune… than the one…” should be: “… different tune… from the one…”

P.S. Yes! The Liberty auto insurance TV commercial has a misplaced “only.”