My Book with No Pictures (Paperback)

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My Book with No Pictures By B. J. Novak Cover Image
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Staff Reviews


One to five stars; everything is rated these days. It goes beyond products. You can rate your professor, your doctor, the medicine you take, the park you visit or even the mountain pass you drive over. According to Google Reviews, Satus Pass is a 4.1 star experience. Snoqualmie—4.4. Five-star rankings are arbitrary, but often exhibit a more outsized influence on our lives than we would like. Small business owners for example, need to monitor Google and Yelp carefully, as a single one-star review can weigh heavier than a dozen five-star reviews. Rankings matter, but who can measure what they really mean? What is the tangible difference between a restaurant pulling a 4.4 star average and another with a 4.7?

It’s the absurdity of rating everything in our lives that serves as the linchpin of John Green’s latest work, “The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human Centered Planet.” Best known for his well-received young adult fiction novels—In 2017 I reviewed his previous book “Turtles All the Way Down” for this column quite favorably—this is Green’s first major foray into adult non-fiction. Across 40 essays, Green reviews—sort of—different aspects of the Anthropocene, the geologic age in which humans saw their rise, and likely fall. It’s quite a potpourri of topics, including Indianapolis (4 out of 5 stars), plague (1/5), air-conditioning (3/5), Canada geese (2/5), and the teddy bear (2.5/5). If it seems like Green is trying a bit too hard to be clever and meta here, that’s because he probably is. One of his biggest strengths is arguably how self-aware he is in his writing, which has made for some sublime genre-bending fiction over the years, but that same self-awareness can hinder him, too.

In the end, the essays aren’t really “reviews” because they rarely stay focused on the merits of the subject at hand. They serve as a jumping off point for Green’s musings about our planet, the beauty and sorrow of living here, and the difficulties of the current global moment we find ourselves collectively enduring as best we can. It makes me wonder if the 5-star gimmick was really necessary at all? Green is famous enough that a collection of his essays would sell well enough without this contrivance. 

As for the reviews/essays themselves, I found them a bit hit or miss. Some I found incredibly poignant and touching, such as his essays on “Halley’s Comet” and “Googling Strangers,” while others failed to leave an impression on me. But such is the nature of the essay collection, different essays will speak to different readers.

If the five-star rating does mean anything, the book seems to be speaking to people. Reviews of “The Anthropocene Reviewed” average 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon (n = 2,265 as of writing), and 4.5 out 5 on Goodreads (n = 12,809), and a #1 place on the New York Times Bestseller List. Perhaps it will speak to you.

As for my personal rating of “The Anthropocene Reviewed,” I’ll abstain. Not everything needs to be placed on a five-star scale.

— JT Menard

Description


Have you or your child ever wanted to write your own version of the #1 New York Times bestseller THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES? Now is your chance, in this fill-in-the-blanks book that puts the power of words directly into your hands. Bonus sheet of nonsense stickers included!

Words are amazing. They can be happy or sad, serious or goofy. And some of the best words of all are the ones that make you laugh--the ridiculous, preposterous words like those in THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES.

Now YOU can create some of those amazing words. YOU can write a book that makes grown-ups have to say silly things. Just fill in the blanks with whatever unusual, nonsensical words come to mind (or use the sticker sheet with its funny options). Then ask your favorite adult to read your book to you, and laugh and laugh at YOUR book with no pictures!

About the Author


B. J. Novak is well known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office as a writer, actor, director, and executive producer. He is also acclaimed for his stand-up comedy; his performances in motion pictures; and his New York Times bestselling books, the children's book The Book With No Pictures and the short story collection One More Thing. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English and Spanish literature, he lives in Los Angeles, California.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593111017
ISBN-10: 059311101X
Publisher: Rocky Pond Books
Publication Date: November 19th, 2019
Pages: 40
Language: English