Blog Post

A Book Review of “The Human Age The World Shaped by Us” by Diane Ackerman—Kailey Blunk

In The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, Diane Ackerman brings a new way to look at our society during the Anthropocene. Ackerman discusses the way humans have become the single most dominant force on our planet, however seems to deliver the message that humans may be oblivious to our environmental impact. Ackerman’s book is an optimistic approach to the discussion of today’s deteriorating environment as well as a peek into the true natural world by introducing the people and inventions that can change our future on Earth. She says on page 13, “Our new age, for all its sins, is laced with invention. We’ve tripled the average life span, reduced childhood mortality, and improved the quality of life for a great many people- from health to daily comforts- to a staggering degree. We are more globally aware now than ever. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.” She greatly influences the idea that we- as humans- are responsible for changes to our Earth and must be conscious of how we create this change. Ackerman uses hope and despair to do so as she writes about a hypothetical futuristic geologist named Olivine who studies the tainted Earth and uses poetic language when discussing de-naturalizing forces and our views of the natural world.

        The Human Age allows the audience to consider whether they will accept destruction or restoration as our legacy. Before reading The Human Age, I was afraid to open the book. The enticing cover of beautiful green ivy made me feel warm and happy, however I thought it would be a book full of soap box moments. I assumed off the bat that The Human Age would be boring and a hard to read book full of monotone facts, as most non-fictions are. But of course, I was wrong. The book definitely had its low moments where I could find myself having trouble paying attention, but there were points where I was drawn in. Whenever the prose became poetic, I would find myself the most interested, for example, on page 17, it reads “We don’t intend our cities to be so beautiful from space. They’re humanity’s energetic fingerprints on the planet, the chrome-yellow energy that flows through the city veins. Dwarfed by the infinite dome of space with its majestic coliseum of stars, we’ve created our own constellations on the ground and named it after our triumphs, enterprises, myths, and leaders…We’ve tattooed the planet with our doings”. Another example of times where I was most intrigued is when Diane Ackerman says “We don’t find it strange that, in the Human Age, slimy, hairy, oozing, thorny, smelly, seed-crackling, pollen-strewn nature is digital. It’s finger-swipes across, shared with others, and honey-combed in our devices” (Ackerman 188). The passage, filled with description and metaphors, speaks to me individually, as I am able to envision a city of technology zombies amongst the skyline of industry. I can feel and see the world crumbling to the smokestacks, and I can feel Diane Ackerman’s words in my spine.

Diane Ackerman does a phenomenal job of bringing creative writing into nonfiction, a genre that is known for being difficult to write well. Through her unique writing styles, she’s able to intrigue readers into engaging with the content and message. As a reader and fellow writer, I was able to feel how deeply Ackerman wanted us to change the world and leave a greener footprint behind through her beautiful linguistic and interpretations of the Anthropocene. Overall, I would give the book a six out of ten.



Blogpost #2: Kindle Direct Publishing


A little over a year and a half ago, I got my heart broken. I was dumped one week before prom by my first love. It hurt a lot. So, like every other romantically-influenced writer does, I wrote a book about him and the emotions he made me feel in under three months. I published it on Wattpad, as every young writer does, and somehow a literary agency had found it and contacted me about publishing the book. Now, let’s remember that I was a naive sixteen-year-old, and idiotically said no because “I respected my subject too much.” I clearly was an idiot. So, alas, I let the book sit on the shelves of Wattpad, for another year.

In the meantime, I moved on and came to Coe and made new friends and met new lovers. Particularly, I became very close with a fellow coworker at the Writing Center named Emma Fall (a.k.a E. Fall). After a split in her very own relationship, she declared to me that she was publishing a book, and my ears turned. How does one self publish a book? In college? With no money to put forth? What was this nonsense?

She introduced me to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), formerly known as CreateSpace,‘s publishing unit. The website can be used to independently publish finished manuscripts or children’s books, educational content, comics, and manga though their free creation tools. According to the Kindle Direct Publishing website, they guarantee benefits such as:  

“Rights: Maintain creative control and own your copyright with our non-exclusive agreement.

100% availability: Printing on demand means your book will never be out of stock.

Distribution: Reach readers through Amazon websites in the US, Europe, and Japan.

Royalties: Earn up to 60% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs.”


The site is very easy and straightforward to use. To make the manuscript formatting easier, KDP also offers free templates that match to the size of the book.  After uploading book content, the author has a choice to upload their own cover or create one through their Cover Creator tool. Then, with an ISBN provided by KDP, the writer is allowed to publish the book as a paperback or a Kindle e-book. Amazon provides the shelf space on, printing, and shipping (which is free for Prime members).

Both Emma and I recommend Kindle Direct Publishing to all new authors trying to release their first book. By word of mouth and some good writing, you will have tons of copies sold quickly.


Check out Coe students, E. Fall and Kailey Ann Blunk’s books:

-Making Light of It All: A Collection of Narrative Essays by E. Fall

-she snapped by E. Fall

-hurricane him by kailey ann blunk

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