A Slog through

This was a tough one to get through and subsequently, a tough one to rate. It's hard for me to say that "I liked it," which is generally what I consider a three out of five however, I must admit it was better than "just okay" which is a two out of five for me.

Kolbert tells the story of the sixth great extinction which we are both currently experiencing and causing. Each chapter of the book follows a problematic species starting with examples from the previous mass extinction events in the history of the world and then working to species that today are kept alive or spread through human intervention.

While you might want Kolbert to end it all with some promise of hope for humanity, she leaves us all to reflect on the way that we are contributing our own mass extinction.

The content was fascinating and the Kolbert is a very good storyteller. The way that she weaves the narrative of her own experiences in the field with the science of the species and the history of humanity is captivating.

Perhaps my experience of this book was deteriorated by the languishing of reading it during a global pandemic while watching Russia attack Ukraine but, it was difficult to get through. It was depressing. I suspect that some of what makes this book hard to read is intentional. It feels guilty and bit exhausting. All of these problems are so much bigger than one person reading a book, but it's important to take time to face all the terrible things out there instead of burying our heads in the sand.

Although the book was exhausting, I kept coming back to it again and again. Especially towards the end I often reflected that in retrospect I enjoyed listening to a chapter, but just as often knowing what waited when I started reading again prevented me from doing so. It was incredibly informative and interesting, but it was also a thorough reminder of all of the problems that face humanity.