'Parks and Recreation': Read Ron Swanson's nature diary, excerpted from 'Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America' -- EXCLUSIVE

Justin Lubin/NBC; © NBCUniversal, Inc

Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope has done a lot of an ambitious things in her lifetime — construct her own Geraldine Ferraro popsicle stick action figure, eat more than a thousand dollars of waffles in one year at J.J.’s Diner  — but now our optimistic parks department deputy director has outdone herself: She’s written a book all about Pawnee, Ind.!

Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, which hits stores Oct. 4, is a complete history of the not-quite-vibrant town made famous on the NBC comedy. (Fans of the show will remember that Leslie had referenced such an opus in season 3’s “Time Capsule” episode.) “It’s a Let’s Go‑type travel guide to Pawnee, mixed with a historical record of everything that’s ever happened in the town,” explains executive producer Mike Schur. “But the premise of the book is that she also got her friends to contribute. So Andy writes about the old Pawnee-versus-Eagleton high school football rivalry, and Ann writes about the 10 weirdest injuries she’s seen working at the hospital. And Leslie can’t stop herself. The book’s got 200 footnotes. There’s an author’s note, a forward, and an acknowledgements page. And a second acknowledgements page. And an epigraph. And then another [two pages] of epigraphs. It might be the craziest tie‑in book project ever attempted, because it’s the entire history of a medium-sized town, but written from the point of view of a slightly crazy person.”

Want a hit of Pawnee lit? EW has secured two exclusive excerpts from the book. You will find the first, “April’s Guide to Hipster Pawnee,”  in this week’s issue, which arrives on stands today. The second, “The Solitude of Nature: A Diary,” was reluctantly submitted by Ron Swanson, which as he notes, was “typed on an Underwood 5 typewriter with original carriage return that I found in a dumpster and completely restored.” Read it below at your own risk, and not just because he calls Thoreau “kind of a p—y.”

(“From PAWNEE: The Greatest Town in America” by Leslie Knope. Copyright (c) 2011 Universal City Studio Productions, LLP. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.)

More ‘Parks and Recreation':
‘Parks and Recreation’ recap: Three Times the Tammy
‘Parks and Recreation': A celebration of every ill-fated exploit of Jerry Gergich
‘Parks and Recreation': Exec producer Mike Schur’s season 4 preview! 

Comments (32 total) Add your comment
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  • cajo

    YES! What a great supplement to the show. I can hear Ron’s voice when I read that piece. Funny!

    • Dum Dum Didday

      WOW – I love Ron but this book reads like AWFUL fan fiction.

  • UGH

    What a terrible dye-job.

  • Ann

    I’ve already got this book pre-ordered! Can’t wait to read it!


    Will this be available for IPAD downloads….hope so…Ron is the man and I love this crazy show!!!



    • Flyer

      Yes ma’am.

  • Jane

    I will buy this book. I am pre-ordering it. Now! (Clearly I am open to any suggestion)

  • Ashley

    Mike Schur is such a smart producer. Everything he’s done with this show has been amazing. I can’t wait for this book to come out. The whole things sounded perfectly in character for Ron and Leslie. Also I loved the fact that it was funny, but also so sweet in the end…just like the show. :)

  • YUM

    I already pre-ordered it! But what I really want is a red padfolio exactly like Leslie’s and I have looked everywhere for one!

  • RJ

    This is why the office declined. The good ideas went to Park and Rec.

    Michae’s Scott Somehow I Manage had been in the works way before this.

    I like Parks and Rec, but the makers made it really good at the expense of ruining the office.

    • anon anon

      I don’t know about that. They have a completely different team of writers. Though, it’s possible that the creators saw the upswing of Parks and have decided to invest their time in that. That’s simply how business works, though.

  • Emily

    Santa? Yeah, I think I found my Christmas present.

  • Franco

    I received an early copy of this book from a publisher about three weeks ago and read the whole thing. It is hilarious.

  • Amy

    This comes just in time for my birthday!

  • Doug

    I thought the diary had a kind of Hemingway quality to it.

  • Ashley

    Entertainment Weekly I am so so so disappointed!! I just bought the issue you said had the other excerpt and it’s NOT in there! I was so disappointed when I got it home and there was nothing related to Parks & Rec in the issue. :(

  • Gene

    Does it come with a “Gotcha” sticker?

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