To address the state’s ongoing financial shortfalls, California’s government announced last May that they intended to close a quarter of the state’s 278 parks by next July. Upset by the decision to save money at the expense of the state’s natural beauty, three filmmakers embarked on a 3,000 mile trip around the Golden State’s wildlife reserves, recreation areas, and parks to shoot The First 70, a gorgeous documentary about the parks being closed and the individuals fighting to preserve them. You can check out the trailer over here.
Farhad Manjoo thinks corner bookstores are simply comfy and quaint. According to a response by The Christian Science Monitor, he couldn’t be more wrong.
The unwritten rules of steampunk declare that in every steampunk story, the Hindenburg never caught fire, the world never lost its desire for blimp travel and the skies are dotted with hot air balloons and zeppelins. As it happens, this element of the genre stems from old utopian narratives, many of which depicted a future of widespread balloon travel. At Salon, Kyle Minor reviews the audiobook of a new history of the hot air balloon, written by Richard Holmes, that shows how the rise of air travel changed the world’s imaginative territory.
Have you looked thoroughly at our Summer Reading List for Wretched Assholes Who Prefer to Wallow in Someone Else’s Misery and still aren’t sure what to read? Maybe this helpful flow chart from the Strand Bookstore, via LitHub, will help you settle on something.
Seeing as yesterday was Donald Barthelme’s birthday, it’s as good a time as any to remember the short fiction icon. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova reads Barthelme’s essay “Not-Knowing,” which you can find in the author’s collection of essays and interviews. Sample quote: “Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art.”
Recommended Viewing: This installment of The Paris Review’s “My First Time” series, in which poet Ben Lerner remembers “working under the sign of crisis” and attempting to find a publisher for his first book, The Lichtenberg Figures. A couple of Lerner-related pieces from The Millions: a review of his newest novel, 10:04, and a Year in Reading from back in 2014.
Flip through the blurbs on a recently published novel and you’re likely to come across a ton of stock phrases. Gary Shteyngart parodied this repetition — as well as other facets of the blurb-industrial complex — in a bit of improv last year. At The Morning News, Christine Gosnay writes about a poem that gave her a genuinely new reaction: the sense that she was “more than one person.”