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'Parks and Recreation' book: Leslie Knope on Pawnee, 'The Greatest Town in America'

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Pawnee, the Paris of America. Pawnee, the Akron of Southwest Indiana. Pawnee, the factory fire capital of America. Pawnee: Welcome, German soldiers. Pawnee: first in friendship, fourth in obesity.

As far as fictional realms go, Pawnee, Indiana, home to our friends at NBC’s Parks and Recreation, has become as mysterious and storied as Middle Earth. Now you can learn about the town’s checkered yet glorious past and events only hinted at in the series in a new book, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, told from the perspective of author Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler). Given Leslie’s unflappable enthusiasm for her town and her tendency to go a little overboard, I’m surprised she managed to keep the tome to a mere 240 pages, which is probably half the length of a typical Pawnee Parks Department annual report. Perhaps it was the calming, indifferent influence of her laissez-faire boss Ron Swanson — who, by the way, needs to write a cookbook. We all need to know how to prepare a fried turkey leg inside a grilled hamburger.

The book, actually penned by the show’s writers (don’t worry, Leslie, lots of political figures use ghost writers), is due for an Oct. 4 release from Hyperion. “The ever-expanding town of Pawnee has become its own character in our show, and we’re thrilled that we got to accelerate that expansion in one giant, goofy 240-page comedy book,” said the show’s co-creator and executive producer Mike Schur. “It’s a complete portrait of Everytown, USA, which every reader — whether a fan of the show or a newbie — can enjoy.”

Maybe we’ll finally get to learn about the time the entire town was on fire, or “the brief period in the ’70s” when it was overtaken by a cult leader named Zorp. I’d also like a breakdown of Pawnee’s best hotspots for young singles by Tom Haverford, including an annotated pictorial blueprint of The Snakehole Lounge. I’m also very concerned about how the town is taking care of its ongoing raccoon problem.

What are you looking forward to learning about Pawnee?