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What We’re Reading: 9 Cultural Picks Around The Web

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Coronado High,” The Atavist
Some pieces of journalism were just made for the movies. Joshuah Bearman seems to have a way with writing these types of narratives. His Wired story inspired the film Argo, and this evocative tale of drug smugglers in ’70s-era Northern California screams film adaptation. There’s a perfectly formed cinematic arc and colorful, can’t-make-them-up characters. Calling Steven Soderbergh! —Julia Cosgrove

Laugh, Kookaburra,” The New Yorker
Reading this piece by David Sedaris made me very excited about his latest collection of essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, in which it appears. After feeling somewhat disappointed by the familiarity of Australia (“spend that much time on a plane and you’re entitled to a whole new world when you step off at the other end—the planet Mercury, say, or, at the very least, Mexico City”), Sedaris is finally transported in the country town of Daylesford. Here, he meets a kookaburra, which connects to his past and his family, and consequently, to his new Aussie friend, Pat. —Serena Renner

Cookin’ Globally Grooving Georges,” Afropop Worldwide
Food, music, and travel—three passions that fuel cultural curiosity and yield infinite rewards—come together in this Afropop Worldwide hour-long audio feature hosted by Cameroonia-French-American broadcaster Georges Collinet. The featured dish is the Moroccan specialty chicken meshwi, and the musical accompaniment comes from Algeria, Nigeria, and Mali, provided by Khaled, Amadou and Mariam, Femi Kuti, Rokia Traore, and others. —Derk Richardson

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The World’s Toughest Race,” The Wall Street Journal
I’m one of those crazies who runs ultra marathons, so I’m in awe of the men and women who show up every July in California’s Death Valley National Park to attempt to run the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarthon. This slideshow from the Wall Street Journal shares images from what’s been called the world’s toughest race. My feet hurt just looking at these pictures. —Jen Murphy

Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents, Elisabeth Eaves
What made me quite literally glued to this book the last couple weeks was the camaraderie I felt I shared with Eaves as she took me through her travels in Papua New Guinea, Egypt, Pakistan, and Peru, as well as many other places across the globe. I understood the persistent feeling where you just can’t quite shake the travel bug inside of you, feeling like you’re going to burst at the seams if you don’t get out and explore. And I also so appreciate her need to always go to unconventional places. A trek through Yemen over wine tasting in Italy? Sign me up any day. —Marley Walker

License To Thrill,” National Geographic Traveler
If a road trip is on your summer bucket list, check out this slideshow of 10 epic drives. Cruise 226 miles of mountain passes from Chile to Argentina on the Trans-Andean Highway, or take New Zealand’s Highway 94 to travel through rainforests, skirt snow-capped mountains, and see dolphins and penguins at a marine reserve. Each trip has an “inside track” with tips and sightseeing highlights, such as the 20-story Bâlea waterfall off Romania’s Transfãgărăşan Road. —Lara Takenaga

A Village Invents a Language All Its Own,” The New York Times
In an early issue of AFAR, we explored extinct and dying languages in our Curious Planet section. In Nicholas Bakalar’s New York Times piece from last week, researchers discuss a new language that is spoken only by young people in Australia’s Northern Territory.  —Julia Cosgrove

My Love Affair with the American Bluegrass Festival,” The Guardian
AFAR contributing writer Emma John, who traveled from London, England, to Charlotte, North Carolina, to pursue her obsession with bluegrass, and wrote about it in “Playing by Heart,” continued her quest this summer with another American pilgrimage, this time to Colorado for the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This woman is possessed! —Derk Richardson

Sweat and the City,” Medium
While her neighbors endure hours of rush hour traffic to escape New York City’s summer temperatures over the Fourth of July weekend, Rebecca Flint-Marx stays in Manhattan. With an East Coaster’s wit, she convinces that staying put offers its own reprieve, as long as you can stand the heat. —Kim Fortson

Photo courtesy of Joseph Cyr/AFAR

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