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Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors

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Based on the wildly popular Instagram account, Subpar Parks features both the greatest hits and brand-new content, all celebrating the incredible beauty and variety of America's national parks juxtaposed with the clueless and hilarious one-star reviews posted by visitors. Subpar Parks, both on the popular Instagram page and in this humorous, informative, and collectible Based on the wildly popular Instagram account, Subpar Parks features both the greatest hits and brand-new content, all celebrating the incredible beauty and variety of America's national parks juxtaposed with the clueless and hilarious one-star reviews posted by visitors. Subpar Parks, both on the popular Instagram page and in this humorous, informative, and collectible book, combines two things that seem like they might not work together yet somehow harmonize perfectly: beautiful illustrations and informative, amusing text celebrating each national park paired with the one-star reviews disappointed tourists have left online. Millions of visitors each year enjoy Glacier National Park, but for one visitor, it was simply Too cold for me! Another saw the mind-boggling vistas of Bryce Canyon as Too spiky! Never mind the person who visited the thermal pools at Yellowstone National Park and left thinking, "Save yourself some money, boil some water at home." Featuring more than 50 percent new material, the book will include more depth and insight into the most popular parks, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Acadia National Parks; anecdotes and tips from rangers; and much more about author Amber Share's personal love and connection to the outdoors. Equal parts humor and love for the national parks and the great outdoors, it's the perfect gift for anyone who loves to spend time outside as well as have a good read (and laugh) once they come indoors.


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Based on the wildly popular Instagram account, Subpar Parks features both the greatest hits and brand-new content, all celebrating the incredible beauty and variety of America's national parks juxtaposed with the clueless and hilarious one-star reviews posted by visitors. Subpar Parks, both on the popular Instagram page and in this humorous, informative, and collectible Based on the wildly popular Instagram account, Subpar Parks features both the greatest hits and brand-new content, all celebrating the incredible beauty and variety of America's national parks juxtaposed with the clueless and hilarious one-star reviews posted by visitors. Subpar Parks, both on the popular Instagram page and in this humorous, informative, and collectible book, combines two things that seem like they might not work together yet somehow harmonize perfectly: beautiful illustrations and informative, amusing text celebrating each national park paired with the one-star reviews disappointed tourists have left online. Millions of visitors each year enjoy Glacier National Park, but for one visitor, it was simply Too cold for me! Another saw the mind-boggling vistas of Bryce Canyon as Too spiky! Never mind the person who visited the thermal pools at Yellowstone National Park and left thinking, "Save yourself some money, boil some water at home." Featuring more than 50 percent new material, the book will include more depth and insight into the most popular parks, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Acadia National Parks; anecdotes and tips from rangers; and much more about author Amber Share's personal love and connection to the outdoors. Equal parts humor and love for the national parks and the great outdoors, it's the perfect gift for anyone who loves to spend time outside as well as have a good read (and laugh) once they come indoors.

30 review for Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book has cool facts and a basic description of each park, but I thought it would be more of a compilation of bad reviews, rather than a mini travel guide.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cook Memorial Public Library

    Sonia recommends this humorous look at negative reviews of our national parks. Check our catalog: https://encore.cooklib.org/iii/encore... Sonia recommends this humorous look at negative reviews of our national parks. Check our catalog: https://encore.cooklib.org/iii/encore...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Funny, interesting and beautifully illustrated. I can’t wait to be super unimpressed by nature myself and complain about things like not getting to touch flaming hot lava or thinking how I just could have boiled water at home instead of dragging my ass all the way there to just see some hot springs. Just get tickets to a theme park next time guys.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna Mouser

    As a fan of the Instagram page, I was so excited to get my hands on this book. The illustrations are beautiful, the reviews funny, and I loved how the author made sure to include information about how the lands were sacred to native populations. Overall a great read, I’m glad I bought this as a coffee table book and can flip through it whenever I want!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Bolkema

    An enjoyable and humorous overview of the National Parks. It makes for a great vacation read. 🙂

  6. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Creative fun! I've read a lot of books about our National Parks and this author puts a unique spin on the topic. I've not read her popular Instagram account but I can see why it would be addictive. In her introduction the author explains her creative process and how this was a project that combined her love for the outdoors, illustrating, and hand-lettering. Very cool. Not only is this good for a chuckle (the Grand Canyon described as a "big hole"!!) but it is a clever way to inspire others to vi Creative fun! I've read a lot of books about our National Parks and this author puts a unique spin on the topic. I've not read her popular Instagram account but I can see why it would be addictive. In her introduction the author explains her creative process and how this was a project that combined her love for the outdoors, illustrating, and hand-lettering. Very cool. Not only is this good for a chuckle (the Grand Canyon described as a "big hole"!!) but it is a clever way to inspire others to visit these locations. Her artwork is colorful and appealing, the info interesting but sparse. She tickles your travel bone...but you'll have to get other serious guidebooks for making your plans. I especially appreciated the brief historical backgrounds that included the connection of the lands to the indigenous tribes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    I purchased this thinking that I would be getting a list of other peoples' strange reviews of our national parks. There are only a few of them in here. This book is mostly brief stories of the author's visit to many of our nation's national parks. Somewhat enjoyable, but wait until Amazon lowers the price to buy it. I purchased this thinking that I would be getting a list of other peoples' strange reviews of our national parks. There are only a few of them in here. This book is mostly brief stories of the author's visit to many of our nation's national parks. Somewhat enjoyable, but wait until Amazon lowers the price to buy it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookishbrookeish

    I have followed subpar parks on Instagram for a long time and it’s one of my favorite non-book accounts. I have LONG wanted a coffee table book of the posters and this more than delivered! I loved learning about each of the places the posters are for and getting a peek into the author’s drawing process. This would be a perfect gift for the outdoorsy people in your life and is a great book to pick up and peruse at your leisure. Definitely worth buying!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Schoenfield

    Graphic designer and national parks lover Amber Share has added her caustic wit to her art to produce this laugh-out-loud look at our national parks. Over each two-page spread Share has drawn an image of the park with a real complaint from an unsatisfied park visitor. Then she gets down to the beauty that each park offers. By the time I had finished this I had my daily dose of belly laughs and was ready to hit the road for Acadia, Isle Royale, Arches National Park, and Yellowstone, no matter wha Graphic designer and national parks lover Amber Share has added her caustic wit to her art to produce this laugh-out-loud look at our national parks. Over each two-page spread Share has drawn an image of the park with a real complaint from an unsatisfied park visitor. Then she gets down to the beauty that each park offers. By the time I had finished this I had my daily dose of belly laughs and was ready to hit the road for Acadia, Isle Royale, Arches National Park, and Yellowstone, no matter what anyone says about them. (OK, here's what they said. Acadia : "The water is ice cold." Isle Royale: "No cell service and terrible wifi." Arches: "Looks nothing like the license plate." Yellowstone: "Save yourself some money, boil some water at home.")

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maybee Library

    This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to h This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to him. Two thumbs up for this enjoyable and unique introduction to the United States' incredible national parks. *very, very rare language

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carl Nelson

    A gem of a book combining beautiful illustrations of our National Parks with reviews from thoroughly clueless and disgruntled visitors. The artwork is a pleasing poster illustration style, and the juxtaposition with pithy captions is the perfect foil. Favorites include Badlands National Park (“The only thing bad about these lands is the entire experience”), Shenandoah National Park (“Not a lot to offer unless you want to hike”), and White Sands National Park (“Literally miles of white sand”). La A gem of a book combining beautiful illustrations of our National Parks with reviews from thoroughly clueless and disgruntled visitors. The artwork is a pleasing poster illustration style, and the juxtaposition with pithy captions is the perfect foil. Favorites include Badlands National Park (“The only thing bad about these lands is the entire experience”), Shenandoah National Park (“Not a lot to offer unless you want to hike”), and White Sands National Park (“Literally miles of white sand”). Laughs abound on every page.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Elwood

    Beautiful paintings and hilarious one-star reviews (Yellowstone - "Save yourself some money; boil some water at home") are paired with information about the park and its history. While sometimes it feels as though Share is trying too hard to be funny, the book definitely inspired me to visit more of our national parks. Beautiful paintings and hilarious one-star reviews (Yellowstone - "Save yourself some money; boil some water at home") are paired with information about the park and its history. While sometimes it feels as though Share is trying too hard to be funny, the book definitely inspired me to visit more of our national parks.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Absolutely hilarious with just the right amount of snark. Plus, awesome details about each "poorly reviewed" National Park. Absolutely hilarious with just the right amount of snark. Plus, awesome details about each "poorly reviewed" National Park.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tara Sypien

    Laughed on every page!

  15. 4 out of 5

    H

    This book is a love letter to parks, and I took the opportunity to start reading it in a provincial park. I've only been to two listed (both in South Dakota), but would love to see the others, at reasonable distances from the lava and wild animals. This book is a love letter to parks, and I took the opportunity to start reading it in a provincial park. I've only been to two listed (both in South Dakota), but would love to see the others, at reasonable distances from the lava and wild animals.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Crawford

    It is a easy read, about how som people are disappointed on federal parks in America, and what makes these park so wonderful

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carmine

    very amusing. One line negative reviews over an illustration sort of in the style of those classic NPS posters, coupled with facts and trivia about each park. Great gift for a park nerd. So fun to read negative reviews of parks we have loved and visited. Petrified Forest: "Basically a desert with some dead trees." Olympic: "No wow factor." Ha ha ha ha ha. This book gave us many chuckles. very amusing. One line negative reviews over an illustration sort of in the style of those classic NPS posters, coupled with facts and trivia about each park. Great gift for a park nerd. So fun to read negative reviews of parks we have loved and visited. Petrified Forest: "Basically a desert with some dead trees." Olympic: "No wow factor." Ha ha ha ha ha. This book gave us many chuckles.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Stofko

    I feel like this book should have been made for me. National parks! Funny reviews! Drawings of the parks! In reality, I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed. This book is billed as having the humorous reviews of the national parks with author added drawings. In reality, it's more of a travel book than being a funny book of bad reviews. I love the national parks. I've visited some, I've read multiple books about them, and I've watched documentaries and specials about them. I already know a lot of I feel like this book should have been made for me. National parks! Funny reviews! Drawings of the parks! In reality, I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed. This book is billed as having the humorous reviews of the national parks with author added drawings. In reality, it's more of a travel book than being a funny book of bad reviews. I love the national parks. I've visited some, I've read multiple books about them, and I've watched documentaries and specials about them. I already know a lot of information about them, so I really wasn't looking for another fact book. I was looking for a good laugh about people's reviews of these amazing parks. There were reviews, but they were like one sentence, and then the majority of the page was information about the parks. I really, really wanted a compilation of bad/funny reviews, and I just didn't get it with this book. This isn't a bad book, just modify your expectations.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelsie Christensen

    Found this cute little book on vacation and had to get it! I love the fun it pokes at people who critique nature. National parks are my favorite thing ever, so I loved learning about all of them more. The drawings are also absolutely superb and I have now followed all of her social media’s lol. Absolutely adored this book and I’m so happy I found it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This book proves once again that people are really stupid.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    Would have loved to see fewer parks and more reviews.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fox

    Subpar Parks began life as a bit of a joke online. I'm uncertain if it started as a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page - but it was roundly hilarious whenever I came across little lists compiling the artwork and reviews. The gist is that Amber Share would collect 1 star internet reviews of National Parks and create beautiful posters of the parks in question with snippets from the review lettered across them. The idea is so simple, but the execution is flawless and laugh out loud funny every Subpar Parks began life as a bit of a joke online. I'm uncertain if it started as a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page - but it was roundly hilarious whenever I came across little lists compiling the artwork and reviews. The gist is that Amber Share would collect 1 star internet reviews of National Parks and create beautiful posters of the parks in question with snippets from the review lettered across them. The idea is so simple, but the execution is flawless and laugh out loud funny every time. I mean, come on, who looks at the Grand Canyon and thinks it's just a big hole or decides that the 10 hour flight they went on to get to one of the most remote locations in North America isn't worth it because there isn't WiFi? It's hilarious, and the art is gorgeous. This book isn't exactly just a joke and isn't exactly a travel guide, but rather somewhere in between. If you're looking for the most sophisticated travel guide you'll be disappointed. If you're looking just for hilarious 1 star reviews of parks you likewise won't entirely find what you're looking for. What this book is is more of a primer for those National Park curious people out there. You'll get a laugh and a better appreciation for the variety and wonder of America's parks. It might get you curious enough to start planning your own trips, even. This book wasn't quite what I expected it to be, but it still proved interesting and to be a fun read. I still love the art and laughed out loud here and there. I even found some new parks that I'm quite keen to visit and learn more about.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Unique humor and much fun, especially when you've hiked in many national parks and federal lands and LOVE them. Her illustrations (with the hilarious bad reviews) are evocative of the 1930s WPA national park posters. When she puts her personality in the park descriptions, they're sprightly and fun, but sometimes they get too encyclopedic. Excellent that she includes information about the indigenous groups who lived in and valued the lands. Some favorites: "Mountains not nearly tall enough" (Gate Unique humor and much fun, especially when you've hiked in many national parks and federal lands and LOVE them. Her illustrations (with the hilarious bad reviews) are evocative of the 1930s WPA national park posters. When she puts her personality in the park descriptions, they're sprightly and fun, but sometimes they get too encyclopedic. Excellent that she includes information about the indigenous groups who lived in and valued the lands. Some favorites: "Mountains not nearly tall enough" (Gates of the Arctic NP), "Just something to look at and leave" (Crater Lake NP), "No idea what people like about this" (Lassen Volcanic NP), "Looks nothing like the license plate" (Arches NP), "Too orange, too spiky" (Bryce Canyon NP), "Save yourself some money and boil some water at home" (Yellowstone NP), "Didn't even get to touch lava" (Hawaii Volcanoes NP -- uh, you're walking on lava practically the whole time!). Just ordered a 2022 calendar and some stickers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ben Vore

    Amber Share had the ingenious idea to pair original art of national parks with excerpts from one star reviews online, and the result is this entertaining read which declares, for example, that the “scenery is not very good” at Kings Canyon, or that Olympic National Park had “no wow factor.” (My other favorites: Arches “looks nothing like the license plate”; Carlsbad Caverns is “poorly lit”; and “Don’t waste your time unless you’re really into hot springs,” written about — you guessed it — Hot Sp Amber Share had the ingenious idea to pair original art of national parks with excerpts from one star reviews online, and the result is this entertaining read which declares, for example, that the “scenery is not very good” at Kings Canyon, or that Olympic National Park had “no wow factor.” (My other favorites: Arches “looks nothing like the license plate”; Carlsbad Caverns is “poorly lit”; and “Don’t waste your time unless you’re really into hot springs,” written about — you guessed it — Hot Springs.) The book is basically a curated Instagram feed with additional info about each park, but it’s a fun coffee table book and Share, clearly a lover of nature, encourages visitors to do more than just look. “Every park in the United States has both historic and present-day significance to at least one Native American tribal nation,” she writes. “These lands hold deep, sacred meaning for many nations, and I try to be respectful of this in every park I visit.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Z

    One-word review: LOVE Expanded review: Share has infused this book with humor, love and respect. Beyond the funny one-star reviews that inspired the project, Share takes you through what you can expect at each of the parks – why they are truly majestic and worth your time. Her love of the parks and of nature is evident throughout. So too is her respect for the indigenous peoples who call these places home. A lot has been said about how this book is the perfect gift for the nature lovers in your l One-word review: LOVE Expanded review: Share has infused this book with humor, love and respect. Beyond the funny one-star reviews that inspired the project, Share takes you through what you can expect at each of the parks – why they are truly majestic and worth your time. Her love of the parks and of nature is evident throughout. So too is her respect for the indigenous peoples who call these places home. A lot has been said about how this book is the perfect gift for the nature lovers in your life, but it’s actually a perfect gift to yourself, even if you’re only mildly into the outdoors. The illustrations are soothing. The writing is tight and thoughtful. The overall feel of this book is playful and good-natured. And I guarantee you will learn at least one thing (but probably many things) that makes you say “Huh. That’s cool. I kind of want to go there now.” or “Interesting. I’m gonna look into that a bit more. Google! I’m coming!”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Just as wonderful as I hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. This ended up being full of the artwork and one star reviews we've come to know and love, while also featuring plenty of details on each park, ranger tips, personal experiences and anecdotes, sketches, and histories. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated that the space was given to histories about the indigenous people who once inhabited, and sometimes were forcibly removed from, the lands parks occupy today. Not all, or probably even Just as wonderful as I hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. This ended up being full of the artwork and one star reviews we've come to know and love, while also featuring plenty of details on each park, ranger tips, personal experiences and anecdotes, sketches, and histories. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated that the space was given to histories about the indigenous people who once inhabited, and sometimes were forcibly removed from, the lands parks occupy today. Not all, or probably even most, of America's history is pleasant or makes you proud and it's so important not to gloss over these facts. So definitely a five star read for me, and I may have to eventually purchase my own copy. I hope Amber Share creates more book projects in the future highlighting more of our favorite parks and natural wonders.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Frosty61

    "If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you" - Alex Trebek. A fun look at some of ridiculous negative reviews posted about our National Parks on social media. I wonder how many were bogus and just posted in order to get attention, but this author decided to use them as the catalyst for showing the positives of each park. She turns the tables by offering up the uniqueness of each park along with a gorgeous illustration and an interesting little blurb the reader might "If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you" - Alex Trebek. A fun look at some of ridiculous negative reviews posted about our National Parks on social media. I wonder how many were bogus and just posted in order to get attention, but this author decided to use them as the catalyst for showing the positives of each park. She turns the tables by offering up the uniqueness of each park along with a gorgeous illustration and an interesting little blurb the reader might not know. This is a fun book to browse through and I enjoyed taking it in small doses when I just had a few minutes of reading time. It just might compel you to research a park in more detail, take a road trip and see for yourself if that park is truly 'subpar'.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to h This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to him. Two thumbs up for this enjoyable and unique introduction to the United States' incredible national parks. *very, very rare language

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dundee Library

    This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to h This book exceeded my expectations. I knew I'd get humorous, sometimes laugh-out-loud, artwork advertising jaw-dropping one-star reviews of national parks. I didn't know I'd also get fascinating facts and history about the parks as well, including much-needed background on the Native use and relationship with these lands. I'm pretty sure I both entertained and annoyed my husband by holding the book up for each park and making him look at Share's art, and then reading interesting portions aloud to him. Two thumbs up for this enjoyable and unique introduction to the United States' incredible national parks. *very, very rare language

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Davis

    This book, whose beginnings I had followed on social media, seems to work better as Instagram posts than as a book. The centerpiece is brilliant - a collection of original posters with ridiculous sayings about how subpar the parks are, based on negative reviews of the parks on line. However, Amber Share rounded it out to include (1) commentary on the negative review phrases (unnecessary) and (2) information about each park, like a mini-travel guide. Honestly, there are better books out there (ma This book, whose beginnings I had followed on social media, seems to work better as Instagram posts than as a book. The centerpiece is brilliant - a collection of original posters with ridiculous sayings about how subpar the parks are, based on negative reviews of the parks on line. However, Amber Share rounded it out to include (1) commentary on the negative review phrases (unnecessary) and (2) information about each park, like a mini-travel guide. Honestly, there are better books out there (many) to serve as travel guides to the parks. I had so looked forward to this book, which I thought would be satire from cover to cover, only to find it incredibly mediocre.

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