Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Favorite Reads: The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

My Favorite Reads
Each week I am featuring one of my favorite reads from the past.

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

Since it’s still January, the time of resolutions, I thought I’d feature this book which starts on January 1, 1998 as three men all compete, with themselves, with the record, and as they later discover with each other, to spot the largest number of unique birds in North America in one year. Two of the men are very wealthy with a lot of options at their disposal for travel and expenses, whereas the third is just a regular guy with a job, maxed out credit cards, and an old car who still manages to keep up.

Here’s my original review:
Last night as I lay in bed after finishing this book, I heard an owl hooting outside my window and I wondered, but what kind of owl is that? Grey? Barn? Snowy? And yet I had no way to answer that question. I think it'll be quite some time before I go back to my usual practice of not really noticing birds. (Although I will continue with my hating of the geese that honk incessantly at all hours and crap all over the place.) This book was hugely entertaining. Obsessives usually are. And the bird enthusiasm related in this book was really almost infectious, so well was it portrayed. The three men who made The Big Year in 1998 were so interesting, diverse, and unusual that they were amusing company. It was a fun, fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed.


Alyce said...

Is this a true story or fiction? I mostly agree with your opinion about the geese. :) I don't mind them as long as I don't have to go anywhere near them. I love seeing them fly overhead each fall and spring. I do remember a fishing trip to a pond surrounded by geese that was very unpleasant and messy from several years ago. So I guess I only like them from a distance.

Carin Siegfried said...

It's nonfiction. Not a memoir exactly because the author himself isn't one of the three men, but it has that more casual style that memoirs do.

The geese are very unpleasant. I like ducks. They're just as cute but so much quieter and less messy.