Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout Audiobook, by Philip Connors Play Audiobook Sample

Download Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout Audiobook

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout Audiobook, by Philip Connors Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Philip Connors Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781481571159

Publisher Description

In the tradition of Desert Solitaire and Shop Class as Soulcraft, this is a remarkable debut from a major new voice in American nonfiction—a meditation on nature and life, witnessed from the heights of one of the last fire-lookout towers in America.

For nearly a decade, Philip Connors has spent half of each year in a seven-by-seven foot fire-lookout tower, ten thousand feet above sea level in one of the most remote territories of New Mexico. One of the least developed parts of the country, the first region designated as an official wilderness area in the world, the section he tends is also one of the most fire-prone, suffering more than thirty thousand lightning strikes each year. Written with gusto, charm, and a sense of history, Fire Season captures the wonder and grandeur of this most unusual job and place: the eerie pleasure of solitude, the strange dance of communion and mistrust with its animal inhabitants, and the majesty, might, and beauty of untamed fire at its wildest.

Connors’ time up on the peak is filled with drama—there are fires large and small; spectacular midnight lightning storms and silent mornings awakening above the clouds; surprise encounters with long-distance hikers, smokejumpers, bobcats, black bears, and an abandoned, dying fawn.

Filled with Connors’ heartfelt reflections on our place in the wild, on other writers who have worked as lookouts—Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Norman Maclean, Gary Snyder—and on the ongoing debate over whether fires should be suppressed or left to burn, Fire Season is a remarkable homage to the beauty of nature, the blessings of solitude, and the freedom of the independent spirit.

As Connors writes, “I’ve seen lunar eclipses and desert sandstorms and lightning that made my hair stand on end…I’ve watched deer and elk frolic in the meadow below me and pine trees explode in a blue ball of smoke. If there’s a better job anywhere on the planet, I’d like to know what it is.”

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  • “Between tales of sweeping out rat droppings from the two-room cabin or flyfishing by moonlight or describing the environmental issues of fire suppression, former Wall Street Journal copy editor Connors deftly weaves his personal story and shares the joys of working solo five months each year as a US Forest Service wilderness lookout…Narrator Sean Runette brings Connors’ writing alive…Highly recommended for adults and older teens.”

    - Library Journal (starred audio review)
  • “Narrator Sean Runnette provides a relaxed reading that emphasizes the Zen qualities of the job. The resulting audiobook should appeal to armchair rangers.”

    - AudioFile
  • “Excellent, informative, and delightful.”

    - Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • “An urgent, clear, bright book; it is both lyrical enough to arrest breath and absolutely compelling, reminding us why we need fire, solitude, wilderness.”

    - Alexandra Fuller, New York Times bestselling author
  • “Finely, wryly, at times poetically wrought…Connors has succeeded in weaving many stories into one…But it’s what he calls ‘the drama of the self’ that most distinguishes Fire Season—the drama inherent in a solitary existence amid ‘a landscape prone to burn,’ but also the drama of a writer alone before his typewriter finding a voice and new literary life in arid terrain.”

    - New York Times Book Review
  • “A quirky meditation on the lonely pleasures of summers in a seven-by-seven-foot lookout tower in a particularly wild patch of the Southwest…A quietly moving love letter to a singular place.”

    - Los Angeles Times
  • “[A] lyrical, masterly debut from a first-class writer.”

    - Men’s Journal
  • “One of the most elegant ruminations about the wilderness and the rugged West to emerge in quite some time.”

    - NPR
  • “Reading this book is like taking a vacation in beautiful scenery with an observant and clever guide. So relax and enjoy.”

    - Associated Press
  • “What a wonderful book. Philip Connors went up to the mountaintop to serve as a lookout—and he has come down with a masterwork of close observation, deep reflection, and hard-won wisdom. This is an unforgettable reckoning with the American land.”

    - Philip Gourevitch, former editor of Paris Review
  • “Connors introduces us to his wilderness in this ruminative, lyrical, occasionally suspenseful account that bristles with the narrative energy and descriptive precision of Annie Dillard and dovetails between elegiac introspection and a history of his curious and lonely occupation.”

    - Publishers Weekly
  • “Connors proffers an ecological manifesto for making our peace with fire. More importantly, he offers a profound (and at times hilariously profane) perspective on the relationship between humans and the earth.”

    - BookPage
  • “Wise and impassioned, Connors’ unique perspective… illuminates the joys of solitude and the complicated nature of life in a volatile, untamable environment.”

    - Booklist


  • An Amazon Best Books of the Year in Nature
  • A Library Journal Best Audiobook of 2011
  • A London Guardian Best Book of the Year
  • Selected for the May 2011 Indie Next List
  • Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award
  • Winner of the Reading the West Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award
  • Winner of the Grand Prize from the Banff Mountain Book Competition

Customer Reviews

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  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " This is an amazing memoir, built on a combination of personal experience, science and history. One man, one fire watch-tower, one summer after eight years. I highly recommend. "

    - Robin, 5/5/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Review forthcoming, hopefully in The Book. "

    - Jeffrey, 3/30/2011
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Moved too slowly. Good writing though. "

    - Jessilynn, 12/6/2010

About the Author

Philip Connors was born in Iowa, grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and studied journalism at the University of Montana. Beginning in 1999 he worked at the Wall Street Journal, mostly as an editor on the leisure and arts page. In 2002 he left New York to become a fire lookout in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, where he has spent every summer since. That experience became the subject of his first book, the multiaward–winning Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout. His second book, All the Wrong Places, a memoir of life in the shadow of his brother’s suicide, was published in 2015 and selected as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of the year by Kirkus Reviews. He lives in the Mexican-American borderlands.

About the Narrator

Sean Runnette, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, has also directed and produced more than two hundred audiobooks, including several Audie Award winners. He is a member of the American Repertory Theater company and has toured the United States and internationally with ART and Mabou Mines. His television and film appearances include Two If by Sea, Cop Land, Sex and the City, Law & Order, the award-winning film Easter, and numerous commercials.