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Extended Audio Sample The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, by Mark Obmascik Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,485 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Obmascik Narrator: Del Roy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year—a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prizewinning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest—or maybe worst—birding contest of all time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Superlative…ebulliently wonderful…The suspense ratchets up, and Obmascik’s considerable skill is to make these men so real in their quests, so admirably alive, that in the end who wins the contest is almost beside the point…Because the true subject here is the human spirit—and all the impossible, incredible, and wondrous things we do and endure for our beloved passions.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A most compelling tale. This is a bird book for the masses…Their chase is entertaining and wonderfully retold.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Obmascik keeps the reader guessing in this fun account of a whirlwind pursuit of birding fame.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With a blend of humor and awe, Obmascik takes the reader into the heart of competitive birding, and in the process turns everyone into birders.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kip | 2/19/2014

    " Because of this book's subject matter--birdwatching--I can't seem to persuade anyone to give this book a try. But The Big Year is much more about human behavior than avian antics. The book is filled with quirky, obsessed characters who will do almost anything to edge out their fellow birders. I found this to be one of the most delightful books I've read in recent years. The books is funny and suspenseful, even if you don't care much for birds or birders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sonny | 2/10/2014

    " This horse race among three obsessive compulsives is really about passion & commitment. Few have the time, money and knowledge to enter this race. I admire these guys, but my big year will be following the Chicago Cubs around the country, eating ballpark food and drinking ballpark beer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Erica | 2/5/2014

    " I loved the movie and decided to read the book. It was a really enjoyable read. I'm not a birder and still found it interesting. The lengths these birders go to do a Big Year is amazing/crazy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Suzanne | 2/4/2014

    " An entertaining non fiction book about three seemingly normal men and their adventures as they do a "Big Year", which in birdwatching terms means to devote a year to siting as many birds as possible. Although their obsession is funny, I found I could empathize in the big picture of wanting to be the best at something, and having the ambition to try to make it happen. (I remember showing hunter/jumpers in my younger days). I have had this book on my shelves for many years, and I randomly picked it to read, but- serendipity! my boys inform me that a movie is out, starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. Cant wait to see it! "

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