Friday, March 07, 2008

Book Review: The Big Twitch

I recently finished reading The Big Twitch by Sean Dooley. In a nutshell, it's the Australian version of The Big Year except in this case it's one guy going for the Australian big year record. In fact, he's trying to shatter the record by seeing 700 species, about 40 more than the previous record. Overall, it was an enjoyable book with a lot of that complements of Dooley's humor (he's a TV comedy writer between birds). For an American reader, the language is interesting and you may find yourself looking up some of the Australian sayings. Dooley helps this out a bit by including a glossary in the front of the book.

The birds and locations will be exotic to any of us who haven't stepped foot down under. This had it pluses and minuses. On one hand, it was fun to look up the species to see what they looked like and to look up the locations and different habitats. On the other hand, it's a little more difficult to relate to Dooley's challenge when the birds and locations are unfamiliar. With The Big Year, you probably know what it takes to go to Attu and find a species from Siberia.

My biggest complaint is that the book spends an awful lot of pages just talking about chasing specific birds. It's like, "Now I needed to go see this bird and I missed it." or "Now I needed to go see this other bird and there it was." The anecdotes between these sections are where the real fun is had in reading this book. You may find yourself, like me, skimming through some of the chapters.

FINAL CONCLUSION: Borrow it, don't buy it, read it when you get a chance

1 comment:

dguzman said...

I can see how it might be a little frustrating to read about someone birding on another continent. I'm still working my way slowly (savoring!) through RTP's Wild America, and when he's in Mexico and even in the Western parts of the US, I get all confused, and I can't find the birds in my guides, etc.!

Speaking of listing, your list numbers (in your sidebar) are amazing! "Very impressive, young Skywalker!"