Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2005. Octavo, paperback.
This is the story of a quest to see 700 Australian birds in a year. Sean Dooley has had quite a few successes under his belt and seems reasonably well adjusted, but for some reason he's carried his childhood hobby of birdwatching into his adult life. The cross he bears, socially, is that he's a twitcher (an extreme form of birdwatching where birders charge around the country trying to add as many species of bird to their list as possible). After both his parents died, he blew his inheritance on taking a year off to try and see 700 birds in a year. He was determined to break the Australian twitching record. Part confessional and part travelogue, this is a true story about obsession. The characters who populate the tale are weirdos, the action comes from the pursuit of a dream and the attempt to break a national record. It's about trying to work out what normal is and to find the meaning of life. It's refreshingly original, it's poignant and very amusing.
"I have just finishing reading it and this book is a gem! I laughed, cried and wept tears. It is brilliant." Jim Downey, former CEO Birds Australia.
Price: $27.00 AU