A tale of one man's obsession with rainforest jewels, this is the story of an impossible dream: a quest to see every one of the world's most elusive avian gems--a group of birds known as pittas--in a single year.
Insightful, compelling, and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than a book about birds. It's a true story detailing the lengths to which a man will go to escape his midlife crisis. A travelogue with a difference, it follows a journey from the suburban straitjacket of High Wycombe to the steamy, leech-infested rainforests of remotest Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Dangerous situations, personal traumas, and logistical nightmares threaten The Jewel Hunter's progress. Will venomous snakes or razor-clawed bears intervene? Or will running out of fuel mid-Pacific ultimately sink the mission? The race is on. . . .
If you've ever yearned to escape your day job, wondered what makes men tick, or simply puzzled over how to make a truly world-class cup of tea, this is a book for you.
Chris Gooddie set fire to a carefully constructed career ladder and warmed his hands over the flames. Then he went traveling all over Asia and beyond in pursuit of the world's most beautiful birds, the pittas.
[A] highly entertaining read. --Jeremy Brock, Scottish Birds
Do you have a 'plan B'--that secret dream you've quietly nurtured for much of your life? . . . The Jewel Hunter is the real-life story of one man who finally overcame inertia to devote eleven months of his life to his 'plan B': his obsession to see all living species of a small jewel-like songbird, the pittas . . . . [T]his rollicking tale is an engaging and compelling memoir that bird watchers, nature lovers and fans of travel literature will enjoy. This book is a must-read for those who (like me) are nurturing their own dream to go on a tropical birding expedition, and is essential reading for anyone who nurses their own secret 'plan B'.--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist
Gooddie's twenty chapters are for the most part straightforwardly chronological, each devoted to one of the major destinations he visited in his quest. The result is a series of adventure tales, 'good reads' all, guaranteed to whet the reader's appetite for exotic locales and their birds. The color photos illustrating the accounts are unfailingly evocative, ever--perhaps especially--the poor-quality images of some of the most elusive pitta species. Not a few of Gooddie's photos are the first ever published of the species depicted. - Rick Wright, ABA Blog