It was a case of two minds thinking obsessively alike when Free Press editor Leslie Meredith was offered a proposal for a book to be called The Big Year, in which journalist Mark Obmascik traces the story of three dead-keen birdwatchers who vie for the record of the most birds spotted in one year. Editor and author are both obsessive birders, so it seemed only fair that Meredith should have won a hotly contested auction for the book, described as a brilliantly written, Bill Bryson-esque account. The seller was Colorado-based agent Jody Rein, who sold world rights excluding the U.K. (a birding hot spot all on its own). The Free Press will publish in spring (when else?) 2004.