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The Cloudspotter's Guide Paperback – 8 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (8 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034089590X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340895900
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gavin Pretor-Pinney is the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society, a global organisation he set up to fight 'blue-sky thinking'. He is currently proposing that a new cloud type, Asperatus, should be added to the International Cloud Atlas - if he succeeds, this would be the first new official cloud type since 1951. He is also the co-founder and creative director of The Idler magazine and author of the bestselling THE CLOUDSPOTTER'S GUIDE. He lives in London and Somerset.

Product Description

Review

'A lovely book, the sort that everybody should have in the car or on the kitchen windowsill' (Daily Telegraph)

'His style is genial, his enthusiasm uplifting and his book nothing less than a subtle but glorious mantra for a way of life.' (Metro)

'Read this eye-opening and amusingly written book and you will realise that beautiful as they are clouds are not just put there for decoration, they are truly awesome things.' (Daily Mail)

'Eloquent and engaging...Beautiful illustrations, photos and diagrams throughout, which show how spectacular the sights can be for the ardent cloudspotter.' (Financial Times)

Book Description

A runaway Top Ten hardback bestseller becomes a must-have non-fiction paperback for summer 2007.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr P R Morgan on 31 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
Gavin Pretor-Pinner deserves praise for taking something so obvious as clouds, and writing a whole book. We tend to take the fluffy white (or bleak grey ......) objects for granted, and many know a little about what they are composed of, and where they come from. Mr P-P is obviously something of an expert in his field, and a real enthusiast, and has caused my thoughts to be "amongst the clouds", and in that the book has achieved some success. However, can I still name the 10 cloud types, and identify them? That is a different matter.

After a general introduction, there are chapters on each of the 10 (main) cloud types. In previous eras, clouds were seen to portend the weather. In the days of the 24-hour availability of detailed meteorological forecasts, that is now hard to believe. Knowledge of cloud formations is becoming something that we do not need to know. There are detailed explanations of weather fronts, (cold front, warm front and what used to be known as occluded fronts). However, there are no weather maps as a pictorial guide, with isobars. That would have been helpful.

Generally, I liked the book more as I progressed, but the subject matter is not `a story'. Gavin writes better when the detail is linked to little anecdotes, and he has a wry sense of humour, more to make the reader weakly smile that laugh. There are informative matters of detail, so that any reader will come away with items they never knew. The style brings life to the sometimes dry subject matter of condensed water vapour, which at times left me reeling with formation details and Latin names of the sub-species of clouds.

I found that some detail of the basic cloud types merged into each other, much as a blanket of Cirrostratus.
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165 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 7 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was not quite what I expected in that I thought that it would be a largely pictorial guide to clouds. In fact it's quite textual with a relatively small number of illustrations considering that it's over 300 pages long.

There is a small colour section and I would have liked to have seen the other pictures reproduced in colour also rather than in monochrome which has sometimes come out as rather flattish and lacking contrast.

That said, it's an intelligently written guide not only to the types and appearances of clouds but also to the whys and wherefores of how each type forms and what it signifies in climatic terms. Although quite scientific in places it is also filled with lighter comments and observations.

It's entirely possible to appreciate the beauty of clouds without knowing anything about the processes behind their formation but I would recommend the book to any thinking reader who wishes to be informed in better depth about what they see in the sky and why it's there.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Vinny on 21 Jan 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this... and I am still not quite sure why! It is a quirky idea and one that is well executed. I fear it may give rise to a load of copy-cat nooks for similarly obtuse and marginal subjects, flooding Waterstones at Xmas. But this one will remain the first of that tribe. Printed and presented in an exquisite way and written in an informative and jokey manner. This is a great companion to a train journey, looking out the window at passing clouds. Sometimes it gets a bit heavy... (there are simply so many clouds and so much science)... but that shouldnt stop the enjoyment of an innovative book!
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Collins on 1 Oct 2006
Format: Hardcover
Witty, amusing, informative, and a fascinating read, is how I would describe this book. I loved it. I'm not even sure what attracted me to it in the first place; I think perhaps I couldn't imagine that anyone could write a whole book about clouds.

I used to admire the sky but only usually as a passenger on a train or in a car, or while sitting at the park watching my son on the swings and even then only half-heartedly. Now I am transfixed by the movements up there. The sky is truly spectacular. Why didn't I realise this before? Now I need to stop myself from gazing heavenwards while driving my car.

My only criticism of the book would be that the last chapter about the Morning Glory cloud doesn't seem to flow with the rest of the book probably because it was originally a separate article.

I loved the idea of taking a test after reading the book (placed in the middle pages). I didn't do too well though as my Latin spelling is appalling.
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121 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
What an eye-opener! Or more probably, what a camera opener. All you ever wanted to know about clouds and just how and why they turn out the way they do. It possibly lacks a few more photos in the book but I accessed the author's cloud appreciation society website and found more photos than I thought ever existed. Though packed with facts, it's not dry science-speak so thank you for turning an everyday event into a extra-special sight (with much understanding behind it)!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm not particularly fascinated by clouds, nor have I ever lay on my back on the grass, staring at the sky, seeing them forming the shapes of faces or horses or whatever, and yet I felt curiously drawn to this book. I'd read a review of it in a Sunday newspaper, thought it sounded interesting, and when I saw it for a reasonable price I bought it.

Each chapter of the book is devoted to a particular type of cloud, and after a diagram illustrating the different types the text then proceeds to explain each, and with the exception of the curiously flat final chapter (another reviewer has commented that it seems to be a copy and paste job from a magazine or something similar, hence the change in style) the author's slightly off-the-wall sense of humour and enthusiasm comes across very clearly. The book never becomes tedious or dry, nor does it see itself as a textbook, and this is what helps to make it so accessible. There is even a short quiz where you are asked to identify some types of cloud from photographs, and the answers to these are also humorous (one is described as 'an "Abominable Snowman, who is upset that his pet seahorse is ignoring him" cloud'.)

My lasting memories of this book were of the humorous content, and also of the somewhat terrifying account of what happened to a pilot who ejected from his aircraft at the top of a thundercloud...

Interesting and enjoyable, and it has made me look up a little more frequently.
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