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The Cloudspotter's Guide [Paperback]

Gavin Pretor-Pinney
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

8 Mar 2007

'The clouds are nature's poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone has an equally fantastic view of them. Clouds are for dreamers, and their contemplation benefits the soul. Yet their beauty is so everyday as to be in danger of being overlooked ...'

Gavin Pretor Pinney is the chairman and founder member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. He contends that we are blessed in this country with a uniquely rich and varied cloudscape, which has hitherto been sadly undervalued. His book teaches us to appreciate their different varieties - the cumulus, nimbostratus and Morning Glory to name only a few - and all their beauties and significances, both meteorological and cultural. We learn how Hindus believed the cumulus clouds were the spiritual cousins of elephants, how thermal air currents act on fair weather cumuli, and how to save a fortune in psychiatric bills by using the clouds as Rorschach images that reflect our state of mind as well as nature's moods.

Looking up will never be the same again.

Frequently Bought Together

The Cloudspotter's Guide + The Cloud Collector's Handbook + The Wavewatcher's Companion
Price For All Three: 22.38

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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: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,149 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


'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)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
163 of 171 people found the following review helpful
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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a train ride 21 Jan 2007
By Vinny
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
5.0 out of 5 stars I nearly crashed my car thanks to this book! 1 Oct 2006
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
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look up for clouds 31 Oct 2007
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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95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for cloud lovers everywhere! 23 Feb 2006
This book is going to turn millions of people into avid cloudspotters, and for that alone, the author deserves our thanks. Some readers will rush out to start taking photographs, and others will write poems. Who knew there was so much to be said, and to be said so well, about clouds? This book will become the cloudspotter's bible for all time, and it inspired me to pen a short poem about clouds.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars As good as a book about clouds could be...
Gentle, well written and interesting in parts, though I struggled to finish this one. Despite the author's best efforts clouds are not a subject matter that will be able to peak... Read more
Published 7 days ago by queennbee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
pleased with purchase. thankyou
Published 22 days ago by Celine
5.0 out of 5 stars A very readable entertaining book
Enjoyable ,literary, and readily dippable - great fun to have alongside a more readily informative "textbook".
Published 28 days ago by Ian Guy-Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars abook for myself
not what I expected ,more reading than pictures ,but aside from that ,a good read ,for those of us who appreciate the sky !
Published 2 months ago by annette metham
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted
The book was as I anticipated from the description. Will help to enhance my appreciation of the natural world. Most satisfactory.
Published 4 months ago by robert h allum
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was a Christmas present and our Granddaughter spent most of the day with her nose in this book . Good
Published 6 months ago by Tessa
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging introduction to clouds and optical phenomena
The Cloudspotter's Guide is not only a walkthrough of the different types of clouds with their related optical phenomena, it is also a rich collection of anecdotes and "fun... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ketil Moland Olsen
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cloudspotter's Guide
Having just downloaded the CloudSpotter App I thought it would be useful to have a little more information about some of the clouds and optical effects. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mayfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Quick, perfect condition, very good book as well.
It explains the clouds to lay (wo)men like myself in an almost literary way.
Published 12 months ago by Floor Soesbergen
5.0 out of 5 stars Clodspotting.
A very interesting book. I have not finished it yet as I tend to have several books on the go at the same time. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ivan mayland
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