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The Wavewatcher's Companion [Paperback]

Gavin Pretor-Pinney
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

6 Jun 2011

One bright February afternoon on a beach in Cornwall, Gavin

Pretor-Pinney took a break from cloudspotting and started watching the

waves rolling into shore. Mesmerised, he wondered where they had come

from, and decided to find out. He soon realised that waves don't just

appear on the ocean, they are everywhere around us, and our lives

depend on them.

From the rippling beats of our hearts, to the movement of food through

our digestive tracts and of signals across our brains, waves are the

transport systems of our bodies. Everything we see and hear reaches us

via light and sound waves, and our information age is reliant on the

microwaves and infrared waves used by the telephone and internet

infrastructure. From shockwaves unleashed by explosions to torsional

waves that cause suspension bridges to collapse, from sonar waves that

allow submarines to 'see' with sound to Mexican waves that sweep

through stadium crowds... there were waves, it seemed, wherever Gavin

looked. But what, he wondered, could they all have in common with ones

we splash around in on holiday?

By the time he made the ultimate surfer's pilgrimage to Hawaii, Gavin

had become a world-class wavewatcher, although he was still rubbish at

surfing. And, while this fascinating, funny book may not teach you how

to ride the waves, it will show you how to tune into the shapes,

colours and forms of life's many undulations.

Frequently Bought Together

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

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; First Paperback Edition edition (6 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408809761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408809761
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,481 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


'Page after page is patient, open, rational and clear.... an eye opening experience' (Daily Mail)

'Pretor-Pinney is clever, passionate, indomitable in his determination to share his knowledge.' (Daily Telegraph)

'He is an entertaining and informal teacher... a unique book' (Daily Mail)

'Dotted with photos and diagrams, The Wavewatcher's Companion is a perfectly paced combination of whimsical, digressive wonder and in-depth knowledge that renders a potentially esoteric subject engaging to all' (Financial Times)

Book Description

A humorous, original guide to the waves that surround us and through

which we experience the world, by the bestselling author of The Cloudspotter's Guide.

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
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and quite enlightening 24 Jun 2010
Unlike the Cloudspotter's Guide, this book is less an almanac and more an instructional manual on all things "Wave". The cover of course has the waves breaking on a shore but the book encompasses everything that you could want to know about sound, light, radio and other electromagnetic waves, waves in the atmosphere, waves on rivers and of course waves at sea.

It would appear that the author started writing this book with the intention of gaining an all expenses paid surfing trip to Hawaii as "research" for a book on waves at sea. Well he got his wish but in the process turned his mind to how waves occur, where they occur and where they connect with humanity, from the devastation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami to the beauty of Claude Monet's paintings.

It is actually quite difficult to describe this book because it covers so many subjects dividing them up into easily digestible chunks, which makes it an ideal "dipping" book. It is written with verve and humour, and as the bibliography and acknowledgements attest, there was probably more proper research put into this book than the author originally intended.

It has certainly paid off.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandpa went surfing 14 Aug 2010
I was interested in the book because my grandsons (8 and 12) had said that they wanted to teach me to bodysurf in Cornwall this summer.I felt that it was important to know a little more about waves and wave formation.The book was also an excellent read to pass the time while travelling the 350 miles down there.I ended up in buying a second copy for my grandsons too.I am certain that they will find it an excellent resource for their Physics revision later in their school work.It is an super book and should be on every secondary school library shelf.It covers so many aspects of waves that I challenge anyone not to find something of interest in this book.Yes I caught some waves and it was a super experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Etherial 21 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I spent the most interesting part of my working life designing and maintaining electronic equipment from Radar to Radio's, Audio and TV etc. Everyone who has worked in these areas has to be aware of wave theory and resonance. We sit exams and are told we are qualified, yet wave theory is still a mystery. We know particular views of it so when this book came along I was intensely interested. Waves to me are an ongoing conversation. We see them in the sea in the clouds and in sand dunes. In rainbows and through diffraction gratings. This illustrated book gives a new perspective to an on going saga. if you are interested in wave phenomenon you will love this book, it has new (to me at least) information about atmospheric waves and goes on to describe many different forms of wave energy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not at all bad.. 11 Feb 2014
...but I have to score it average, although would give in an extra half star if that was possible. This is one of those books full of little factules that provide an interesting read that you can dip in and out of at leisure. Perhaps my problem is that due to my work and leisure interests a lot of the content was already known to me and so there were only a few surprises. Rather than a treatise on waves in the sea or even periodic waves in general, anything that has the word wave in it is considered. Thus we have tide waves, shock waves and mexican waves as well as traffic waves. It was good enough to hold my interest in at least half the book and for its price therefore I would not quibble.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Informative 11 Mar 2012
By Storm
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another excellent book by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. This time it is all about waves and makes the subject interesting and easy to understand (unlike many physics texts!) Gavin has a wonderful writing style and a quirky sense of humour. I can thoroughly recommend this book, and his others of course.
The Cloudspotter's Guide
The Cloud Collector's Handbook
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Misleading Title 20 Jan 2014
By Rachel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think this book title is a little bit misleading as you automatically think it will be about ocean waves, in the same way the `The Cloudspotter's Guide' was all about clouds. However, it is about all the different types of wave that you can think of - x-ray, seismic etc. It was interesting and enjoyable but it did drag in places and I found myself becoming bored in places as information was repeated. Plenty of interesting images and diagrams to further explain what was happening and perfect for reading in small chunks with other books on the go.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book 17 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Its very interesting but a biit heavy on the technicalities after a bit. Losts of interesting perspectives and worth a read
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wavewatcher's Companion 1 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazingly detailed and comprehensive in its scope, never boring. Even tricky explanations are enlivened by easy-to-understand analogies. Have already recommended it to our elder son who, with his rowing partner, entered the Guinness Book of World Records, being the first pair to row the North Pacific Ocean.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Present for thinking heads
A thought provoking book for the curious and slightly scientific mind.
My dad enjoyed the Cloud watchers companion - I hope he enjoys this
Published 8 months ago by Chris Gillings
4.0 out of 5 stars WAVEY
Published 17 months ago by MR D WALKER
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
I'm not sure I enjoyed this quite as much as the author's previous success, The Cloudspotter's Guide. Don't let that put you off, though: I REALLY enjoyed that one. Read more
Published 20 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wavewatcher's Companion
Having seen the t.v. programme on Wavewatcher's guide,I realised the subject would be of interest to both my husband and my sons.
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by Mrs. J. L. Kitching
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for a lover of nature!
I bought this as a gift for my Mum for her birthday and she absolutely loved it! It has everything in it you could need for 'watching the waves' and the author is well recommended!
Published on 13 Jan 2011 by Louibe
2.0 out of 5 stars Wave Goodbye!
Having enjoyed his previous book 'The Cloudspotters Guide' I bought the latest offering expecting a book entirely about the sea as the jacket design implies. This clearly isn't. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by Stephen George Newman
4.0 out of 5 stars theWavewatchers companion
This book was purchased as a gift.unfortunatly i was unable to sneak a look before it went! I believe the recipient finds it a fascinating read.
Published on 30 Aug 2010 by Amazon Customer
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