Top critical review
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More of a coffee-table book than a page-turner
on 17 March 2014
First the good points: The Cloud Book is very professionally finished, with a large number of beautiful photos illustrating the different types of cloud described in the text. The introduction is well-written and interesting, and overall this is certainly an attractive-looking book; something I would definitely pick up and browse through while waiting at the doctor's surgery, or if I found it on a friend's coffee table.
The problem is that I wouldn't read it for much longer after that. The reason is that after the introduction (which is a few pages long) it has more the structure of a catalogue than a casual reading book, with most of the book given over to describing a list of different "cloud types", which doesn't really help you to "understand the skies", as claimed on the cover: it just gives you names to associate to different cloud forms. Unfortunately, reading through a list of cloud classifications does not really do it for me: it doesn't tell you a story, it just gives you facts. Put simply, there is no real reason to turn the page.
On top of this, the author uses a range of meteorological concepts without properly explaining them. As someone who has followed a couple of courses on Meteorology at university, even I struggled to keep up at times. Of course it is possible to not understand all the terms and still get some understanding out of it, but it makes you wonder why the author did not spend a few pages (at least!) explaining some basic concepts in meteorology, rather than diving straight into cloud classifications without giving the reader a solid base of knowledge to build on.
I would give it three stars still because as a coffee-table book for picking up and browsing it is very good, the problem is it's hard to keep interested after half an hour or so of browsing.