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The Cloudspotter's Guide

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,369 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
The Cloudspotter's Guide is the inaugural publication of The Cloud Appreciation Society. It aims to fight "blue-sky thinking" and teach us to enjoy the contemplation of clouds, nature's poetry.

It introduces each of the different characters in the cloud family, so you'll know when to expect fine weather and when to carry your umbrella. It tells of the man who fell through a
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2007 by Sceptre (first published 2006)
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May 18, 2011 Aad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Beberapa tahun lalu, kami berbaring berdampingan di atas rumput kering di atas sebuah bukit kecil. Kami meneliti dan sesekali menghitung awan ala kadarnya. Sebuah walkman memutar rekaman suara serangga saat musim panas. Rekaman itu dikirim oleh seseorang jauh di seberang sana yang selalu rutin setiap tahun mengirim satu kaset rekaman suara serangga. Kami sudah sering bilang bahwa di negara kami tak ada musim panas, hanya ada hari-hari panas dan gerah sepanjang tahunnya. Tapi orang di seberang it ...more
Sep 25, 2011 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fact
The challenge of science writing is making an abstract description of the motion of water particles relevant to a monkey whose language evolved to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is. Pretor-Pinney has managed to do something I'd have bet was impossible: make clouds interesting. Before I read this book, clouds were a mess of undifferentiated Latin words and undifferentiated puffy shit in the sky. Now I look up and see physics made incarnate. It's like I've been given a superpower. Now *th ...more
Feb 07, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I enjoyed a book so much. I was initially attracted by the cover design; once I saw what the book was about, my interest increased somewhat, but was still on the mild side. Once I got a chapter or so in, I was totally hooked: Gavin Pretor-Pinney's passion for his subject is contagious, and he has written what could have been a dry scientific tome with humor and a fine eye for the right stories to tell. However, don't let all this distract from the factual information at h ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Ints rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ieteiktu izlasīt visiem cilvēkiem, kuriem patīk raudzīties mākoņos. Mākoņi nemaz nav tik vienkārši pūkaini radījumi, kādi tie izskatās no apakšas. Viņi ir daudzveidīgi un katrs no viņiem var zinātājam pastāstīt kaut ko par to, kas notiek virs mūsu galvām. Lai ar viņi ir saklasificēti smuki pa plauktiņiem, mākoņu vērotājam iesācējam pietiek tikai paskatīties dabesīs un saprast, ka viss ir daudz sarežģītāk. Debesīs praktiski nekad nav tikai viena tipa mākoņi un reizēm pat ir grūti atšķirt Cumuloni ...more
Frazzock Noir
Jun 05, 2012 Frazzock Noir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There aren't many books that cause you to behave differently after reading them. For me clouds were always a disappointing sight; they stood as a closing statement to an ecstatic run of beautiful Summer days, or a disappointing ceiling hindering my morning optimism. As soon as I saw them I chose to ostracize and disregard them until they had slipped away silently overnight, but just as ignorance causes us to be suspicious of those we know nothing about, my ignorance of the many forms of water go ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Fatima rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book ranks high amongst those that have influenced my life. I am now constantly looking at clouds, trying to figure out what they are, how they were formed, where they are going, what weather they will cause.
Beautifully written, Pretor-Pinney makes poetry out of clouds; he waxes eloquently on a subject he is clearly intensely passionate about. To make that passion so infectious is a gift.

I am a geographer, also passionate about much of earth science, and have read many books on a range of
Book Soup
Good stuff, but tricky to put down and pick up. If I had a solid chunk of time to luxuriate in this, I am sure it would be 4 stars. Great information interspersed with engaging stories connected to clouds. I am still plowing along with great satisfaction.

Molly Christensen
May 21, 2010 Molly Christensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is how I wish ALL science books were written. Incredibly fascinating info with all the history and culture and the difficult science principles were explained very clearly. I only gave it 4 stars simply because it took me a really long time to read (had to think a lot more than usual!)
Sam Barry
Oct 15, 2010 Sam Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books you didn't think you wanted to or needed to read, but once you have, you're glad you did.
Kemal  Toprakçı
Bulutlarla aram bugüne kadar hiç iyi olmadı. Bunda bir amatör bir astronom olmamın da etkisi büyüktü tabii. Bulutlar, bazen hevesle dürbün veya teleskobunuzu alıp gözleme çıkmışken birden bütün gözlemi berbat edebilirler. Öyle ki, amatör astronomlar birbirlerine "bulutsuz gökler" dilerler. Ancak bu kitap ile bulutlara ne kadar haksızlık ettiğimi görmüş oldum. Kitap, benim gibi içinde bulutlara adeta kin besleyen birine bile bulutları sevdirebildiyse, bu alana meraklı kişilere yaşatacağı heyecanı ...more
Feb 27, 2009 Siri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey, I finally finished this book! It's been my bathroom read for, year?

So *mild spoiler* on p. 261 of this paperback, there is a picture of a bunch of scientists from General Electric labs (circa 1946) peering over a cloud seeding chamber. One of them, the book casually mentions, is named Bernard Vonnegut. If you're like me, part of you continues reading, and the other part of your brain goes, "*Bernard* Vonnegut?! And he looks like Kurt Vonnegut! I wonder if they're related!" Well,
Juliet Wilson
Nov 14, 2012 Juliet Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
This book takes each cloud type in turn and gives the details of what it typically looks like, where and when it can found and what type of precipitation (snow, heavy rain, hail, drizzle etc) it gives rise to. It also outlines some tips on weather forecasting by describing how one type of cloud can become another.

Alongside all the science the author makes it clear that clouds are to be appreciated for their beauty (apart perhaps from stratus, the low, dull, misty cloud that even the most ardent
Jul 23, 2007 dirt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who can look up
"Clouds are nature's poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them," remarks Gavin Pretor-Pinney in the Cloudspotter's Guide. Pretor-Pinney is founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society and cofounder of Idler magazine. What better way to idle time away than looking up at the sky?

This book delves in everything cloud related. The author explores how clouds have been viewed differently throughout history and across cultures as well as the science
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful little book that is written in such an enthusiastic fashion that anybody could enjoy Gavin Pretor-Pinney’s prose; not just members of the Cloud Appreciation Society. The science portions of the book are centred on humorous anecdotes tenuously linked to the subject matter so that any layman will not get buried in a landslide of facts, figures and equations. Some of the portions of this book are seriously laugh out loud funny. The format of the book makes it an ideal candidate ...more
Drew Pyke
Feb 20, 2016 Drew Pyke rated it liked it
This was an intense book, looking at each of the 10 clouds as separate chapters and in great detail but interspersing it with anecdotes about clouds in general and a few chapters in the end for more miscellaneous aspects (and a trip he made to Australia to see the "Morning Glory" cloud.
Sometimes I got lost whilst others I was galvanised (especially when it came to the basics of cloud formation with land thermals reaching cool regions of the troposphere to form denser water droplets).
I reckon you
Amanda Freeman
Apr 04, 2013 Amanda Freeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: info-gathering
Imagine you are me, just for a moment, rambling around Half Price Books looking for some new and exciting book to read. At the time I was in the mood for something science related, low and behold I find The Cloudspotter's Guide! This book is a work of sarcastic genius, it takes a subject that a lot of people probably don't care about and makes it really interesting. I love Meteorology, but do on many occasions get frustrated by dry, scientific, texts. This book combines the author's love of clou ...more
Mar 27, 2008 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction08
I took my time over this book because I wanted to savour it. I wanted to read it on afternoons where there were clouds in the sky, easier enough in England, but hard on some days to find some sky to go with those clouds.

This book was given to me by a dear friend with scientific fascination. I can’t say now that I have finished the book that I can accurately identify all the different clouds. And I couldn’t tell you precisely how each is formed. But I have gained a great appreciation for their va
Ketil Moland
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 facts" related to the weather. Gavin Pretor-Pinney writes humorous and metaphorical, making it much easier for the reader to remember all the details. As a paragliding pilot I found the chapters on cumulus, cumulonimbus and altocumulus clouds particularly interesting - not to mention the rare phenomenon "The Morning Glory", w ...more
Mar 26, 2009 christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, the lack of color plates is distressing. However Gavin Pretor- Pinney's writing on clouds is so engaging and obviously heartfelt that I am changing my rating to five stars.

I am composing a letter to Mr. Pretor- Pinney's in my mind about the low lying stratus cloud that are a true cloud lovers nemesis. The anti-cloud watching cloud indeed!
Dec 14, 2016 me.lita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bahagiaaaa bisa berjodoh sama buku ini... sukak pake banget... karena buku ini membahas tuntas segala hal tentang awan..
Apr 20, 2016 Reija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2016, weather
I have falling in love with clouds, so much that even we had clear blue sky I secretly wished some cloulds.
Singleton Mosby
A wonderfull introduction into the world of cloud-spotting.
May 18, 2016 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very informative and fun too
Michael J Winegar
This book changed my life. I've always been a lover of the skies but being able to name a cumulus humilis or a cirrus vertebratus when I see it has added a new dimension of joy to my life.
Jul 08, 2015 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perfect book to read outside under the clouds.
Mar 11, 2017 Swuun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a most excellent book, and I wish I could either carry it with me always or simply absorb all the knowledge in it because it's fascinating stuff. Clouds! They're pretty and they're interesting and science knows a lot about them - but not everything. And I have always been a cloudspotter, but this book made me love them even more. Couldn't recommend this more to anyone interested in the skies above.
Melanie Windridge
Loved this humorous yet informative introduction to the clouds. I now notice the clouds whenever I go out for a walk or look out the window, and I find myself considering what they are (is that altocumulus? or stratocumulus? or whatever!) It also gave me an insight into our weather processes. And around all that are amusing stories or details of clouds in history or art or literature, so it is a good, well-rounded book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jan 03, 2015 Rossdavidh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: green
So, this is a book about clouds. Really. With a chapter each on Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, Stratus, Stratocumulus, Altocumulus...there's a lot of latin, actually. And a lot of dry humor. And not a few puns. This has got to be the all-time geekiest book I have ever read.

Ok, so some of it is not quite as geeky. For example, the story of Lt.-Col. William Rankin, the only human to fall all 47,000 feet through a full-on, cumulonimbus thunderstorm full of rain, hail, and lightning, and survive. The part w
Tso William
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, is urging us to look at sky and watch the beautiful clouds. He underestimates our difficulty of doing so. Skyscrapers are blocking our views. Weather forecasting is so successful that few people are looking at the sky to predict the weather, abandoning the valuable astronomical skills of our ancestors. In a ironical twist, people in some parts of the world are submerged in clouds of their own makings. People in Beijing or Mumbai ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, definitely full of fun information about the sky and clouds, and surprisingly laugh out loud funny! Plus it is a book that applies to everyday life, right? You read a chapter and then head out into the world and the sky and if you look up, there is a chance that what you just read about will be above you. I have to admit I would have to study a bit more to really be able to name all the clouds. But cloud watching is contagious! My favorite conversion story is sitting in a Lond ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #48 - The Cloudspotter's Guide 1 2 Sep 24, 2015 11:07AM  
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Gavin Pretor-Pinney is cofounder of The Idler magazine in England, and founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society. (
More about Gavin Pretor-Pinney...

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“We pledge to fight 'blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.” 24 likes
“The humble Cumulus humilis - never hurt a soul.” 20 likes
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