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March 20, 2011

"The Cloud Collector's Handbook"


From yesterday's Wall Street Journal review of Gavin Pretor-Pinney's new field guide, "The Cloud Collector's Handbook": "Gavin Pretor-Pinney is... a man who loves the open air and collects impalpable things that will never clutter shelves, gather dust or annoy spouses."

"Mr. Pretor-Pinney is the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, 'a global organization that fights 'blue-sky thinking,' which I had not realized could be considered bad. Clouds should not be maligned, he argues, simply because they can be gray and bring bad weather. His 'Cloud Collector's Handbook' is a portable adjunct to his society's website, addressed to anyone who spends time gazing at the sky, more or less idly, wondering about the names or nature of its vaporous denizens."

"In its sleek, small format, 'The Cloud Collector's Handbook' is meant to be a practical guide that can be tucked away in a pocket, ready for those moments when you spot a juicy cloud but don't know what to call it. The model is clearly bird-watching, whose enthusiasts have all sorts of field guides for their wanderings. Each entry in the cloud handbook includes color photographs of a particular type of cloud (all taken by members of the Cloud Appreciation Society) and a space for sky-watchers to inscribe the proud moment and place where they spotted . . . well, what was that, exactly?"

At the top, "the extremely rare Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud."


Note added March 30, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.: Cornelia Dean, in a March 29, 2011 New York Times Science section review, described the book as a "serious yet charming field guide to clouds."

Serious and charming are two words rarely used to describe the same thing.

March 20, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Just ordered a copy from Amazon.

Posted by: Paul Biba | Mar 20, 2011 5:38:41 PM

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