To the Cloud

When I told my wife I had bought a book about clouds, she was thinking of a television commercial, not the sky above us. The book is The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and is an official publication of the Cloud Appreciation Society, a British group.

The book is nicely formatted with each entry getting a two-page spread, usually with one thumbnail photo on the even-numbered page and a larger photo on the facing page. Frequently, that is followed by a full-bleed two-page spread. If that’s not enough, there is not only a standard index but also an image index, which I turn to first.

The content is delivered in a casual tone and Latin words are translated, which makes it easier to see how a particular cloud got its name. The author also has a sense of humor. For example, in writing about pannus clouds, he says: “Loitering in the saturated atmosphere just below rain clouds, they resemble some sort of cloud version of hooligans, killing time outside McDonald’s on a Saturday night.”

The only criticism I have is that the book comes in a hard cover, which makes it difficult to lie flat next to your computer as you sort through your cloud photos (which I’ve been doing for the past two days). A spiral-bound book would have been much easier to use.

Lovely just the same.