The Cloud Appreciation Society

I'm happy to announce that I am, as of a couple of days ago, a proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. More specifically I'm member no. 7719. I've had a thing for clouds for quite a while and once I leaned about the society I applied for membership right away. Those of you who've read my blog before will not be surprised by this as I have occasionally written about clouds and had some pictures here.

Even if you're not a big cloud fan I can still recommend the web site. The founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, is a guy with a lot of humor and he's a very good writer. Furthermore there are a lot of awesome pictures.

How did found out about this club? Sometimes coincidences work together it seems. Not so long ago my wife and I had our honeymoon which we spent in Dublin. As we both have a soft spot for books we went to a couple of book stores. One of the book stores had a popular science shelf which I browsed and found a book that seemed interesting. It was called the The Cloudspotter's Guide by a certain Gavin Pretor-Pinney. I didn't start reading it right away but I noticed that there was a URL in the book to the Cloud Appreciation Society and so I made sure to visit the website. And I was hooked.

As for the book, I've just started reading it. And I must say that it's absolutely delightful. As I wrote above, Mr. Pretor-Pinney is a very skilled writer and with a lot of humor and passion he writes about clouds and his love for them. He describes each kind of cloud in turn, but the book is so much more than a dry catalog of cloud varieties. He mixes the description with colorful stories from other books, actual event relating to clouds and various odd trivia. One example is that he retells the account of the only person who has fallen through a Cumulonimbus (you know, the one with a lot of rain, thunder and lightning) and survived to tell the story. A truly fascinating account.

I have a bunch of other books about clouds but none of them can compare in any way with The Cloudspotter's Guide. The Book of Clouds has a lot of nice pictures but that's essentially it. It's very thin on details and doesn't have the same passion about it. The Invention of Clouds on the other hand is very heavy on details, to the point where I almost lost my interest. And that's a bit worrying given that I'm such a cloud fan. The Cloudspotter's Guide really comes out on top of both these books. The only thing that it isn't so strong on is beautiful pictures. It's not that it doesn't have them, it's that they're not so many. But on the other hand, I don't really need pictures of clouds in a book. The whole point is that I can go outside whenever I want and take a look at the real thing. So the lack of pictures isn't really a problem.

So, finally I would like to do my job as a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society and urge you, my reader, to Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!

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