Book review: How To Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns From Puddles To The Sea

WHERE many writers involved in the current nature writing renaissance excel at poetic reverie, this accessible guide takes a more practical approach.

Tristan Gooley

Sceptre, £20;

ebook £13.99)

Starting with puddles and glasses of water, Gooley draws readers’ attention to the basics of how water behaves, before building on those lessons as applied to ponds, rivers, and the sea.

Nor are lessons limited to the strictly natural; he’s happy to introduce man-made sources of information which can help, whether the varying rates at which different sides of a street will dry after rainfall, or the significance of lighthouses’ colours and patterns of illumination.

Few readers will use this body of knowledge to such adventurous effect as the author, who in the epilogue explains how it enabled him to navigate a small sailing boat to Iceland.

But it’s still cheering to feel that little bit less ignorant of the complex yet comprehensible world in which we move.


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