I spotted The Wavewatcher’s Companion in my favourite remaindered bookshop and bought it as part of a job lot. It’s by the author of The Cloudspotter’s Guide – Gavin Pretor-Pinney – co-founder of The Idler, a magazine that “defends the noble art of doing nothing”!
I had thought my son, who loves surfing, might read this book after me, adding to the economies of the family by duplicating use, but this turned out to be, probably, a non-starter. Whilst Pretor-Pinney got his inspiration from watching waves at the water’s edge with his daughter, a bucket and a spade, he goes on to account for – it seems – every possible type of wave – sound, light, x-ray, gamma, shock – to name a few – so that at times the book begins to resemble a GCSE or high school physics text book. Yum yum! It’s only in the last chapter, when he describes his visit to Hawaii, that he really focuses on surfing waves.
Since I was useless at physics when at school, and have subsequently developed an interest in the subject – I was quite happy to read this book, and enjoyed it. There are enough jokes, which are mostly bearable, to add interest, and lots of interesting facts. Pretor-Pinney is an entertaining and knowledgeable guide, and if the topic is of interest, you should try this book.