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How To Read Water Paperback – January 1, 2017
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Which makes me feel short changed when the title starts with exactly that. Maybe the author is hoping the book will sell his "hands-on" classes. But in my opinion, if you short change me on information in the book, I have no reason to conclude that you won't do the same in the hands-on classes.
I didn't expect to know everything from one book, but I do feel there should be much more how-to in here than there is if it's supposed to be a how-to book. I didn't buy it to primarily read excerpts on other people or the author having used the concepts successfully.
Having lived around water and being a sailor most of my life, the information codified things I'd already known, and informed me on so many things that I didn't. If you live in a state w lakes and streams, or you fish, hunt, sail, boat or swim...you're in for quite a treat. Easy to read and so jam packed w information and terms, that I found myself outlining it as I went for later quick reference, and ease of final memorization. Armed w some of the terms I learned, I wowed my fellow 'Wickies' with knowledge they marginally knew, but hadn't heard quite so succinctly, and that's saying something with this group.
Having said the above, I'm not sure at all what the negative reviewers expected, but, for 10.00 (including shipping), I have a handy sized volume I'll keep and reference forever. Short of a college textbook, I'm not sure you're going to find any compendium of observational knowledge about water 'in the field', as pleasant a read as this was. The medium size and weight of the hardcover makes it portable and ideal for a backpack or suitcase.
As an aside, I was fortunate to read this book on a working tour, and had the good fortune to see first hand a lot of the information this book had to offer. From my perspective I was pleasantly surprised, and glad I had held this book in reserve for just that event. I could verify and identify easily most of the information that Mr. Gooley meant to convey.
I can see this author has other volumes, and I intend to purchase them myself as I can. A 'novel' idea for the outdoors'person' in your life as a gift.
☆12/17 Update/Edit: I put my money where my mouth is, and of this writing have purchased two other copies of this volume, (as Christmas gifts), and one copy each of the others. I had a hard time wrapping them without flipping through them. I'll eventually need those as well. Heh heh.
This book opened doors of information I never even knew existed in relation to using water to inform yourself of your surroundings. (From puddles to the sea).
Easy to read, interesting terminology and content.
Absolutely no regrets here. This is a great book and a great value.
The style is breezy and friendly but with a little too much repetition. By about chapter three everyone will know that you will never see much less derive practical value from any of the highlighted clues and patterns unless you take to time to look for them and then more time to enjoy them and then remember the paragraph he wrote telling you why this or that phenomena is important. Never does it occur to Gooley that he is repeating himself on this point.
He also has a tendency to flirt with the precious. We are to enthuse about everything he is enthusiastic about even if it seems a tad trite or esoteric. I know for example there are several types of puddles, there are several types of everything, but I remain unclear as to when some of them collect water on the south side of a road and when on the north. Given how specific he can be about things like directions and compass points he can be a little casual about possible changes as one travels across the equator.
All of this is to be a tad too critical. Armed with a nice cuppa tea or perhaps a aged postprandial port a reader safely ensconced in an overstuffed leather chair with feet nicely propped can get a fast tour through a world where one can navigate across the Atlantic using nothing more than ancient Norse sailing instructions. A reader need not brave sea sickness or a salt drenching of their expensive North Face Outdoor togs and still get a glimpse into understanding how the Polynesian peoples found, populated and lived among widely spaced islands without any of the minimal technology that now dominates a westerner brave enough to navigate farther than the nearest grocery store.
Tristan Gooley knows how to tell a good sea story and add in some arcane and unlikely facts without coming off as too much of a geek. How to Read Water is not a very good how to book , but it is a lot of information from a friendly writer talking to people who may never have an outdoorsmanly use for a tidy little book with an eye catching title and lots of fun facts.
As other reviewers have mentioned: It often feels like the author is trying to sell himself, or, the historic application of certain concepts rather than teach the concepts. There is a lot of redundancy and preface to each concept; it feels like the book could be 1/3rd the length.
If you want to learn to read water, spend a few dollars on a used copy of a William Nealy book, and you'll likely learn far more, far faster, and have a lot more fun.
Top international reviews
The prose is a slightly old-fashioned English style and while reading I pictured an author who was well into his eighth decade (I am rapidly approaching my sixth). However, here and there I spotted references which made me think that the author could even be younger than me, as indeed it turns out that he is.
This is not intended as a critical remark; as you near the end of the book you start to feel that you have been imbued with the accumulated human wisdom of the last five millennia, it’s difficult to reconcile this with the (relative) youth of the author.
The global reach of the book is also remarkable. I very much appreciated the way he weaves Polynesian and other knowledge into the story, without ever seeming patronizing - bien au contraire. I also very much appreciated the references to medieval Arabic sea-faring texts.
Half-way through the book I was inspired to stroll down to my local meandering river, to which previously I have never paid much or to be frank -any attention, and look at it and its surroundings with new eyes, seeing things which are hidden in the open - in plain view, things I had never seen before.
I hope that the for a future project the author would be able to find the time to explore and write about the Baltic Sea and its inland waters.