When we were standing in line at the bookstore, my wife’s expression made it plain she thought this book was a bizarre choice. As in, why would I read that? Well, the answer is simple. There’s a ton of stuff out there that I know nothing about. Are writers always supposed to preach to the converted? Am I to read only sequels and the works of writers I’m already familiar with?
If you’ve read any of my recent reviews you might get the impression that I hate everything. It ain’t so. I just hate literate idiots (probably far more than I hate your run-of-the-mill idiots). I like good books, I don’t mind taking chances but like any Scot of any century, I hate wasting money. I hate wasting time even more.
As I plunged into the first chapter of Rust, I was immediately rewarded by the solid writing and unique subject matter. The author spent a serious chunk of time researching each chapter. Sometimes, too much time. But I’d far rather have more information than I need than not enough – or any hint that the author doesn’t know his topic well enough to write about it. And Mr. Waldman is certainly thorough.
The single word endorsements on the cover are pure hyperbole though. “Engrossing, brilliant, masterful.” Ugh. No, it is none of those things. My attention flagged only occasionally. And I learned a crap-load about corrosion. And the Statue of Liberty and stainless steel and the Alaska Pipeline. I’d read it again in my dotage, just for the hell of it. Which is a rare thing for me to say about a book.
So, my wifely wife, I was not wrong. Unlike countless other visits to the bookstore, I picked a good one this time.