Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

by Tammy

It's taken me a long time to read Steve Matchett's The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit-Lanes of Formula One. Not because it's a bad book—not at all. I've found the insight into the technology and work required absolutely fascinating.

Partly I stalled on the book for some weeks because, well, I'm a fiction reader first and foremost. So I was reading this one in the odd moments when I didn't need to dive into a story to be distracted from everyday stress. But also, I have to admit: I put the book away for a while because I find the cover image deeply disturbing (even though I presume there was no harm done to the man in the center of it). In the end, I simply never turned the book cover-up....

Strange, however, that I can watch videos of fatal crashes and feel sorry for the driver but not disturbed, and yet that cover gives me the shudders. I guess fire freaks me out the most.

Cover aside, though, I definitely recommend the book for a really interesting look at Formula One in the early- to mid-1990s, and for the first years of Michael Schumacher in the series. Matchett does like a good digression—as anyone who hears him on F1 coverage will already be aware—but he's a good narrator of his experiences, and the anecdotes of problems, frustrations, and successes are interesting.

Plus, for someone like me who doesn't have the long history of following F1, the book offers up an excellent slice of history.

Has anyone else read this or his first book Life in the Fast Lane? Any other good books on the history of F1 that you'd recommend?

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