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Notes from the Hard Shoulder
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Notes from the Hard Shoulder

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  369 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Top Gear presenter and columnist for the "Daily Telegraph" James May brings together another brilliant collection of his most controversial and humorous writing. From tales of motoring adventures through India, Russia and Iceland, to classic articles on essential subjects such as driving songs and haunted car parks, these gems from the number one car connoisseur will take ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published May 10th 2007 by Virgin Books (first published 2007)
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May 13, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it
I may be biased as I have a strange, huge crush on James May, but I thought this was fantastic! Wry, witty, well-written, wonderful. And you certainly don't need to be a car person to enjoy this!
Jul 05, 2007 Richard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of TV's 'Top Gear'
Shelves: tv-filmtiein, comedy
James May is one of the presenters of 'Top Gear', a car based magazine programme on British TV. He is often seen as the 'fall guy' who is there to be the butt of the joke, coming last in the various 'races' that the team run. He even has the nickname 'Captain Slow'.

This book is a collection of his writings in various newspapers and magazines. He is clearly the most eloquent of the team, able to tell an amusing tale as well as to argue a detailed case.

Like many of the books I've been reading rece
3.5 stars. This is another collection of essays from one of the presenters on Top Gear. James May writes with one of the driest wits I have ever come across. He has a real knack for finding absurdities in all sorts of situations and making them amusing.

I'd love to read something by either May or Jeremy Clarkson that wasn't simply a collection of essays. It took me some time to get through this, mainly because there wasn't any unifying theme as there was with Richard Hammond's books. Still, it w
Jul 01, 2014 Margaret rated it really liked it
The books is a collection of James May's magazine columns.

One thing is obvious, he is out to claim Jeremy Clarkson's title of BBC's Curmudgeon-in-Residence. But he does it with much more flair and intelligence.

He makes comments and jokes that, unless you are VERY well read with good general knowledge, the average reader is just not going to get them.

A must read for Top Gear fans, car enthusiasts, and fans of middle-aged English curmudgeons.
Jan 24, 2010 Sephie rated it it was ok
Shelves: auto_biog
Lacking the acerbic wit of the more erudite Clarkson, and resembling an overgrown schoolboy (or hip Geography teacher/social worker) on the front cover, this selection of automotive anecdotes is mildly amusing. There are indeed a few very funny bits, but overall, I was pleased to have arrived at the end, thankfully aided by the larger than usual font size.
Sep 23, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, factual, kindle
This book brings together a good collection of articles written by James May and previously published in various magazines. If you like Clarkson's books which contain similar articles or if you're a fan of Top Gear then you'll find something in here to like. Easy to pick up and read one or two articles if you only have a short while.
Jan 12, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it
Shelves: top-gear
This has an incredibly wide range of subjects, all broadly related to cars naturally but some chapters were too technical for me while others were more fun. Also May has quite a dry sense of humour that is better heard than read.
Aug 17, 2011 Kristina rated it liked it
Entertaining, low-pressure read. I enjoy James' grumpy but articulate rants, and even if I don't always agree with him, I can usually at least see his point. It's nice to pick this up and just read a couple articles for a laugh.
Ross Kung
Jul 26, 2014 Ross Kung rated it liked it
I love the start of the book. James May had some very interesting stories at the start 100 pages or so. But after reading half way through the book, it became boring and dry. I give this a 2.5 out of 5.
Sep 15, 2012 Sumit rated it it was ok
Had higher expectations from him. And although it is unfair to compare him with Clarkson, but have to mention it as I was disappointed to find that somehow Clarkson manages to make much better intellectual remarks and deeper thoughts than James, even though I would have expected it to be opposite.
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it really liked it
Occasionally really funny and not as political as Clarkson's books; quite a good read
Gregory Gay
Jun 04, 2012 Gregory Gay rated it really liked it

Another excellent book of essays from the Top Gear co-host. Very funny, and often quite intelligent as well.
Manuel Marques
Dec 09, 2012 Manuel Marques rated it really liked it
A good companion for a 5-hour wait for my flight home... James May can be quite funny, and it is quite interesting to know the guy better, especially if you're a Top Gear fan like me :).
Sep 28, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it
It's James May. One of the greatest men in all the world. What's not to love?
Aug 08, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Interesting, but VERY hard to read at night if you want to understand what he's saying
Kevin de Ataíde
Entertaining, grumpy old man in a Porsche. Alright, it's more than that. But that's how it starts. I like the author's sense of humour. This book is a lot of fun.
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James May is a British television presenter and award-winning journalist.

May is best known as co-presenter of the motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. He also writes a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph's motoring section. On Top Gear, his nickname is "Captain Slow", owing to his 'careful' driving style. He has, however, carried out some exceptionally high-
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“Another man I met recently had employed a builder to screw a wine rack to the wall. Why he wants a wine rack anyway is a bit of a mystery, since he lives only a few doors from a pub that sells proper beer. Even more unfathomable is how he could bear the shame of standing by while another man drilled four holes in some brickwork and inserted some rawlplugs. He can regard himself as little more than a receptacle for keeping sperm at the right temperature until it’s needed.” 2 likes
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