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My Italian Bulldozer

(Paul Stuart #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  6,002 ratings  ·  1,125 reviews

When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Abacus
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Diana I'm always watching for new books written by Alexander McCall Smith. I love his stories!
Michela Hi l'm Italian and l love Alexander McCall Smith. However, l wouldn't say that he has a good understanding of Italian culture. This book is packed…moreHi l'm Italian and l love Alexander McCall Smith. However, l wouldn't say that he has a good understanding of Italian culture. This book is packed with stereotypes and, as an Italian, l could immediately realise that the book was written by somebody that has only a smattering of Italian culture and society, even if he has been quite good in identifying some of our defects and peculiarities. I enjoyed much more McCall Smith's Edinburgh and Botswana novels so l couldn't give more than two stars to this Italian adventure. (less)

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3.56  · 
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 ·  6,002 ratings  ·  1,125 reviews

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Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I think I can safely describe Alexander McCall Smith's books as reliable "palate cleansers". This is the second book of his I read recently, and it did the trick. This one is a standalone and not part of one of McCall Smith's many series. Paul is a Scottish writer of food and wine. He heads off to Tuscany to finish off his latest book, while trying to get over a recent break up. My Italian Bulldozer is not action packed, but McCall Smith reliably delivers interesting characters, humour and a hum ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
I usually five star this author's books without hesitation but this one slightly missed its mark for me. I guess I am not as interested in Italy as I am in Botswana or Scotland. Or maybe Paul was not quite as good a character as Precious, Isabel or Bertie.
Whatever the reason I did not love this book to bits. Nevertheless I still enjoyed it very much indeed aided by a great narrator who was able to work his way around Scottish, Italian and even Boston accents with aplomb.
As usual Alexander McCa
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it

Paul, a Scotsman who writes popular books about food and wine, is down in the dumps. His long-time girlfriend Becky has left him for her personal trainer, and Paul is brooding about the betrayal - and falling behind on his new manuscript.

To get Paul back on track his editor, Gloria, convinces Paul to go to Italy to finish his book. Gloria makes all the arrangements and Paul is soon flying to Pisa, where he'll pick up a rental car and drive to Montalcino - a hill town in Tuscany.

As things turn o
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Italian Bulldozer is the fourth stand-alone novel by popular British author, Alexander McCall Smith. After food writer Paul Stuart’s girlfriend of four years leaves him for her personal trainer, his editor, Gloria suggests he do some on-the-ground research into his next (somewhat overdue) book. Three weeks in Tuscany, in the small hill town of Montalcino should surely help him restart his life. But a mix-up at the airport’s car rental office initially lands him, alarmingly, in some trouble, b ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars, this was ok.
Susan Johnson
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I never would have thought of touring Italy on a bulldozer but that's exactly what Paul, a food author, does when it's the only rental vehicle available. He discovers it's not as bad as it seems. Other vehicles don't bother you, you get a wonderful view and you slow down. It turns out to be a great way to travel. Paul is in Tuscany to finish his book and repair his life after a bad relationship break up. He meets quirky characters that Alexander McCall Smith writes so well, gets involved in a wi ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help but think that this book was basically just a good excuse to spend a couple months in Italy doing "research," and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. #lifegoals
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice book to read while lounging in the sun, in your lawn chair, on the freshly cut grass. It's not earth shattering, but pleasant enough.
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My Italian Bulldozer was predictable, shallow, and uninteresting. It was not compelling in any form. What a bunch of fluff! I felt like a junior high student had written it. The best thing about it: it was short.

I guess I should say "spoiler alert" now for this next part.

The whole trope with the bulldozer was silly and really seemed to serve no purpose. Then the relationship with Gloria, his editor, was, as I said, so predictable. A few miscellaneous characters were thrown in to try and build
Mary Overgaard
Jun 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alexander McCall Smith's "No. 1 Ladies Detective" Series is charming and wonderfully written. Unfortunately, his other books are not. This book is stupid. I tried very hard to read it and got half way and just gave up. I didn't care about any of the characters. There was no charm as there is in "Detective" the writing and plotting is choppy. Like the Wiener Dog series it's a waste of time.

There are too many good books out there. Skip this one. So, he's driving a bulldozer in Italy. That's the si
Moshe Mikanovsky
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: italy
I loved that book. McCall Smith had a way to write things elegantly and simply, which I enjoyed. And the book had me at "Italian". I could imagine the vistas, colors and smells, food and wine, people and culture. Just awesome!
Una Tiers
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I love Alexander McCall Smith, this book was a little hard to get going. Until the bulldozer entered the picture. Considering his Mma Romatswe series, this wasn't too far from the theme.
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. It looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer a bulldozer. With little
Lynette Fullerton
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I got exactly what I wanted from the book, nothing more, nothing less. I knew what was going to happen from the first page, and enjoyed passing the time until the inevitable ending. And that's okay, right? It was just comfortable company for a few hours.
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Paul heads to Tuscany to complete work on a food and wine book. He also finds that he has a number of relationship issues to resolve. This was a pleasant enough book with nice characters and a fabulous setting. A (very) light read with some entertaining moments.
Book Concierge
Book on CD performed by Sir Timothy Ackroyd

After food writer Paul Stuart’s girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer, his editor, Gloria, suggests that he go to Tuscany for an extended stay to research and write his new book about the food and wine of the region. All is arranged, but a snafu at the rental car agency results in his having to take a bulldozer. Things could be worse; though he’s not sure how. Great food, plenty of vino, and your own bulldozer – sounds like a recipe for succes
Hákon Gunnarsson
I think My Italian Bulldozer is an aimiable comedy. It’s not terribly funny, but it’s never boring either.

It revolves around a food writer who goes to Italy to get over his girlfriend leaving him for her personal trainer. Due to a series of unfortunate events he ends up having a bulldozer instead of car to drive around Italy.

Maybe that was the main idea that set this novel in motion, how would it be to drive, as a tourist, around Italy on a bulldozer. This results in comic situations, but neve
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Light and enjoyable, I laughed out loud at Paul’s misfortunes with the car rental company. It reminded me of when I tried to convince an implacable French guard on the TGV to Bordeaux that our train tickets purchased in Australia were not forgeries. I have to admit they did look like Monopoly ‘Go to Jail’ cards. He did relent ... eventually ... perhaps it was our pale faces and bloodshot eyes after a 27 hour flight. Surely no one could fake that? Mon Dieu!
Lorianne Reuser
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Utterly charming! I'm grateful to my bookclub for suggesting this as a summer read - because at least I can go for summer walks and imagine myself in Tuscany.

I imagine if you're not used to McCall Smith you will feel disappointed - the book does not take the expected route and its charm comes from the meandering, the slowing down and basking in the writing - the discussions on art, on food, on love, on landscape.

Definitely a book to own. I look forward to future summer evenings where I will si
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I am madly in love with Alexandra McCall Smith, he painfully slow start almost made me stop reading. That is, until the protagonist had to rent a bulldozer to get around Italy.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
So fun!

Paul Stuart, a Scottish food writer, goes to a small village in Italy to finish one of his books. However, he gets into a little "dust-up" with the car rental agency, and after a short trip to an Italian jail, he ends up with a bulldozer as his transportation! He also meets several interesting people and has a few small adventures along with a little romance.

This is just a short, cute, easy read that makes the reader smile :)
Kate ☀️ Olson
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am so glad I saw this book in Book Page last month! I put it on hold at the library and was so excited when it came in ☀ I seem to be on an Italy kick this month, and it is a delightful trend!

This book takes you to a small village in Italy with a Scottish food writer trying to finish a book. In a quirky turn, he ends up having to use a bulldozer as his transportation and it makes this story so fun! This is a sweet, charming travel tale that is guaranteed to make you smile.....and HUNGRY! High
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Great fun. Someone here called it a palate-cleanser. I can agree with that. Light but witty. I constabtly disturbed my husband (reading serious nonfiction) to read him excerpts. I’ll definitely read the next in the series when it’s available.
Breakaway Reviewers
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I also want to drive a bulldozer through Italy!

Paul Stuart has started to make a name for himself as an author of books on the foods and wines of various regions. He’s just started his latest book on the Tuscany region, when his live-in girlfriend of four years, Becky, runs off with her personal trainer. This leaves him heartbroken and his editor, Gloria, suggests that instead of moping around Scotland hoping to find the inspiration to complete the book, he should take himself off to Tuscany to
Jennifer Cusumano
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Predictable, uncomplicated, but fun, quick read. Not terribly original story about yet another famous writer, this one a food and wine writer, who goes to Tuscany to explore and work on a book (yeah, sure he finishes a whole book in 3 weeks while sitting in a cafe, meeting locals and riding around on a tractor) after his girlfriend leaves him. His editor sends him to Italy to urge some work out of him while maybe mending his broken heart. Ok... sure...all that's going to happen in 3 weeks...
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
For my Alexander McCall Smith friends this will be a delight. It was a lovely intermission between books that didn't require any deep thinking and had me either smiling or giggling. Actually in the scheme of things it was quite silly. However, I needed a little bit of silliness in my life. Actually we all do. Sweet book, quick read, make me smile, and had no hidden meanings.
Ron Johnson
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am not quite sure how McCall Smith pulls it off, but every time I finish one of his books I feel better about myself, the people around me, and life in general. Another uplifting, lovely story by a man who recognizes the way grace can be expressed in the simplest of actions between people. Utterly wonderful!
Camelia Rose
Gentle, intelligent and humorous, Alexander McCall Smith is my go-to writer when I feel low. My Italian Bulldozer is a standalone novel. It is much more that a "rom-com". Subtle observations of life, variety of interesting characters, amusing conversations and intellectual sparkles, presented in the sunny Tuscany, served with the best Italian wine and food - I simple can not resist.

It makes me want to visit Tuscany, especially Montalcino, again.

Some of the quotes I have enjoyed:

"For some reason
Jeanette Grant-Thomson
Very light reading and only just three stars in my opinion. A pleasant read about Paul, who goes to travel and do his food-writing in Italy and, due to a mix-up, has only a bulldozer to drive. Girlfriends past, future and might-have-been come and go, disturbing his peace and confusing his emotions. There are a few other 'loose ends' that are never resolved - or if they are, I missed them. I find this annoying. McCall Smith's style in this book indulges long flights of philosophising and descript ...more
Brenda Mengeling
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This story almost reads like someone double-dog dared Alexander McCall Smith to write a novel where a car rental turned into a bulldozer rental. There isn't a lot of story here, but what story there is is charming. The characters were a little flatter than I expect from a McCall Smith story, but Paul, the protagonist, who starts the story in a funk due to a relationship break-up, follows his better instincts and heals himself by taking an empathetic interest in the people he meets. A gentle and ...more
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Play Book Tag: My Italian Bulldozer / Alexander McCall Smith - 3*** 3 15 Aug 20, 2018 05:29AM  

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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more

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Paul Stuart (2 books)
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“Not all taxi drivers, Paul had discovered, actually wanted to take passengers to their destination; some of them, he felt, were in it for the arguments, or the opportunity to pontificate, or for the sheer pleasure of driving past those trying to summon them at the road edge. He made up his mind. What was the point of having a bulldozer if you were not going to make at least some use of it?” 2 likes
“She was, he reflected, one of his closest friends, in a rather curious, slightly old-fashioned way.” 1 likes
More quotes…