ontheedgeThe past week or so I’ve taken a break from listening to YA audio books and reading children’s books to try something different. I listened to the audio books for On the Edge and As You Do by Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. He reads both of the books (and his wife reads part of one), and they were quick and fantastic listens.

Since the 2009 F1 season is underway, and F1 and Top Gear are two of my favorite things, it seemed like a good time to get to these books. On the Edge is the story of the devastating crash “The Hamster” was in back in 2006. The crash, in a jet car going more than 280 mph, nearly killed him and caused serious brain damage. This was huge news in the UK at the time, and the book chronicles the events before and after the crash from Richard Hammond’s point of view and that of his wife, Mindy. It’s a terrifying and very honest look at what happens to a person who has suffered a serious brain injury.

asyoudoThe much more cheerful As You Do highlights some of Hammond’s adventures on Top Gear and beyond.┬áThe sled-dog vs. truck race through the Arctic and the race across Botswana in the now-infamous Oliver are great fun.

Both books talk about how he got to be on the show, his background, his family life, the hijinks of his fellow presenters, etc. For a fan of the show both books are a treat, just to see some behind-the-scenes stuff. I’d like to read some of Jeremy Clarkson and James May’s stuff, too, but The Hamster is my favorite presenter. Each audio book is about 3 hours long, which is just enough to make them satisfying.