- Grossmith, George & Weedon — The Diary of a Nobody (166 pages)
- McCarthy, Cormac — Blood Meridian (334 pages)
- Moore, Alan & Dave Gibbons — Watchmen (399 pages)
- Moore, Christopher — Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (507 pages)
- Murger, Henri — The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (381 pages)
- Walk with Me: A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2009 (98 pages)
- Douglas, Lloyd C. — The Robe (438 pages)
- Robinson, Marilynne — Gilead (281 pages)
- Jerome, Jerome K. — Three Men in a Boat (182 pages)
- Satrapi, Marjane — Persepolis (343 pages)
- Dodge, Jim — Fup (121 pages)
- Bauby, Jean-Dominique — The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (114 pages)
- Fleming, Ian — Casino Royale (219 pages)
Page count: 3583.
Last year when Quantum of Solace came out, I decided I wanted both to watch all the Bond movies (I've probably watched most but not all, and I certainly don't remember much about any before the mid-80s) and read all the Fleming novels on which they were based. And best to start with the novels, I thought. So, I bought the box-set of the new editions (the ones with the really cool retro covers by Richie Fahey) at a bargain price, and only now, months later, have I gotten around to starting this project.
Casino Royale was better than I expected. I'm not (as you can tell from my reading lists over the past few years) an afficionado of the spy thriller genre, so I wasn't sure what exactly to expect. The novel was unsurprisingly plot-heavy and reeking of machismo. But Fleming proved adept at making Bond more than a stereotype, giving him depth and character, making him a real human being. This, moreso than the high-stakes card game, the car chase, the torture, the intrigue, or the romance, is what I enjoyed so much about Casino Royale.
This is where I make the inevitable movie comparison. I had no need to watch Casino Royale again, since I watched it just before watching Quantum of Solace last year. Reading Fleming's novel, I had to get used to a different James Bond than what has been portrayed iconically since Connery. If anything, though, I've come away from the novel impressed with how Daniel Craig got it spot on; his is the most authentic Bond. The Casino Royale movie stayed faithful to the Fleming's novel while changing a few details in the interests of updating the story. It was a great way to "reset" the Bond franchise, and I like the movie even more now having read the novel.
I look forward to the other books in the collection and then, when I'm done with the books, watching the movies in chronological order.