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Book 13

  1. Grossmith, George & Weedon — The Diary of a Nobody (166 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — Blood Meridian (334 pages)
  3. Moore, Alan & Dave Gibbons — Watchmen (399 pages)
  4. Moore, Christopher — Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (507 pages)
  5. Murger, Henri — The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (381 pages)
  6. Walk with Me: A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2009 (98 pages)
  7. Douglas, Lloyd C. — The Robe (438 pages)
  8. Robinson, Marilynne — Gilead (281 pages)
  9. Jerome, Jerome K. — Three Men in a Boat (182 pages)
  10. Satrapi, Marjane — Persepolis (343 pages)
  11. Dodge, Jim — Fup (121 pages)
  12. Bauby, Jean-Dominique — The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (114 pages)
  13. 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.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 24th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Casino Royale
There are two Casino Royale movies, the recent Craig one and an old Woody Allen spoof. I think it was Woody Allen; I know it was somebody I can't stand. I actually sat all the way through the spoof, despite hating it, and didn't get drunk after.

I first read the book long before you were born, when Ian Fleming was still alive. Fleming claimed it was somewhat autobiographical because he had been a British spy and in a similar situation he had wanted his real mission to turn out like the fiction did, instead of him going broke at the tables.
May. 24th, 2009 08:19 am (UTC)
Re: Casino Royale
The original spoof starred David Niven and I, too, have watched it, though I remember practically none of it.
May. 31st, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
I've been reading (and in some cases re-reading) all the Fleming Bonds over the past year or so, and enjoying them immensely. Reading Bond novels for anything other than their plots, settings, or pre-feminist exotic savor is somewhat missing the point, in my opinion (this observation isn't so much directed at you as at some other folks I know, who criticize the books on what are to me irrelevant grounds).

I'll be interested to read what you think of Live and Let Die, which is uncomfortably racist in that I'm-not-really-a-racist mid-'50s way. That said, it's again a hell of an adventure plot.

(And yeah, those Fahey covers are awesome. I own a bunch of them myself.)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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