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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Thunderpussy wrote:

ajb007/martini  Nice review, wow only 9.  I didn't get in to the Books untill I was about 12   ajb007/lol

That's not late either, better to start of early!

One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

The first 2 books I read were Thunderball and You Only Live Twice (in Dutch) when I was on holiday in Tunesia when I was 12. I remember liking Thunderball, but You Only Live Twice was a bit too dull for me.

1. OHMSS   2. FRWL   3. OP   4. YOLT   5. TSWLM   6. TLD   7. GE   8. LALD   9. CR   10. LTK   11. DN   12. GF   13. SF   14. FYEO   15. TMWTGG   16. MR   17. TWINE   18. TB   19. AVTAK   20 TND   21. QoS   22 DAF   23. DAD

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

I too remember reading TB as a kid. Great story and I loved the way for the
underwater fight the sub crew had to make their own weapons.  ajb007/smile

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Re-read this just a few months ago in an effort to read them all again chronologically, currently on FYEO but still want to share thoughts. Sorry if you've read my review elsewhere already.

This was my second or third third time reading the book (certainly the first time since I was a young teenager) and I was enthralled for every single spine-tingling page. Fleming may have wanted Bond to be a blunt instrument, but a real human being shows through the grim mask. It is possibly Fleming’s hidden personality, subversive tendencies, subconscious desires, and personal affiliations that come to light in his characterization of James Bond. It says a lot about Fleming when you hear Bond’s thoughts on Vesper: “she was profoundly, excitingly sensual […] the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape.” Despite this, Bond’s sadistic tendencies feel incredibly natural and instinctual, and he is aware and conditioned enough to be occasionally embarrassed by them and his innate misogyny. He is conflicted about being a spy, being a chauvinist, being in danger…being James Bond.

The last chapters of the book, Vesper and Bond’s time relaxing and recovering together, are an allegorical tale of a couple’s breakup, something I couldn’t appreciate when I last read the book. Bond knows this relationship (and romantic relationships in general) are a doomed prospect for him, and several of his internal monologues anticipate and foreshadow these chapters with crushing inevitability. The very natural and genuine peaks and valleys of passion, ennui, love, and despair are remarkably identifiable, as is his conflicted heartbreak. There is a fair amount of self-deception when Bond declares, “The bitch is dead now,” as if he has something prove about his own masculinity…as if he doesn’t actually feel heartbroken. At the end he resolves to reassume his mask, and not retire as planned. He’s too afraid to leave himself that exposed ever again, and so he remains 007. His gruff pomposity and machismo belie a wounded man, something of an infant in his surroundings, afraid to ever let his guard down again.

The rest of the book: the action, the baccarat, the espionage are all as thrilling and captivating as I remembered. Fleming’s pacing and structure are built for swift page-turnery and the chapters are a smooth and dry cocktail-sized length. Speaking of, I tried a Vesper for the first time while reading this book. Unlike Bond, I’ll be more than willing to drink it again.
Grade: A+

The bitch is dead now.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

All reviewers welcome   ajb007/martini  Great review redland. I have read your others ( also good reading )  and hope you'll add your views on LALD in August.
    I wish I had the ability to write as well as some other members, but hopefully in my owm misspelt, hamfisted way I can get my love for the books across.  ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

All love is good love, my man.

Seems I wasn't the only person here who read the books in adolescence or even much earlier, and is now revisiting it in adulthood. How much truth rings out for you and what aspect stands out? The psychology of James Bond and his relationships with women and villains are much more the draw for me than the action or espionage. Fleming is sometimes off the mark in a lot of his outdated conceptions (his sexism and racism), but he deserves more credit for his understanding of humanity. When he's on, he is on.

The bitch is dead now.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Live And Let Die

The story is very good and it sets up Leiter for the novels to come. Mr Big is a very interesting villain that seems like a real threat to Bond. His death is absolutely shocking and very brutal. I wouldn’t like to be maimed by sharks when it is time for me to go.

1. OHMSS   2. FRWL   3. OP   4. YOLT   5. TSWLM   6. TLD   7. GE   8. LALD   9. CR   10. LTK   11. DN   12. GF   13. SF   14. FYEO   15. TMWTGG   16. MR   17. TWINE   18. TB   19. AVTAK   20 TND   21. QoS   22 DAF   23. DAD

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Still reading it at the moment But I did Laugh last night ( I'm at Bond in training in Jamaica ). When
Bond had a nightmare about several sea creatures and One was " A Giant Squid"  ajb007/lol ,
Was this a nightmare of did Bond develop some special powers from Solitaire of seeing the Future.  ajb007/lol

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Just finished Live and Let Die, and have to say I enjoyed it More than Casino Royale. It's more
of an action adventure. Firstly I have to say as it was written in the 50's some of the language used
wouldn't be accepted today, then again America in the 50's still had an "Apartheid" in operation.
     I love how Mr Big is on to Bond as soon as he arrives in the USA. Fleming makes him an interesting
and intelligent villain. His death is equally nasty, As always the cast of henchmen is varied each having
a personality of their own. Quarrel is treated as Bonds equal, willing to work with Bond but not as a servant.
    Bonds swim to Mr Big's boat is very atmospheric, with Fleming cranking up the tension for the Keel hauling
chapter. Once again Bond is Not a "Superman" but has to survive on his skills and wits, counting down minutes
in his head trying to work out a percentage of surviving.
  I did remember the exotic Dancer in Mr Big's club, from my first time reading ( about 12) her act left a big impression
on a young Thunderpussy.  ajb007/biggrin
   A great read and I'd recommend it to any Bond fan.  ajb007/martini

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

It's great reading LALD after CR, which was great but very linear and straightforward. By contrast Live and Let Die is much richer and I enjoyed the passages about the treasure coins and the jazz music. Fleming seems to be taking more time to develop the plot and is enjoying himself more, his writing style is more relaxed. Solitaire is a very appealing Bond girl too. Just a pity about the awful racism.

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

LALD doesen't live up to it's perfect predecessor. Actually it's lacking some pace around the time when Bond and Felix are walking around in Harlem. It was quite unintresting and lacking in the sense of dialouges that CR had.
Another great problem with LALD is that there is a lot's of characters but none of them get's really fleshed out. Neither Solitarie or Mr. Big has prominent roles in the story. They do not come to live to me in the way Le Chiffre or Vesper did in CR.
The book does have some good parts, like the train trip down to Florida, when Bond are sneaking around in the warehouse and Bonds inner thoughts.

I do not have the time to write something more at the moment, but needless to say LALD is not one of my favourites. But it isn't the "worst" (i don't like to use that word in the same sentence as a Bond book).
5/10

One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

What a great thread, props to Thunderpussy! Quite a coincidence as well, as I've recently got the Fleming audio books, and I've finished listening to Casino Royale and am currently listening to Live and Let Die. I am planning to go through all of them and this gives me an even bigger excuse to do so! I have also read some of the novels (In Dutch), but I must say listening to them makes for quite an enjoyable expierence as well!

I only just found out about this thread, and would like to share my two cents on Casino Royale first, even though that was the book from the month of july, I hope you don't mind! 

First of all, quick little word on the audio book, it was readed out by Robert Whitfield, who was a joy to listen to! From Mathis' French accent, Leiters American accent to the SMERSH agent's Russian accent, it was all top notch! Vespers voice understandably sounded a bit weird coming from a male reader, but nothing your inmagination can't fix.

In contrast to my fair amount of knowledge on the movies, I am a bit of a rookie on the novels as I haven't gone through all of them yet. But so far I do feel Casino Royale is one of my favorites and I think it's definitely a great start to the series. One of the things I think is so intresting is to see how Bond thinks and acts, you can definitely tell that this novell was written by a man, and it was also written for men. Examples are the ways Bond feels about women. "Being good for recreation" and "Shouldn't be mixing into a man's job". Another example is near the end, when Bond didn't want to see Vesper yet untill he had recovered more from the torture, because he wanted to see if his 'manhood' still worked the way it should. For some reason I felt you'd had to be a man to understand this psychological struggle. The way Bond looks at women only made his feelings about Vesper seem that much more deeper in my oppinion, he is after all a cold hearted man who doesn't fall in love easily. He completely loses his heart to Vesper to the point he wants to marry her, and in my own interpertation there must have definitely been a lot of pain in his heart when he coldly replied with the "The Bitch is dead" line. All the puzzle pieces fitted together well when it turned out she was working for the opposition all along. Very well written if you ask me.

The whole mission itself was really intresting, no matter how outragious it might sound to send Bond out to a casino to try and bankrubt a dangerious man assossiated with SMERSH, it seemed like a very realistic spy story, and I was hooked throughout the whole thing. The Baccarat game itself was very well, full of tense moments. Same hold for the whole torture bit.

I also thought it was intresting how Bond thought about resigning after the torture, and started to philosophize about 'pure good' and 'pure evil' and how it's unclear to see what true villians are. Mathis seemed to be even wiser and completely made James arguments seem invalid, that all nicely seemed to setup reasons for Bond to go after the people from SMERSH in future adventures.

I'm sure there was a lot more stuff I wanted to mention. But bottom line: a solid and enjoyable read! Haven't got much negative stuff to say about it. I will share my oppinions on Live and Let Die soon as well, as that is the book of this month.

My 007 film reviews:  Recapping 007  (NEW LTK EPISODE!)
YouTube channel  Support my channel on Patreon  Twitter   Facebook fanpage

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

All views are needed, ( and probably more thought out than mine ).  ajb007/biggrin

I was in a similar position Dutchfinger, in that I have a good knowledge of the films but it had been so long
since I'd read the Fleming Books, I'd always said I'd re-read them but never got round to it. So I though this
thread would be a great excuse for me and others to read the Books again and in Order. Whether as a Newbie
to the novels or like me a returning reader from years ago.  ajb007/smile
     Roll on September and Moonraker, One of my Favourites.  ajb007/martini

Although I'll have to work in a quick read of Solo, the new novel as well.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Just a Bump to let everyone know Moonraker is the Book for September.
This is one of my Favourites. Picking up on the publics worries about
nuclear weapons in the 50's.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

It's the last day of august, and I still have yet to share my thoughts on Live and Let Die. I shared most of my thoughts on Casino Royale all in one single long post. I think that worked fine for me, So now I am going to attempt to do that again for the second book. So here we go again!:

The first couple of times I read Live and Let Die, I thought of it as a weaker novell than Casino Royale, though that might have something to do with Casino Royale featuring Bond's first real love, first impression of SMERSH and just having a very powerfull plot. (IMO) This time I have listened to Live and Let Die's audio book, and it picked up a lot better on me! I would still have to admit that I probably preffer Casino Royale over Live and Let Die, but Live and Let Die is a lot more action packed and feels a lot longer. If both these books were adapted into movies (yes they are, but I mean exactly the way they are done in the novells.) then Live and Let Die would have had a much higher budget. (I say that just to make clear there's a lot more different locations and action in this one.)

The reason I thought this book was a weaker addition at first, is probably because of the whole voodoo theme and racist features this book has. Neither in the movie, nor the books am I intrested in voodoo much. It just feels a whole lot less 'cold war/ spy era' like. But since Bond is just as sceptical about the voodoo as I am, and since the book doesn't really get into the super nateral in any way, it does work fine and I rather enjoyed it all this time! The voodoo is actually used in a clever way, as a shield of fear to protect Mr. Big. Most of his followers actually think he's a living corpse; a zombie, and this gives Mr. Big that extremely powerful Bond villian quality! And he's linked to SMERSH, and since we already caught a glimpse of quite how powerful the SMERSH organisation is in the previous book, this all makes Mr. Big a very menacing and intresting villian indeed!

Speaking of Mr. Big, when picturing him in my mind this time, for some reason I didn't picture Yaphet Kotto as Mr. Big like in the movie adaption. For some reason, my brain decided to go with a version that looked more like Barry Shabaka Henley!

http://s10.postimg.org/mjo8y4mj9/Mr_Big.jpg

I liked his twist of being an extreme perfectionist. He wanted to do everything in the most ingenious way possible. Simply because he's 'bored'. I'm not an expert on this yet, but I think this is a typical "Fleming writing' quality. Very clever! You always have the feeling Mr. Big's power stretches to where ever Bond goes, and that Bond is in true danger. It is already shown in the beginning when a Bomb is delivered to his hotel room, when Bond's finger is broken by Teehee, or when his men are spying on him in the train and later assault his room in the train. All the black people in Harlem and all arround the east coast seem to be connected to Mr. Big and they are all able to communicate fast. This man means business!

I also liked that there were a lot of elements in this book that were later adapted into my favorite Bond movie: Licence To Kill. Felix Leiter being fed to the sharks and even losing and arm and a leg! With the note: "He disagreed with something that ate him. and of course Bond snooping arround at the fish warehouse to find the smuggled coins in one of the sharks tanks and it ending in a gunfight. Of course there was also the part where Bond and Solitaire were dragged through a coral reef, that was later seen in For Your Eyes Only. All very enjoyable!

The characters were very all very well written, Solitaire was very intresting and mysterious. And there was some really nice bonding with Felix Leiter and also a bit with Quarrel! The whole scuba diving part was very intresting with a thrilling fight with the octopuss! It's cool to be able to see what Bond is thinking about through these parts. That exactly what I like so much about the novels in the first place, we are able to expierence all of Bond thoughts, you get to see how smart, cunning and sometimes scared he is. In the movies a lot of this is left to our imagination.

The book had a great climax, and Mr. Big atleast died a LOT more realisticly than he did in the movie... (Though I'm sure that whatever death Fleming would have thought of, it would have always been more realistic.)

So once again, I had mostly positive things to say about this movie. I do feel like this book started off a bit more slow and boring, in Casino Royale I immediatly felt engaged in the story and this one took a while to pick up. It didn't really get intresting untill the bomb first arrived in Bond's hotel room. It took me a while to get involved with the story surrounding smuggled coins and voodoo, but once Bond and Leiter go out and investigate in Harlem, things get really intresting! And the book keeps getting better from there on in. So another great read (or listen) and I'm glad I enjoyed this one a lot more this time arround, I really recommend the audio books!

I'm looking forward to Moonraker, I remember reading that one very vividly and liking it very much. I'm curious to see what that audio book will be like!

So far my ranking would be:

1. Casino Royale
2. Live and Let Die

My 007 film reviews:  Recapping 007  (NEW LTK EPISODE!)
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Re: Bond Book of the Month

ajb007/martini  Great review, Dutchfinger. For me LALD was a bigger story and more interesting than CR.
so for me at least  it would be the opposite of your listing.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

I have to confess, folks - I'm having a really tough time getting through LALD. I decided to go the audiobook route and I'm on the 4th of 6 disks. Although the story is intriguing and Fleming's descriptive writing is as vivid as ever, the racism is getting a bit hard to take. Every time I feel myself really getting into the story, the "N word" is tossed in or another disparaging remark is made about Black people. I realize the book was written in the 50s and attitudes about race had not evolved to the point they are now, but to be honest that is of little comfort to me as a Black man listening to Fleming's tale. I think I owe it to myself as a Bond fan to solder on and finish the book, but I have to say I'm not enjoying it much.

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

I think everyone can understand BL, It would be bad enough to read some of the racist passages,
let alone have to listen to them. Although as mentioned by Others it was a long time ago, and in a
way shows how racist the times were then and indeed have only changed very slowly. Infact in some
parts I'm sure it's still as racist as ever. Still I hope you do finish it and give your review on it.
       It does seem an odd coincidence that in the month that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the
"I have a Dream " speech by Martin Luther King, we're reading  a book showing the casual racism of
the 1950's.

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Thunderpussy wrote:

ajb007/martini  Great review, Dutchfinger. For me LALD was a bigger story and more interesting than CR.
so for me at least  it would be the opposite of your listing.

I can see where you're coming from, apart from some awful racist features and a slow paced start, the story got really thrilling and I would also call it a bigger story than CR myself. Two great James Bond tales so far!:) - Just preffered Casino Royale to this one, but I guess that's what makes your thread so much fun! 

Blackleiter wrote:

I have to confess, folks - I'm having a really tough time getting through LALD. I decided to go the audiobook route and I'm on the 4th of 6 disks. Although the story is intriguing and Fleming's descriptive writing is as vivid as ever, the racism is getting a bit hard to take. Every time I feel myself really getting into the story, the "N word" is tossed in or another disparaging remark is made about Black people. I realize the book was written in the 50s and attitudes about race had not evolved to the point they are now, but to be honest that is of little comfort to me as a Black man listening to Fleming's tale. I think I owe it to myself as a Bond fan to solder on and finish the book, but I have to say I'm not enjoying it much.

I completely understand BL, like I mentioned in my review above, I enjoyed it a bit less because of the racist features the book has. It didn't age well. I'm glad atleast Quarrel shows up as a good black (jamaican) man, to kind of compensate. I think back in those days the "N" word was an accepted regular word or something?  I agree there were plenty of cringe worthy horrible racists bits... I do hope you will enjoy the rest of the story without being offended to much, the scuba diving was really thrilling and well written and of course a lot of other positive stuff that I mentioned above.

But I guess we're on the same page that Casino Royale was the better book so far!

My 007 film reviews:  Recapping 007  (NEW LTK EPISODE!)
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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Thunderpussy wrote:

I think everyone can understand BL, It would be bad enough to read some of the racist passages,
let alone have to listen to them. Although as mentioned by Others it was a long time ago, and in a
way shows how racist the times were then and indeed have only changed very slowly. Infact in some
parts I'm sure it's still as racist as ever. Still I hope you do finish it and give your review on it.
       It does seem an odd coincidence that in the month that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the
"I have a Dream " speech by Martin Luther King, we're reading  a book showing the casual racism of
the 1950's.

I appreciate your understanding, TP, and I do intend to finish the book. By the way, the odd coincidence you pointed out hadn't even occurred to me. Ironic indeed!

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Dutchfinger wrote:
Thunderpussy wrote:

ajb007/martini  Great review, Dutchfinger. For me LALD was a bigger story and more interesting than CR.
so for me at least  it would be the opposite of your listing.

I can see where you're coming from, apart from some awful racist features and a slow paced start, the story got really thrilling and I would also call it a bigger story than CR myself. Two great James Bond tales so far!:) - Just preffered Casino Royale to this one, but I guess that's what makes your thread so much fun! 

Blackleiter wrote:

I have to confess, folks - I'm having a really tough time getting through LALD. I decided to go the audiobook route and I'm on the 4th of 6 disks. Although the story is intriguing and Fleming's descriptive writing is as vivid as ever, the racism is getting a bit hard to take. Every time I feel myself really getting into the story, the "N word" is tossed in or another disparaging remark is made about Black people. I realize the book was written in the 50s and attitudes about race had not evolved to the point they are now, but to be honest that is of little comfort to me as a Black man listening to Fleming's tale. I think I owe it to myself as a Bond fan to solder on and finish the book, but I have to say I'm not enjoying it much.

I completely understand BL, like I mentioned in my review above, I enjoyed it a bit less because of the racist features the book has. It didn't age well. I'm glad atleast Quarrel shows up as a good black (jamaican) man, to kind of compensate. I think back in those days the "N" word was an accepted regular word or something?  I agree there were plenty of cringe worthy horrible racists bits... I do hope you will enjoy the rest of the story without being offended to much, the scuba diving was really thrilling and well written and of course a lot of other positive stuff that I mentioned above.

But I guess we're on the same page that Casino Royale was the better book so far!

Thanks, Dutchfinger. I will try to enjoy the book as much as I can because there are other aspects of the story that I find quite intriguing. But you are correct with respect to you and I being on the same page - so far Casino Royale appears to be the better book.

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Dutchfinger wrote ;

Just preffered Casino Royale to this one, but I guess that's what makes your thread so much fun!

It's not my Thread, rather my Legacy to the world !   ajb007/lol
( Unless it somehow starts to make Money, Then it is MY thread )  ajb007/shifty

the scuba diving was really thrilling and well written

Agreed it was Brilliant, Plenty of detail and very atmospheric  ajb007/martini

It's at times like this I wish Some real experts like, Richard-W or Silhouette Man
could pop in and Tell us all where we're going wrong
with our reviews.  ajb007/lol

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Thunderpussy wrote:

Dutchfinger wrote ;

Just preffered Casino Royale to this one, but I guess that's what makes your thread so much fun!

It's not my Thread, rather my Legacy to the world !   ajb007/lol
( Unless it somehow starts to make Money, Then it is MY thread )  ajb007/shifty

the scuba diving was really thrilling and well written

Agreed it was Brilliant, Plenty of detail and very atmospheric  ajb007/martini

It's at times like this I wish Some real experts like, Richard-W or Silhouette Man
could pop in and Tell us all where we're going wrong
with our reviews.  ajb007/lol

Careful what you wish for, my friend! ajb007/lol

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

ajb007/lol  It must be like calling up the Devil, I see one has poped back with a bit of Craig bashing.   ajb007/lol

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Re: Bond Book of the Month

Thunderpussy wrote:

ajb007/lol  It must be like calling up the Devil, I see one has poped back with a bit of Craig bashing.   ajb007/lol

Yep! See what you did?!!! ajb007/lol

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."