What are you Currently Reading?

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  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    With a bit of sun,sea and sand. How about Thunderball ? I have some happy memories of
    Doing a bit of snorkeling, then drying out on the beach reading TB :)
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Unloved SeasonUnloved Season Denton, TexasPosts: 48MI6 Agent
    Well I finished off the Bond books. I'm still not sure what to make of some of the later books. TMWTGG wasn't too bad, but wasn't too exciting either. And by that point Jamaica was becoming an over-used location. YOLT I didn't like, I wasn't surprised as I don't care much for the movie either, but I had hopes the book would be better. But I think I prefer the movie. OHMSS was pretty good, more or less like the movie only the plot seemed more plausible when explained by Fleming than when shown by EON. Octopussy and The Living Daylights was hit and miss, like the previous book of short stories. Some good, some I didn't care about.

    Now I'm onto the original trilogy Star Wars novelizations. I never read them, or really felt the need to (I like Star Wars books but I've seen the movies so many times I never felt the need to read the novelizations), but my brother bought me this really nice leather-bound (with Vader's mask in gold trim) Barnes & Noble special edition of the trilogy novelizations. So I figure I'll read through them real quick, and Ep. IV has been a pretty fun read so far. After that I think I'm going to do the Gregory McDonald "Fletch" series, I've only read the first book and have been wanting to read them all for a while. After that I'll probably check out some of the Bond continuation novels. What are some of the better ones?
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    Lee Child's "The Affair". I see Racher as a mix of Sherlock Holmes and a classic western hero.

    "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. Very interesting if you want a overview of the big changes in human history.
  • The Wicker ManThe Wicker Man EnglandPosts: 434MI6 Agent
    I have read a lot of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels. I like them especially the earlier ones.
    Currently reading The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr. It's a locked room murder mystery and I have absolutely no idea how the killer did the murder. I am about halfway through and looking forward to the big reveal at the end. -{
    1.ohmss 2.cr 3.frwl 4.ltk 5.gf 6.tswlm 7.sf 8.op 9.tld 10.dn 11.lald 12.tb 13.fyeo 14.ge 15.mr 16.yolt 17.tnd 18.avtak 19.sp 20.twine 21.qos 22.tmwtgg 23.daf 24.dad
  • Bondfan68Bondfan68 Columbus, Ga USAPosts: 4MI6 Agent
    Reading WIN, LOSE OR DIE by John Gardner. I've always enjoyed the Gardner Bond novels ( most of them anyway).
  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,418Quartermasters
    I'm busy reading 'Uncle Dynamite' by PG Wodehouse at the moment, but I seem to have mislaid my copy of the book. What a plonker! I think I left it in someone's car. Hopefully I can locate it, because I was really enjoying it! :#
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,929MI6 Agent
    I've been reading the Flashman books, by George MacDonald Fraser
    up to the fourth one, ...At The Charge (of the Light Brigade), got at least four more sitting in a pile waiting their turn

    I like the comedy and the well researched history, I'm learning lots of bits not usually told in the standard histories, but a bit of online factchecking shows Fraser knows his stuff
    the whole conceit is an elaborate forgery too, a persuasive insertion of a modernday fictional character into 19th century history and literature, supposedly a few reviewers were fooled and thought these "newly discovered memoirs" were authentic! bonus points for that

    so far, the one I liked best was Flash for Freedom, about the slave trade ... the scene where the English ship purchases the slaves from another African tribe is nightmarish, and the whole ongoing question of slavery's legacy in America makes some of the "hero"'s actions more reprehensible than usual

    the ending of ...At the Charge resembles our film The Living Daylights: Flashman is captured by the Russians during the Crimean War, and a rogue Russian Count transports Flashman towards the Afghan border, as part of a secret plan to invade India while Britain is otherwise occupied. a pair of locals sharing his prison cell help Flashman escape, and involve him in their war of resistance against the Russian army ... sound familiar?
    since we know Fraser was somehow involved in the screenplay for Octopussy, two films earlier, maybe the producers had been reading his books and borrowed a plot thread?
  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 26,509Chief of Staff
    ^ absolutely love the Flashman... novels...I had them recommended to me to by an old AJB stalwart, Willie Garvin...a true gentleman -{
    YNWA 97
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff
    +1. They're very enjoyable.

    Also +1 re Willie Garvin.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    I love the Flashman books too. I think HBO should make a miniseries based on them, perhaps starring Dominic West, Gerard Butler, James Purefoy or Hugh Laurie.
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    Call me crazy but I think that I'm going to get the Die Another Day novelisation. Is it dreadful like the movie, or was it softened out when rewritten as a novel?
    Moments ago I ordered Live and Let Die, and it will be interesting to say the least. After reading some spoiler-free reviews, which focused in a worrying amount on the racism of the novel. Of course, something I was expecting but is it truly that...extensive? I have read Casino Royale and Diamonds Are Forever by now (both of which, I enjoyed). Will this pale in comparison to them?
    a reasonable rate of return
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff
    No, I don't think so. LALD is a better novel than either of those two (but I don't want to discuss why until you've read it, and hopefully you'll agree).
    As for the racism in this book: it definitely exists and there are already threads on that so I won't go into it here.
  • Charmed & DangerousCharmed & Dangerous Posts: 7,358MI6 Agent
    I'd agree with Barbel. Fleming hits some highs with LALD, particularly the pacing and 'sweep' which are an improvement on those in either DAF or Casino Royale, and you just have to get past the racism.
    "How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."
  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,449MI6 Agent
    I wasn't overly struck by racism, it's there for sure but we are looking at it now in a more enlightened age. I don't know as I'm not old enough but id guess when it was written it wouldn't have raised many eyebrows.
    I've just started colonel sun, it's my first time with this one.
    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    Really? Well I guess we will see until it gets here and I read it :D. About the pacing, Casino Royale only appeared to be slowing down towards the end but I read it in about 3 sittings on the time span of about 1 week. Diamonds started losing me by the time he got on the plane to Vegas, I mostly enjoyed the moments with Leiter and Tiffany. I also found the horse racing bit a bit weary for my tastes, which A View To A Kill no doubt borrowed. I read Diamonds on a span 2 months, on and off. I'm not that struck with racism etc. as I know what to expect from Fleming by now. I will now try to not "break" from the order of the novels. Chriscoop, Colonel Sun also sounds intriguing and I could make an exception for my "out of order" rule ;%.
    a reasonable rate of return
  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,449MI6 Agent
    Really? Well I guess we will see until it gets here and I read it :D. About the pacing, Casino Royale only appeared to be slowing down towards the end but I read it in about 3 sittings on the time span of about 1 week. Diamonds started losing me by the time he got on the plane to Vegas, I mostly enjoyed the moments with Leiter and Tiffany. I also found the horse racing bit a bit weary for my tastes, which A View To A Kill no doubt borrowed. I read Diamonds on a span 2 months, on and off. I'm not that struck with racism etc. as I know what to expect from Fleming by now. I will now try to not "break" from the order of the novels. Chriscoop, Colonel Sun also sounds intriguing and I could make an exception for my "out of order" rule ;%.
    I think colonel sun is the book that has the inspiration for spectres brain drilling chair, though I could be wrong.
    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff
    Yes it is, you're right CC.
  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,449MI6 Agent
    I'll look forward to that part then, I'm enjoying it so far.
    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    Chriscoop wrote:
    I'll look forward to that part then, I'm enjoying it so far.
    Said no-one, ever about a torture scene :)). Only joking around, of course. Spoiler, I've read that they had gotten the inspiration for M's kidnapping in TWINE from Sun. They could've also roughly been inspired by that for the torture chair in TWINE. Also, Colonel Moon (DAD), Colonel Sun (Novel).
    a reasonable rate of return
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    I just finished Lee Child's "A wanted man", one of the Jack Reacher books. These books are always good reads. This one is a slow burner, counting on tension and not action most of the book. For a change it's not Reacher, but a policewoman who does most of the investigation. But the last few chapters is a massive shoot-out. This exchange between Reacher and a FBI agent who he had just saved gives you an idea (my translation) :

    "Do you know how many they are?" asked Reacher.
    "Twenty four tonight, not including me," replied McQueen.
    "Then there are six left. "
    " Is that all? My God! "
    " I've been here for at least twenty minutes. "
    " Who the hell are you? "
    " Just a guy who hitch-hikes. "

    :D
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    The Devil in Amber: by Mark Gatiss.
    Truly entertaining action story. A mix of the occult and espionage, defending the empire. Set in the
    1920s Mark Gatiss has a great descriptive style, some beautiful and witty turns of phrase. The story
    Has elements of Fleming ( a spy/assassin working for the secret service ) and Dennis Wheatley ( The
    Devil rides out etc ) this is the second of three books with Gatiss's hero Lucifer Box. I'll definitely be
    Checking out the others.
    An abridged version is available on the BBC radio player over five half hour episodes read by Mark Gatiss.
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,929MI6 Agent
    Conan the Barbarian
    I found a nice fat two volume set that compiles every Conan story written by Robert E Howard
    this is awesome stuff, great storytelling, outrageous imagination
    it's a bit like Tolkien, there's a map at the back and a twenty page history of The Hyborian age at the front
    but lacks all the fine intellectual and moral values of Tolkien, instead being a lot more graphically gory with lots of naked wenches running round
    actually there is a moral value here: city folk are weak and decadent and inherently corrupt, only barbarians from the frontiers are rough and tough enough to survive
    the stories are very episodic, as Howard wrote a couple dozen short stories and novellas over the span of a couple years, with no chronological logic, and some of which Conan is only a walk-on character ... later generations of Howard fans have pieced together the clues to arrange the stories into something following Conan's career from thief to king
  • Dirty PunkerDirty Punker ...Your Eyes Only, darling."Posts: 2,587MI6 Agent
    Funny story, I thought it got lost in transport (no shipping number) and requested a refund, which I got.
    It arrived today after...bloody hell...almost two months since I said that I had ordered LALD but here it is. The James Bond Library copy. Loving its artwork but its too early to judge a book by its cover. I will...dive right in and let you know how I get on.
    a reasonable rate of return
  • MrGoreMrGore Posts: 129MI6 Agent
    Rereadin Dr No. I last read it a long time ago. I remember the edition. It was the Pan paperback one with the blue cover and the spider's web. I read the first couple of chapters. The murder of Strangways. Fleming was such a CAREFUL writer. He leads you along with exacting detail. It is a technique which draws you in. (I know some find it slow). But it pulls you into the action. He was also a very visual writer. If you take your time reading the 1950's Fleming Bonds, he really shows you what the world is like.

    I know it will never happen, but I'd love to see a 1950s Bond. Take away some of the 1960s elements and go back to the 1950s. I reread Moonraker, and I'd love to see that as a faithful adaptation. No Rio, no Space Shuttles. Just Blades Club, the Kent countryside and the white cliffs at St Margaret's Bay. It could be done, just like they're doing it next as a BBC radio adaptation.
  • MrGoreMrGore Posts: 129MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:

    Yes.

    That's a neat piece of alternate cinema history writing.

    Dirk Bogarde wouldn't have been my 1950's choice for Bond, though.

    Richard Burton was still the right age around the mid fifties. He'd have been good, judging by how he handled action in Where Eagles Dare.

    And, Connery was just getting going at around this time. He'd have been younger, but still good for the role.

    Stanley Baker always seemed a good candidate for Bond around the late 50s. He had an edge to his acting style which would have suited well.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,669MI6 Agent
    edited July 2017
    Barbel wrote:

    Ha ha! I was one of the people credited with discovering that over on CBn back in 2004 when the membner Simon Bermuda first posted it. I get the credit here:

    http://commanderbond.net/2323/moonraker-the-forgotten-1956-film-version.html]

    To be honest, I kind of believed it at the time, or more likely hoped that it was true as Moonraker has always been my favourite Bond novel. I was a bit miffed to find out I'd been duped all along. :#
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • HachiHeadHachiHead Posts: 5MI6 Agent
    Moonraker. Particularly enjoy it because it's the first of the series that focuses on Bond at home, at the office, interacting with M, rather than globe trotting. It's a nice reprieve after the thrill ride that is Live and Let Die. I still have no idea how Fleming managed to make such involving drama out of a game of bridge.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,929MI6 Agent
    I just finished Pearson's The Life of Ian Fleming (1966)

    I'm going to quit worrying about whether the films are true to Fleming. Fleming was working his connections for a Hollywood film deal before Casino Royale was even published, talking about his own books as his scheme to get rich quick, and following the McClory debacle did not care what prospective filmmakers did with the property just so long as he could sell the rights for big money. I'm sure he would not mind the hollowed out volcano or indestructible henchmen at all.

    I have a question for those who might know:
    Pearson mentions many things Fleming wrote that were either unpublished or are long out of print ... did these ever get printed in the years since, or otherwise circulate amongst collectors' circles?
    -several creative writing exercises from his teenage years, including a gothic thriller in serial form about the lord of a castle with lots of torture
    -an authorised translation of one of Carl Jung's essays
    -several lengthy articles for the Sunday Times that he travelled to research: one about Jacques Costeau, one about digging for medieval treasure on an English beach, and another about exploring caves in Spain
    -a London Times article about riots in Instanbul while he was there for an Interpol conference
    -a weekly gossip column (!) under the penname of Atticus
    -a whole book about Kuwait that was suppressed by the Kuwaiti government (apparently they own the rights)
    ....I'm sure there's several more I've forgot

    but most of interest to us,
    -a 28pg pilot script for Commander Jamaica (recycled as Dr No)
    -at least six outlines for episodes of a James Bond TV series (three of which were recycled in For Your Eyes Only, meaning three more completely unknown to us)
    -early versions of what would become Thunderball, the earliest with completely different plots (presumably McClory's property, not Fleming's, but still of interest)

    also two uncompleted story fragments
    -Bond wakes up and scorns the lives of normal people who are married and commute to boring normal jobs
    -Bond meets a real life gambler named Zographos (1 1/2 pgs)

    I am also now reading a collection of Robert E Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories: it includes a half dozen incomplete story fragments or synopses. They read fine, and they further flesh out the saga which is episodic anyway. If there are any incomplete or abandoned Bond stories, film scripts, or just plain notes, that Fleming has left behind, they should be published ... maybe pad out Octopussy, which is very short and is itself a collection of leftovers ... or else put out a new book of Fleming odds and ends, I have a similar book of Chandler fragments and while hardly essential it is cool for us completist/obsessive types
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff
    -at least six outlines for episodes of a James Bond TV series (three of which were recycled in For Your Eyes Only, meaning three more completely unknown to us)

    Anthony Horowitz is in the process of converting these into novels, the first being Trigger Mortis and the second should be with us soon.
    There's a thread somewhere discussing this (ie, exactly how many outlines Fleming wrote and what was done with them) but I can't recall the title of it.

    Edit: https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/44503/anthony-horowitzs-trigger-mortis-2015-discussion-thread/
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