So while you people are enjoying your Harry Potters and Twilights, I just read the James Bond novel Casino Royale. I love the James Bond movies (especially the Sean Connery ones) but have never read any of the books. Deciding that my ignorance was an insult to James Bond’s legacy, I felt compelled to check out at least one of the books, and what better place to start than 007’s first adventure. Casino Royale is written by Ian Fleming, who sadly only lived to see the first two Bond films (Dr. No & From Russia With Love). You can tell what the man’s interests are from his works – traveling, cars, gambling, fine dining, and most importantly, women.
The best part of this novel is a gambling scene which is possibly the most intense sequence I’ve read in a long time. James Bond is sent to this casino with the objective of making another dude lose all his money at Baccarat. The rules of Baccarat are explained in this book, and I like it when books introduce something new to you (I’ve never been to a casino!). The good thing about books is also that you can “rewind” very easily, and make sure you understand what is going on before you continue. The gambling scene here made Baccarat so exciting I actually took out a deck of cards and tried it out for myself.
You get lots of other interesting stuff as well, including martini recipes, how to order caviar at a high class restaurant, and of course, the Bond Girl. In this case, Vesper Lynd is assigned as an assistant spy to James Bond, and to my horror, the story does not end well for anybody. Ironically, I have not seen the 2006 film adaptation of Casino Royale (with Daniel Craig as Bond), but a quick check on Wikipedia had me pleasantly surprised on how well they created Vesper Lynd in live action (with Eva Green in the role). (I also had to go on to Wikipedia to find out what on Earth a caviar is…)
Do I like to read James Bond as much as I like to watch his movies? I may like it even more. If you are a James Bond fan but have yet to read any of the books, I suggest you get started as soon as possible. I’m already on my second James Bond novel and am enjoying it thoroughly. The novels dwell deep into the characters’ minds and you can really see their motivations and feel their pain. If anything, you also learn how to order expensive food.