Tag Archives: Ian Fleming

New, reclaimed, libraries etc.

More books!

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  • Solomon Northup –  12 Years a Slave     £1.25
  • The Britannica Book of Genetics     50p
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels –  The Communist Manifesto     1 of 3 for £1
  • Michel Foucault –  Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison     2 of 3 for £1
  • Henrik Ibsen –  Four Major Plays     3 of 3 for £1
  • Patrick Moore –  On the Moon     £1.99

I also picked these books up from my parents’ house:

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  • Philip Pullman –  The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess
  • Philip Reeve –  Mortal Engines
  • Eleanor Updale –  Montmorency

Yes, they are all childrens/teen fiction, but as with many of Pullman’s works, this quadrilogy of ‘Sally Lockhart’ books are as good as any adult novels in both style, plot, langauge and themes, and the Reeve book I haven’t actually read, but want to as it is a dystopian work in a similar vein to many sci-fi classics. Hell, why am I defending myself here for wanting to read or re-read children’s fiction? I feel as though this is an argument I am having with myself, and am sure that I am the only person who needs convincing that it is okay. When it comes to classic and decent fiction, the boundary between children’s and adults is decidedly and rightly blurred, and is one that is getting more and more irrelevant for me as time goes on. Blame Ted Hughes and his children’s poetry, which is also adult poetry; blame Lewis Carroll; blame Tolkein and J.K. Rowling.

…and on the theme of children’s works (and Ted Hughes) I also got this:

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I already own the tie-in version of this that was produced at the time of the film ‘The Iron Giant’, but that has certainly seen better days, and so when I saw this ‘Faber Classics’ edition with the 1980s cover restored, I thought that it was worth the £2.99 that I paid for it. You can’t tell here, but the title and the rivets around the border are all in shiny gold foil and are imbossed, which really adds to this edition and makes it a nice collectors piece. The book also looks far more substantial in this format, as the text is rather large and so the book has been padded out to over 100 pages. Also, this is the first brand new Faber & Faber book that I have bought since Seamus Heaney’s ‘Human Chain’ in paperback in 2011 (as opposed to second-hand), and so it is the first time I have seen the new Faber typeface in print:

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It looks a bit odd initially alongside the double-f logo, but I don’t think that it looks at all bad. it certainly has a nice 1920s/30s feel to it, harking back to the Faber of Eliot, and that is never a bad thing. Here is the font in greater detail, taken from their website:

 

Faber

Image: faber.co.uk

Hopefully, I may see that grace my poetry in the near future… Yeah, right. I can but dream…

Lastly, two of our local libraries have been having booksales, and so I got these few:

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  • Jon McGregor –  even the dogs     10p
  • Frank Herbert –  Hellstrom’s Hive     10p
  • Mohsin Hamid –  The Reluctant Fundamentalist     10p

…and these…

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  • Ian Fleming –  Goldfinger     25p
  • Irvine Welsh –  Trainspotting     25p
  • Thomas Hardy –  Jude the Obscure     25p
  • Philip Reeve –  Predator’s Gold     25p
  • Jenny Turner –  The Brainstorm     25p
  • Archie Brown –  The Rise & Fall of Communism     10p

 


 

I’m wondering with these new book posts whether I should start doing them monthly instead of as-and-when I buy. I just think that that would be a bit easier and make this blog a bit more tidy. Also, I hope to sort out all my arch & anth, poetry and other books soon so as we can buy some bookcases, and then I can actually start using them again and have easy access to them, rather than them being piled up and very impractical. I’ll let you know how I get on, and promise to post some pictures once the shelves are assembled and the books arranged. Watch this space!

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The further joys of library booksales

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You may notice that this photo is decidedly un-crappy, which makes a change from the photos of my last few book-purchasing posts. This time, you can read the titles, but I will still list them anyway:

  • Ian Fleming –  Casino Royale     50p
  • C.S. Lewis –  The Great Divorce     25p
  • Graham Greene –  The Human Factor     25p
  • Donald Barthelme –  Forty Stories     25p
  • Tennessee Williams –  A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays     25p
  • John Steinbeck –  East of Eden     25p

As the title suggests, these were all from a library booksale (not the same one as those in previous posts)… well, ‘Casino Royale’ wasn’t. The rest were, though.

Also, we managed to get a very nice and very hefty copy of Oscar Wilde’s collected works for 25p as well, but my wonderful partner has commandeered this one. I may be able to borrow it if I ask very nicely.

The Barthelme book and the Greene book were only spotted by myself as we were leaving the library, as I happened to glance back at the table, and the former caught my eye due to the interesting cover image. I didn’t recognise the author, but recognised the title as being one I read about at the back of my Penguin Classics edition of ‘Ulysses’ and thought sounded worth getting. I’d actually forgotten about it until I saw it at the sale, and hadn’t added it to the list of classics that I want (yes, I do have a list). The fact that it was a silver-spined Penguin Classic also won me around to getting it, too. At the moment, I’m pouncing on any of the Modern Classics that I see. As an aside, this edition also raises an interesting issue (if issue is the right word), as it is in the Modern Classics series, but doesn’t have the Classics-style cover. This is similar to the recent reissues of Kafka by Penguin, and those of John Updike in the Modern Classics range: penguins-kafka-2

I’ve read some rather uncomplimentary things about these covers, but personally I quite like them myself.

A further random book-related point: these aren’t the only books I’ve had recently, but my other half has put some of my recent purchases up for Christmas, including one very special purchase that I am itching to mention, but will save for a special post at Christmas. I’ll do two them, actually- one on the books I already know about, and one on those that I don’t know the identities of.

Oh- one last point: I’ve got two more ‘Thoughts on…’ posts to get up soon- one on Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, and one on Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’. These will come soon, so please be patient!

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Thoughts on Ian Fleming’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’

diamonds are forever

This is another post that I’m rather late getting up on here, as I read this a good few weeks ago. Better late than never though, I suppose.

I approached ‘Diamonds are Forever’ very much as just a title to knock of my reading list, imagining it to be light reading and not really a very serious book. This impression came about with the reputation of the films as pieces of entertainment, but not very much more. However, I was genuinely impressed and quite surprised with the book, and indeed was taken in from the first page simply by how well-written it seemed to be. The scorpion motif at the opening seemed an interesting metaphor, and I liked the way in which it resurfaced at the novel’s close as a way of showing the circle to be complete, and the tale over.

In terms of the story itself, it seemed a rather generic spy novel (not that I’ve read many of these), but what stood out for me was the descriptions and the settings- I really did feel as though I was there with Bond as he travelled to Las Vegas or visited the racetrack, and found the level of detail regarding the card games and the horse racing very refreshing. Also, missing was the Bond of the cinema-screens, with his vagrant disregard for any female as nothing more than a sex object, and his questionable record that can been seen to border on the indecent. Here, Fleming instead presented a deep, thoughtful Bond who actually cared about the feelings of the person he was attracted to, who wanted to know her as a person, and who only embarked upon a relationship when he believed it would be long-term. Tiffany Case, the object of Bond’s affection here, was also presented as a deeply thoughtful and intricate person, who was a far cry to the air-headed pin-up that Wikipedia says the film version of this book made her into, and whom any Bond I have seen seems to think that a woman should be. Instead of tempting Bond from the off, Tiffany is presented as intelligent yet vulnerable, who would be better suited as the rescuer rather than the rescued, and I found this refreshing and enjoyable to read. Rather than being a simple adventure novel, the developing relationship between Bond and Tiffany added a further element to the book, and led to it being a much more thoughtful and developed book, allowing us to see into Bond’s mind and his thoughts, and to see him as a more rounded, realistic and likable character.

There’s very little else for me to really say regarding this book- I liked it, despite hearing Shirley Bassey’s voice in my head every time I picked it up, and may read more Fleming in the future. In terms of the films, however, I think I will steer away from the theatrical adaptation of this book, as from what I gleaned off Wikipedia, it seems to veer off from the plot in rather surreal and stupendous ways. I’m inclined to watch the Daniel Craig films, but may stick with the novels for the others.

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Reading update

I haven’t posted on here for a few days, but in this time I have managed to procure some new reading matter, and have made progress with another book. However, I haven’t started the Kafka book I said I would read next. This will be digested in due course. Anyhoo- my new books can be seen below:

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Incase the titles are a tad difficult to read, here they are from left to right, along with the price that I paid for them:

  • Lewis Carroll- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (two volumes)  10p each (yes- really!)
  • Ian Fleming- Diamonds are Forever  50p
  • John Ruskin- On Art and Life (Penguin Great Ideas No. 15)  50p
  • Penelope Lively- Heat Wave  25p
  • Carol Ann Duffy- The World’s Wife  25p
  • Rudyard Kipling-  Just So Stories  £1.49
  • Thomas More- Utopia  £1.49
  • Seamus Heaney- North  £1.49
  • Martin Amis- Money  £1.49

I have currently been distracted away from the Kafka collection by another Penguin Classics book titled The Cloud of Unknowing and other works, which is a decent-sized volume of 14th century Christian teachings about the sheer impossibility of actually perceiving and understanding God, which I have recently learnt is actually a way of thinking that is taken up by the Eastern Churches, but not so much in the West. In the West the view is generally more along the lines of God being a friendly, approachable father-figure, whereas in the East, he is a powerful and unreachable being who cannot be represented in human terms and who can never be fully understood by simple mortals weighed down by sin and their perception of the body. To truly know God, The Cloud teaches that a person must become a contemplative, and be able to stop perceiving and thinking about his own existence to focus solely on God. The …other works of the title are shorter pieces believed to have been written by the same anonymous author upon similar themes, and it is in fact quite a good read. A tad heavy going at times, but it certainly gives food for thought and has provided me with a few new ways to look at both myself, my faith, and my perception of God. Also, the whole idea of a ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ is a great metaphor and image to use in my poetry…

tcou

Once I’ve finished this, I plan to read the Heaney and Duffy poetry collections, and then the two Lewis Carroll books, before finally getting to the Kafka. I promise to provide opinions etc. when I finish these.

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