I was twelve years old when I saw my first James Bond movie in the theater--Live and Let Die, the first with Roger Moore as James Bond--and I would be totally lying if I didn't admit that film, probably more than any other, had a huge impact on my life.
Obviously, I enjoyed the movie tremendously. I thought it was clever and funny, and the theme music was one of the best (if not THE best) Bond themes. I became an enormous fan of James Bond--I saw every Bond movie in the theater until whichever the second one with Timothy Dalton was, and even though I eventually came to realize that Sean Connery was the best of the Bonds (don't even get me started on Pierce Brosnan--blech) with Daniel Craig now competing with him for that honor, for a long time Roger Moore was my favorite--and of course, Live and Let Die remains my favorite Bond film, with For Your Eyes Only a close second. (I do appreciate the Connery Bond movies as well as the Daniel Craig, but I have a very soft spot for those two films; I'll explain more as this entry progresses.)
Shortly after seeing the movie, I was at a flea market with my grandmother (she and her second husband loved nothing more than going to flea markets on the weekends; I loved going because you could almost always get a lot of books for very little money--and sometimes you could find volumes of the teen mystery series I loved for practically nothing) and I discovered a battered paperback copy of Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming. I started reading it in the car on the way home...and was surprised to discover that the literary James Bond was vastly different from the film James Bond.
With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big pandenus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rock.
This is how the book begins, and the Fleming novels are much darker and grittier than the movies. At first I was disappointed by this, but eventually as I read more of them came to appreciate them as something different and independent from the films.
I caught Live and Let Die again recently on one of the cable channels. I hadn't seen it in years, and as I watched I suddenly realized that it had been filmed in Louisiana and New Orleans--and thus my lifelong fascination with both was born. The Bond girl, Solitaire, was also played by a very young Jane Seymour--and she was able to read tarot cards; another lifelong fascination for me. I also realized, as I watched, that the very dry Roger Moore/Bond sense of humor is rather similar to my own.
So, really, watching this movie when I was thirteen directly influenced the rest of my life.
Having not read the books since I was a teenager, I went to ebay, and found a pretty decent grouping of five of them for a low price, so I went ahead and ordered them--they are even the versions I bought at the flea markets all those years ago.
I am rather excited to be reading them again, frankly.
I read all the books long before I ever realised there were films, too!
Thus, I was initially vastly disappointed that the films didn't really resemble the books very much, apart from a few plot twists and the general basis of ideas. The Spy Who Loved Me was my all-time favourite Bond book; imagine my disgust, then, at the film which was not much at all like the book!
However, that said, I did grow to love the films eventually, in their own right and, of course, look on them as "classics" now. I agree with you absolutely that Sean Connery "is" James Bond, with Daniel Craig coming a very close second, returning us to an "adult" version of Bond after the childish shennanigans of the previous few!
Enjoy your books - it's rather nice that you've managed to find those with the older covers, rather than those that have film-based covers.