Some sense of normality is returning, and the post-Carnival malaise seems to be lifting a bit, which is always lovely.
As I mentioned a while back, I am slowly but surely rereading Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels, which I originally read as a teenager and not again since. I enjoyed the books, to be sure, but they were so remarkably different from the films that they did seem to be a bit lacking; the books weren't over the top. They were grim, to be sure, and the James Bond you meet in the books is vastly different than the Bond in the movies (although until Daniel Craig, Sean Connery came the closest to Fleming's original vision of 007), so I thought it would be interesting to reread them.
And so I started with Diamonds Are Forever.
I thought this was a good place to start because I don't really remember the movie much. It was the last one Sean Connery made (until Never Say Never Again, and the less said about that the better--and I love Sean Connery), and the one where they paid him a ridiculous amount of money to return to the role after he'd been replaced by George Lazenby for one film. The only other thing I really remember about the movie is that Tiffany Case, the Bond girl, was played by Jill St. John. (Some of the movies--For Your Eyes Only, Goldfinger, Dr. No, Live and Let Die--are so emblazoned in my memory reading the books might be problematic, so I wanted to get going without bias.)
I enjoyed Diamonds Are Forever, frankly. I went into it expecting some antiquated racism and sexism--it was originally published in 1956, after all, but it was actually rather clear that Fleming admired and respected women much more so than other male writers of the time. Tiffany Case, the Bond girl in this title, was actually quite three dimensional and well developed; fiercely independent as well as beautiful, I actually liked her and wished Fleming had actually utilized her more in the story. (In the films, the Bond 'girls'--which is actually sexist in and of itself--are pretty much disposable and interchangeable, with a few exceptions) It was also refreshing to see that Bond actually cared about Tiffany; she wasn't just a piece of ass or a means to an end, the way they so often were in the films.
There was, of course, some racism.
Fleming's writing style is very terse and taut, but doesn't quite flow the way one would expect; the book is only 160 pages long, and it took me a lot longer to read than you would think a book of that length would take.
I'm currently about halfway through Thunderball; will report back on it.
I had the same though about the Bond books when I read them. People crashed cars and died, no explosion, no hundred bullets, no car rolls and flips.
Since your reading out of order, I believe Bond gets engaged to Tiffany Case. it doesn't last.
I can't wait to read your next post. I think we'll think alike.