Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Complete Tales & Poems , by Edgar Allan  Poe

Apparently...I have a digital copy on my phone, and I read maybe 15 minutes a day at work during lunch. I'm about halfway through it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"I recently began reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology..."

That was a quick read but I really enjoyed it.

Today I noticed that Gaiman's Norse Mythology is a free Kindle download for Prime members (you don't have to have Unlimited anything). I've been meaning to read it, so I downloaded it, and am looking forward to reading it sometime soon.

THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER by Kingsley Amis: I came across this book (in my own library) over the weekend while I was looking for something else. I bought it a few years ago when I wasn’t in a “James Bond” mood knowing that someday I would be. I have read all 14 Fleming novels start to finish three times over (once in junior high school, one in college and once in the ‘90s), plus I have read odd ones from time to time in addition to that as the mood struck. The last time I read them, I decided, was the last time I needed to read them. They struck me as being incredibly dated in many ways.

But reading The James Bond Dossier for the first time has given me a new way of looking at them. It was written by Kingsley Amis in 1965 (my copy is a first edition hardcover complete with dustjacket), after Ian Fleming’s death, and cover all of the novels except for Octopussy. Even though Amis treats James Bond strictly as the fictional character he is, his writing style is highly reminiscent of Fleming’s, and Amis later (in 1968) wrote a James Bond novel of his own (Colonel Sun). If he used The James Bond Dossier itself as an audition, I wouldn’t be surprised.

He uses concrete evidence from the novels themselves to explode some of the myths everyone “knows” about James Bond. I would recommend this book to anyone already more than passingly familiar with Fleming’s Bonds; I don’t think anyone else would get as much out of it.

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME: The James Bond Dossier put me in the mood to re-read one James Bond novel. I chose The Spy Who Loved Me because it is unique in the series, told first person from the point of view of woman he gets involved with. I have read this book at least three times, but there are still details I have forgotten.

I've read every Ian Fleming Bond novel at least twice each - the exceptions being Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.  I didn't enjoy either of those as much as the other books and never went back for a second reading, although I have read the comic strip adaptions of both in the Titan collections.

Bleak House, by Darles Chickens  :)

"Heak Blouse"?

“I have read the comic strip adaptions of both in the Titan collections.”

Speaking of which…

I have all of the James Bond comic strips (which go way beyond the novel adaptations, but I’ve only read through You Only Live Twice. I found them to be extremely faithful to the books. John McLusky was the artist on the adaptations of Casino Royale through You Only Live Twice. Yaroslav Horak took over with The Man with the Golden Gun (plus all of the short stories and The Spy Who Loved Me, all somewhat out of novel publication order) before moving on to illustrate the adaptation of Colonel Sun (by Kingsly Amis) and years of original stories.

I stopped reading at the point I did because I prefer McLusky’s art and that seemed like a good place to take a break. I mentioned above that the last time I read through the Bond books was the last time I felt I needed to, but The James Bond Dossier put me in the mood to re-read at least one. I settled The Spy Who Loved Me because it’s told in the first person from the point of view of a woman and is equal parts romance and hard-boiled detective pulp. After that, I pulled out the volume collecting the comic strip version of The Spy Who Loved Me to compare the two.

The novel is written in three parts: “Me” (the narrator’s own story); “Them” (the gangsters Horror and Sluggsy enter the story); and “Him” (James Bond arrives). In part three, in order to keep the narrator’s mind off their present danger, Bond narrates the story, in flashback, of what he is doing in the United States up to the point he met her at the motel. The comic strip adaptation tells that story from the beginning and skips the part about the narrator’s backstory.

I may not need to read all the novels again, but I may well read all the comic strips from the beginning. (If I do I’ll make a “reading project” of it.) Also, I have six of the first seven novels as audiobooks on CD. (The one I’m missing is Moonraker.) I found them several years ago at Half Price Books. I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to listen to all of them at the time (although I did listen to some), but they were too inexpensive to pass up. I may supplement the strips with the audios, or I may just pick up the strips after listening to all the audios, we’ll have to see.

I appreciate the work of both the Bond newspaper strip artists although they have vastly different styles. Whereas McLusky maintains that classic newspaper adventure strip look, Horak's art is some the most stylized comic art I've ever seen. I believe Walt Simonson has mentioned him as an influence.

A few years ago I bought all of the Bond comics strip collections that cover the actual Fleming stories, so I'll be interested if you do a reading project on them.

"Horak's art is some the most stylized comic art I've ever seen."

That's what everyone I've spoken to who has an opinion says. I haven't really read much of his stuff, except the Spy Who Loved Me in the last few days. (I initially sopped reading when he took over the art.) I'm always open to reassessing my opinion. His style is growing on me but it is a jarring difference from McLusky's.

"I'll be interested if you do a reading project on them."

Keep your eye on "What Comics Have You Read Today?" because that's where it will be.

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