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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Don't expect much from For Your Eyes Only, as I recall the stories were Bond-lite. When the Quantum of Solace movie was released there was a book published under that title that collected all the shorter Fleming Bond stories from For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and Other Stories. If nothing else, it was a nice idea to have all the short stories in a single volume.

"Don't expect much from For Your Eyes Only..."

Oh, I don't. I've read it before. In fact, I've read the entire series start to finish on three occasions: in junior high school, in college and in the '90s. In addition, I have read odd books on a "one off" basis from time to time. The last time I did a comprehensive read-through (some 25 years ago now), I came to the conclusion that I need not ever read them again. I'm beginning to weaken, though. For one thing, I enjoy reading certain books at different stages of my life to observe how my impressions change. Although I have read For Your Eyes Only three times over the years, I recall very little of it (which fits your characterization as "Bond-lite"). I'm just reading this collection until I decide what I really want to read next. I may not even finish it. 

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY: As I indicated yesterday, this is my fourth time through Ian Fleming's James bond short story collection For Your Eyes Only. I was going to wait until I had finished all five stories before posting, but i want to get some thoughts down while they are fresh in my mind. The stories in this collection (copyright 1959, 1960) originally appeared in divers sources such as Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazine. I had forgotten how topical these stories would have been when they first appeared. Two of the first three are set against the backdrop of the Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. 

In "From a View to a Kill," James Bond has been tasked with finding a group of Russian spies who are ambushing dispatch riders from SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). "For Your Eyes Only" is a simple assassination mission which becomes complicated when the daughter of two of the victims' becomes involved. Von Hammerstein is an ex-Nazi who has fled to Cuba but, in the rise of Castro's regime, tries to muscle his way into a private estate in Jamaica. when that goes south, he flees to a cabin on a lake in upstate Vermont, Bond comes in from Canada to kill the man at the request of M, who was a personal friend of the murdered couple. Those familiar with James Bond only from the movies may not think of him as a sniper, but although he played that role more than once, this time it's not official business but rather a personal favor.

In "Quantum of Solace," the Governor of Nassau relates an anecdote to Bond at a party. That's it. I hadn't really remembered this story at all, despite having read it three times before. This time I was transfixed. I was fascinated by this character study, and the surprise ending blew me away. It just goes to show that what you get out of a story depends very much on what you bring into it. This story meant nothing to me when I was 15 or 20-something or 30-something. I'm going to take a chance here and transcribe the paragraph from which the story takes its title out of context. It may not mean anything to you, either.

"The Governor paused and looked reflectively over at Bond. He said, 'You're not married, but I think it's the same with all relationships between a man and a woman. They can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people. When all kindness has gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn't care if the other is alive or dead, then it's just no good. That particular insult to the ego--worse, to the instinct of self-preservation--can never be forgiven. I've seen flagrant infidelities patched up, I've seen crimes and even murder forgiven by the other party, let alone bankruptcy and every other form of social crime. Incurable disease, blindness, disaster--all these can be overcome. But never the death of common humanity in one of the partners. I've thought about this and I've invented a rather high-sounding title for this basic factor in human relations. I have called it the Law of the Quantum of Solace.'"

I knocked out Sign of Chaos, and I'm working on Knight of Shadow, the second to last book in the Amber series.

I actually got about 20 pages into Parker Posey's You're on an Airplane. These are her memoirs, with the conceit being you're on an airplane ride with her. Its one of those ideas that probably sounded good on paper, but so far lacks in execution. Its kind of stream of consciousness, so it goes in different directions. I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe another time.

I was once on a flight from Atlanta to New York with Parker Posey.

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