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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

The Spirit of the Border
Zane Grey
Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)
Beverly Cleary
The Underground Man (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Ross Macdonald
Delilah of the Snows
Harold Bindloss
Mrs. Miniver
Jan Struther
Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)
Maud Hart Lovelace
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace
The Fellowship of the Frog
Edgar Wallace

Casino Royale

Casino Royale - Ian Fleming God, Ian Flemming is an appalling sexist, misogynistic pig. I'm almost ashamed to have read this book.

Back in the day (the 1960s), Ian Fleming was all the rage. Pres. Kennedy said he liked reading him, and so everyone took him up. Movies followed. The first movies came out when I was in college, featuring the real James Bond, i.e. Sean Connery. The guys who came later were all, to use a term that Bond probably used in real life, if not in the polite environs of literature or cinema, wankers. Anyway, we all liked the movies. The sexism seemed good fun then, a sort of boys-will-be-boys thing. And I don't really remember the nasty misogyny that appears in the book. Maybe it was there and I was just too young and insensitive to have noticed.

This is my first experience with the Bond genre in book form. It pretty much has lots to loathe. In addition to the misogyny, we have a setting at a European casino. For some reason, people like to think of casinos as romantic and exciting. Actually, they're full of sick people who never amounted to a damn and are living off someone else's money. The French Riviera is full of such Eurotrash, people—often alleged former royalty—living on undeserved inheritances.

Ok, sorry I got carried away. So, it seems that some spy master under Russian control, rather embezzled the funds of the trade unions he was representing and used such funds to make bad investments, e.g. in a string of brothels just before such places were declared illegal. He knows the Russians will have him executed once they discover his perfidy. So he needs to make a pile of money quickly, before they find out. Apparently, that means gambling.

So, British Intelligence thinks it would be a great idea to prevent the guy from winning at gambling. They send their best gambler, Bond, to the casino to better the master spy. He is given a side-kick, a woman, who has marvelous "protuberances, both front and back". Bond, being a misogynist, hates the idea of working with a woman. On the other hand, he is only too happy to contrive to bed her. His first thought on seeing her is to wonder about her "morals". Morals to him means only one thing, will she put out or not.

If I were still an adolescent male, I might have found this story interesting, although I think that even back in the dark ages of the 60s I'd have been appalled by Bond's misogyny.