Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Updates, and my thoungs on Moonraker

Okay, I had to put down One Hundred Years of Solitude for now. I got 262 pages into it and have been enjoying reading it, but it's a very large book and the rather disjointed nature of the narrative makes it easy to get bogged down in. Well, I've also been working 14+hour days just about every day for the past month, so I haven't had the time to devote to delving into this Nobel-winner, so I'm going to come back to it when I can read the rest of it properly.

It shouldn't really ruin my enjoying of the story. The events are pretty loosely connected and the characters are named so similarly that it's pretty difficult to keep them all straight anyway. Plus, the narrative is pretty good about reminding you who is who as you go along.

It's an odd book, really.

Anyway, I decided to move on to some lighter reading that I could finish quickly and not have to invest so heavily into, so I read the James Bond novel Moonraker by Sir Ian Fleming.

Pages: 247
Total pages: 7,638
Books read: 23
Pages/book: 332.09

The only experience I'd had with anything Bond was the film version of Casino Royale (which was good) and all of the James Bond stereotypes. Shaken, not stirred, and the theme music, and all that good stuff. So I'm going to read some of these books to figure out what makes this character such a mainstay in popular culture.

Moonraker is a fun short spy novel that isn't terribly taxing intellectually but keeps a fair share of tasty twists and turns as it moves along (for the most part) and a good quick clip. It's split into thirds: the first third deals primarily with playing cards, and even though I don't really know the games in question very well, Fleming's prose makes it easy enough to follow what is happening, even without a thorough knowledge of the rules. Even managed to make it fairly suspenseful. (Incidentally, one of the things I remembered about the film Casino Royale was that it actually made an engaging, exciting sequence out of poker, which is generally one of the dullest things in the world for me to try to watch)

The second and third portions of the book feature the story's namesake and some more traditional spy-novel stuff. Secret identities, searching for clues, mysterious death-attempts, and bald Germans with mustaches. Of course, everybody is terribly suspicious, and even the premise itself seems a little obviously dubious to my post-9/11 worldview, but when you pick up a 007 story, I assume you're planning on going along for the ride anyway. Which I did, and I rather enjoyed it.

With my crazy-packed schedule, I managed to read this book in two days. Quick, fun, and done. One o' them "palette cleansers" as my friend Dave-O likes to say. And at times, the prose was good enough to give me chills. What more can you want out of a 247-page post-WWII spy story?