New Read: Live and Let Die

Well… I wasn’t going to write to you today. I know! I’m sorry! But a girl HAS to get out of the house and mix up the day at LEAST once a week. It’s called “self-care.” The plan was to into the city, have breakfast with a friend, and then pick up a beer grain order on the way back, but…

Yeah. AGAIN! I didn’t believe the weather report. It said rain and snow, but I woke up hearing rain late at night, followed by wind, and more rain. Just as the sun started to come up… snow. “It won’t stick.” I said out loud as I took my gloomy sunrise picture and then got into the shower.

When I came out of the bathroom it had turned to this:

I’m not going anywhere and not because I’m a Californian afraid of snow! I am afraid, but apparently no one else is, or maybe they aren’t even aware that it’s snowing and icy. Slowing down isn’t an option for anyone here, so I stay at home when “snow conditions exist.”

I guess there’s nothing for me to do but start a cozy fire, grab another cup of coffee, and read more of Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming!

Yesterday, before the snow-pocalypse!

I’m not the biggest 007 fan. My family knows this, but we’ve seen all the movies because they love them. Most action films aren’t my cup of tea, but I’ll admit I watched No Time to Die with great interest simply because I love Daniel Craig.

I don’t remember why my son picked up his first James Bond book, but I remember him loving them, and insisting we all watch the old movies together, comparing them to the books he’d read. His brother picked up at least one, probably Casino Royal.

He told me I’d like them, but I never did read any. Like I said, I’m not big fan of spy stories, and I have so much to read already, but this yesterday morning I decided to pull one off the shelf. I just recently watched Live and Let Die, so I thought it would be fun to start with that one and compare it to what I remember of the movie.

The best part about reading old novels is the use of language we don’t use anymore, the attitudes and styles that reflect the time they were written in, and the places that don’t exist anymore. It’s like a time capsule, showing us where we’ve been and how much the world has changed.

Case in point, in the first chapter I read today, Bond is given $1000 by his “handler” to spend however he pleases while in the US. Bond starts to refuse. You can feel that it’s so much money. I laughed because I spend almost that much at Costco in a few hours these days.

I was only about forty pages into the book in the first hour and already seeing can see how much our attitudes have changed. His description of Harlem intrigued me, and I’d like to know more about that history. His shock that a woman, a “negress,” driving as a chauffeur. First off, what kind of a word is that? I had to look it up. Eehh.. yuck. I’m glad we don’t use that anymore. Yep, just a tad racist AND sexist. It was 1954 when this was written. My how things have changed, and for the better, I’d say.

Oh, and then there was this gem:

The title of one of the chapters was “Allumeuse” and I didn’t know what it meant so I looked it up. Is it really necessary to have warning on a definition page? I mean… if it were going to have pictures that might give me nightmares, I’d understand but this seemed pretty tame.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book. I thought it would be boring, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m not sure that I’ll quote the book much. It is an entertainment novel, not much in the way of great quotes out of context.

This morning I’m nearly done reading the whole book. It’s not that long, or that heavy of a read, so it goes quickly. There is much to cringe at, a lot of words I didn’t know existed, and LOADS of amazingly sexist content. But you know what? I liked it. From my vantage point, as a woman, it showed me how far we’ve come and (sadly) how far we still need to go. Please don’t get me started on THAT today. The racist stuff… well… I’ll leave that to better writers than myself.

I wasn’t going to bring up the “re-writing” issue currently in the news, but I can’t help it. At first, I was appalled. “End of civilization” kind of appalled. And then, I started seeing people’s reactions and was reassured. I’m not alone in thinking that changing what we have written and created in the past does not help any cause in the future.

When we read, we should always be reading critically, knowing where and when the words came from, what the intent was, who it was written for, etc. Then we learn from the words, even entertainment ones. We can only know how far we’ve come, if we know where we came from.

I’ve posted a couple of quotes from the book on my new #bookstagram profile, so check those out! Maybe my next post will have my thoughts on those quotes and more, since I should be finishing this book this afternoon.

By the way, I’m considering changing the title of my blog to “Out of Context.” Most of what I write about the books I’m reading is out of the context it was written in. I find and share quotes, not because they move the story itself, but because they trigger a thought or feeling that I’d like to expand on. Sometimes a quote reminds me of another story or historical event. It’s not usually about the book it’s in. Just a thought… What do you think?

PS It’s still snowing. Maybe the world IS ending.

Read my other post My Favorite Live and Let Die Quotes!

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