What would James Bond read?
You might have come across the notion that 23. April is World Book Day. In fact, unless you happen to live beyond a stone, in a desert in some far-away country of which we know nothing about, you will probably have been reminded of this half a dozen times already today. And no doubt there will also have been numerous suggestions to add to your reading list. What better occasion to ask yourself: What would James Bond read? After all, you won’t want to occupy your precious grey cells with just any old trash; you want to read what real men would read. Thankfully, CommanderBond.net can help you out there:
Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
Why that? Because it’s a nifty little pre-war thriller with mediterranean flair, uncommon characters in a whodunit setting and a sympathetic hero forced under severe duress to expose a spy. Just the stuff James Bond likes to read to relax from his job of exposing spies while under severe duress. And Bond likes Eric Ambler. At least since The Mask of Dimitrios stopped a bullet aimed at his heart. Admittedly, we never learn if Bond finished that one…
Why that? Because James Bond buys it at Idlewild Airport (several years before it grew into the John F. Kennedy International Airport) to read on the flight back to London. Admittedly, he then didn’t have much use for reading stuff. And it is somewhat unlikely that he left that particular plane with his book. But it’s safe to assume the book ended up on Bond’s note of expenses and was replaced by the Service. After all, it’s a valuable lesson in operational procedure should the need arise to send Bond spotting a kangaroo in a dinner jacket.
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
Why that? Because it was one of Ian Fleming’s favourite books. Its protagonist, orphaned at the age of seven and brought up by relatives, spends seven years of his life in a sanatorium high up in the Swiss Alps, learning about life and death, lust and love, virtue, hedonism and duty. A bizarre carnival is celebrated on the magic mountain, evocation of a sea change about to happen with the Big War. There is a lady whose name alludes to a hot cat with claws, and while the hero at the end heads for the slaughterhouse of WW I, he may have checked out of the sanatorium but never leaves the Berghof. Just the stuff James Bond likes to relax with while sipping on his double bourbon and pondering his own role in the greater scheme of things.