From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

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Either my memories are dodgy or I’ve changed in the almost half-century that has passed since I first got excited about Sean Connery appearing on the telly at Christmas to do battle with the  enemies of Britain, but I knew James Bond books were exciting. Fantasist, sexist, imperialistic, dated nonsense, sure, but exciting, right? Not if From Russia with Love is anything to go by. James Bond doesn’t even make an appearance until a third of the way though the book (because Fleming decided to spend a hundred pages to show how evil and superior the baddie is… only for Bond to dispatch him in a single scene??? Booooring). And the thought of escaping form Istanbul to England by taking the Orient Express, I mean, come on, That was a cliche 30 years out-of-date even in 1965.

And yet I’ll still cheer on James the next time he appears on screen. But maybe I won’t read any more of his adventures on the page.

No. 18 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2020.

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Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.