Casino Royale ~ June 2011

The Shaken, Not Stirred Reading Challenge officially begins with Casino Royale. It may be the latest to be filmed, but it is the first James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming.

It was first published by Jonathon Cape in April 13, 1953 and has been adapted for the screen three times: once as a television series, once as a spoof, and finally as a feature film starring Daniel Craig in November 2006.  According to Wikipedia, of the nearly 5,ooo copies originally printed, less than half were sold. The rest were donated to public libraries.

Here are the vital statistics and description for the audiobook from Blackstone Audio’s website:

Released: August 2000

Available Forrmats: 4 CSs, 1 MP3 CD, 1 Playaway and 4 Tapes

Length: 4  hours and 39 minutes long

DescriptionIntroducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming’s tales of Secret Agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called “Le Chiffre”—by ruining him at the baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to “retire” him. It seems that Lady Luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules, and Bond’s attraction to a beautiful female agent leads him to disaster—and to an unexpected savior.

Shaken,  Not Stirred Challenge Information

Participants:

Please leave a comment on this post when you’ve finished listening to Casino Royale. If you’re a blogger, please use Mr. Linky at the end of this post to alert us to your posts and reviews.

Casino Royale Twitter Party:

The first Shaken, Not Stirred Twitter Party will be held on Saturday, June 30 at 9:30pm EST. The party will begin with a 30 minute discussion about the audiobook followed by watching the movie. We will be using #ShakenNotStirred as the hashtag.

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13 thoughts on “Casino Royale ~ June 2011

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Shaken, Not Stirred! | Shaken, Not Stirred

  2. Pingback: Casino Royale Twitter Chat and Viewing Party | Shaken, Not Stirred

  3. Just finished listening to the audio of Casino Royale (graciously supplied by Blackstone Audio – thank you!). I’ve never read any Ian Fleming or James Bond tales prior, although I have consumed a good number of the movies over the years. Most recently, I saw Casino Royale, oddly enough…so it was fresh(ish) in my mind while listening. I mention all this because although I adore origin stories, having a recent visual impression of CR definitely colored my listening experience.

    First, a note on the audio side of things: Simon Vance was a perfect choice for this series. I had to restart the listening (wasn’t paying enough attention the first time and got lost in the details), which actually turned out to be a good thing. The first time I heard Bond speak, I was dissatisfied for some reason, and confused by my dissatisfaction – LOL! Upon starting a second time, his voice struck me as perfect: arrogance from competence, allure from arrogance, and just enough coldness to make him believable as a 007, but with a touch of humanity about him to draw us in. Vance’s accents are impeccable (and I personally adore hearing a Brit deal with American accents as I often have to deal with the opposite situation), and his characterizations exceptional. Also, his cadence seemed to embody my perception of Fleming’s intent perfectly, engaging me even when the plot (I confess) bored me. That was a blessing – this would have been a DNF for me in print.

    OK – on with the story itself!

    Initially, I felt bogged down by details and how hard I had to work to maintain focus and caring. This isn’t my type of read and I struggled at first. After all, in film, all of the set-up is dealt with quickly, and aided with visual cues. I’m a visual and not a cerebral person so the set-up of the espionage and the baccarat was difficult for me to remain focused on – to even care about, actually! Like I said, it was really Vance’s superb narration that kept me going when I wanted to give up. I was pleased with bits and pieces we get from Fleming on Bond’s humanity (however small) – that was unexpected.

    However, the real plot of this book is the build toward the relationship…and the crushing of Bond’s trust/faith/humanity with the discovery of the the false foundation of it. And here is where I think Fleming fails. I felt that he didn’t properly set up whatever emotional content I needed to believe that (a) Bond would fall in love with Vesper, but most importantly, I felt it was unbelievable that Bond would not have suspected Vesper from the moment she is acting oddly in the nightclub the night of the kidnapping. And once she begins to act so ridiculously on their vacation, I felt insulted that Fleming asked me to believe Bond wouldn’t have fallen back on his internal bull-pucky meter and figured it out.

    However, I felt the movie did an excellent job of bringing out what Fleming intended – and perfectly sets up the killing machine that Bond becomes after learning of Vesper’s betrayal.

    So in summation – between the print, audio and film, I feel like this works…but I needed experience with all three to make it credible and compelling.

    -Xe Sands

  4. It was fun to be a part of the Bond community on Casino Royale night. It felt good to be trying out a different genre as there was curiosity about how Fleming got started with Bond and the beginning of the series. Since the book itself is over 50 years old, i wondered if it would seem dated? Thanks to Simon Vance, I got pulled right in, and am looking forward to participating in more Bond stories. I was unable to view the movie on the night, but have it in hand now, and will view it- keeping in mind all of the fun quotes that were posted on Casino Royale night.

  5. I lost track of time this month but I am looking forward to fully participating next month. This is so much fun, I’m glad that you put it together.

  6. Pingback: Blackstone Audio’s 007 Giveaway Winners for July! | Shaken, Not Stirred

  7. Pingback: Live and Let Die ~ July 2011 | Shaken, Not Stirred

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