Popsugar Reading Challenge: Book 47

Prompt: A book that inspired a common phrase or idiom

I had to turn to the lovely people at the Goodreads group for some book inspo for this one. Lots of Shakespeare and George Orwell on the list. In the end I went for Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. This is the first in the James Bond series and was originally published in 1953. This is the book that introduces the phrase “Bond, James Bond.”

I’ve seen most of the James Bond films, but this is the first book I’ve read – and what an interesting read it was.

What’s it about?

Secret Agent 007, James Bond, is on a mission to bankrupt Le Chiffre, a Soviet spy. He’s sent to Casino Royale to play in a high stakes baccarat game.

Bond is supported in his endeavours by Vesper Lynd from MI5, as well as Felix Leiter of the CIA who bankrolls Bond when he runs out of money, and Rene Mathis of the French Deuxieme Bureau.

There’s lots of casino glamour, old school spying, car chases, torture and double crossing.

What I think:


This is not a book that holds up well in 2019!

Bond is rude, arrogant, smokes 70 a day, drinks too much and is completely sexist.

He is completely misogynistic. He repeatedly refers to Vesper as a “bitch” and suggests women should “stay at home and mind their pots and pans.”

Bond’s enlightened view of women

Bond is also very rapey. The writer describes:  “And now he knew that … the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would have the sweet tang of rape.”

Describing rape as “sweet”.

Bond is entirely unappealing. The story is very thin and a lot of time is spent describing card games. Vesper’s betrayal lacks suspense and Bond’s response lacks conviction.

The best bit about this book was the page numbering – page 7 was numbered 007.

This was a disappointing read and I won’t be reading anymore Bond books.

You can head to Casino Royale at:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here