Spies, Re-Reads and Romance in April 2020

April was another very slow month for reading. I spent way too much time doom-scrolling and feeling horrible about the state of the world. The best decision I made all month was re-reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That book is a classic, and was exactly what I needed to improve my mood.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

The Daniel Craig movie version is surprisingly faithful to the book. The biggest changes are that the movie isn’t quite so misogynist and Bond plays Texas hold’em instead of (if I remember correctly) baccarat.

Other than that, it’s all there on the page. The infamous torture scene is a direct adaptation. The book is gritty and brutal and Bond is at war with his own emotions, just like in the movie.

I really enjoyed this book, and the narration by Dan Stevens was perfectly crisp and aloof, which helped set the tone. I’d like to continue working my way through the series, but I’m not sure if every book will stand up as well as this one.


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I read this book so many times when I was a kid that my omnibus edition of the series is in tatters. My parents actually got it signed by Douglas Adams shortly before he died, so even though my copy is barely holding together, it’s one of my most treasured possessions.

That said, I haven’t read the series in decades, so I was long past due for a re-read. I thought the best way to experience the books this time around would be by listening to the audiobooks. Stephen Fry reads the first book, and he does not disappoint. Fry is one of the best narrators in audio, and I could listen to him read just about anything.

(I’ve actually been working my way through the complete Sherlock Holmes read by Fry since August 2019, and am on track to finish it sometime in 2021 at my current rate.)

I plan to listen to the rest of the series in audio very soon, but a few other books were next in my queue.


For Love or Magic by Lucy March

For Love or Magic by Lucy March

I really only listened to this in the first place because I didn’t cancel Audible Escape in time. Of course, my membership ran out before I finished and ended up having to borrow the ebook from the library so that I could read the rest.

I realized pretty quickly that the formula for this series is kind of creaky, and I don’t think I’d go out of my way to read another.

That said, it was still a pleasant enough read, and I think if I’d waited a few years between books like I did for books one and two, I might have enjoyed this one more.