Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

 Sometimes seen as a hymn to the joys of boating in late Victorian England, Three Men In A Boat is more a paean to the delights of the  bachelor life as the author and two friends – George and Harris – plus a dog, Montmorency, go up the Thames on a two-week rowing holiday from Kingston to Oxford. Its appeal comes…

The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

 Oh, I admit it, yes, another Bond. Anyway, one of the great theme tunes (Carly Simon) and perhaps the best stunt – pre-CGI ski-jump off vertiginous precipice, flailing fall to certain death, Union Jack parachute – to begin any film, anywhere, ever. So how does the novel The Spy Who Loved Me go about grabbing the reader’s attention? Simple: by not…

Moonraker by Ian Fleming

 It’s a long way from Fleming’s limpid prose to a portly Roger Moore in a spacesuit. As with most film versions of the James Bond books, the novel provides a title and relatively little else. Anyone expecting high jinks in Rio de Janeiro and Venice may be a mite disappointed: 007 spends most of his…

Never Had It So Good by Dominic Sandbrook

 This history of Britain from 1956 to 1963 starts with the debacle of Suez and ends with Harold Wilson on the verge of becoming prime minister. In between there is James Bond, the Tories making a total Horlicks of Europe, Doctor Who, sex scandals, Cliff Richard, concerns that the ruling elite is out of touch,…