The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling – a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.
James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.
- Casino Royale (1953), Ian Fleming
These were the first words I had ever read from my own volition. Of course I had read in my life but it had previously always been forced upon me in school, and even then I would only skim the pages trying to remember just enough that I could fake it. You see, I thought that books weren't for me. I knew that they existed I just figured that reading was something that other types of people did.
It's hard to believe that I only started reading in 2006, around now ten years ago. The film, Casino Royale was slated to be released and I was excited to see it. I would constantly spend time in my school's library because it was the only place I could be on the internet for hours on end. The librarian liked me and she would always say hello and try to talk to me.
One day as she approached me she had a book in her hands. It was Casino Royale. She had ordered some 007 novels in case someone might be interested. I took Casino Royale home that night but not before cracking it open.
I had never really read before so I wasn't used to it. I was completely new to me, the idea that you could open a book and be completely transported to another world. Suddenly I was in a smoke filled casino, I didn't know that this could happen. These were just words but when put together they create images, I could see everything and the more I read the more vivid the scene became. The first few pages took me a long time to read because I had to constantly look inside of the dictionary because there were so many words I had never seen before.
The book must have taken me a few weeks to read. I would never read if there were distractions because it took me a lot of focus to read. I would always go off where I could be alone, where there was quiet and then I would consume a few pages. It's hard not to romanticize it but even know I remember it being a very magical experience.
Soon I realized that I was nearing the end, there were only a few pages left. I slowed down, I didn't want it to end. Reading the last few pages were so depressing because I knew that the adventure would be over. It would be over for James Bond and it would be over for me. It eventually came to an end. I was very sad, I read the book again immediately and then saw the film when it was released a few times in theaters.
Why did it have to over though? Then it struck me! There was more than one James Bond book, I just didn't know about them. I guess that shows you my level of naivety, I just didn't know that there was a whole series of book.
I started reading them, I tried to read them in order but I didn't have access to all of them at my library so I would zigzag a bit through the series. It didn't matter though, the story usually opened and closed the same. Except for that one time where Bond is indoctrinated and tries to kill his boss. But I digress.
After that I started reading all sorts of books. I kind of woke up to how ignorant I had been for most of my life and I wanted to change that. Not because I wanted to be the smartest person in the room but because of a more important reason. There are a group of individuals who devote their lives to creating and sharing their work, which is their lives, with the public. In these works they are trying to communicate with us, they are trying to tell us something, share something special with us. Are we really foolish enough to turn them down?
I perform wonders without hands and walk the earth without feet.