Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Thrilling Cities" by Ian Fleming




On the surface this looks like a typical travel guide by a famous author, but its more of a series of moody essays on various cities around the world.  And the title is misleading, in that the James Bond author Ian Fleming doesn't find a lot of these cities thrilling.  Some, for instance, New York City, he doesn't like at all.

Hong Kong is his favorite, in fact he seems to be in tuned with Asia in general - except for the sleeping arrangements in Tokyo, he likes the people and food very much in that area.  The enjoyment of the reading is knowing who Fleming is, and his take on the world circa early 1960's.  He meets up with interesting people through out his travels, such as Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward (who is also his neighbor in Jamaica) and a specific gangster by the name of Lucky Luciano in Naples.  Him, he seems to like a lot - and also they both agree that drugs should be legalized.

Each chapter is devoted to one city, but he goes on tangents that might strike some as 'god get back to your subject matter of that city!'  But I like this style of writing.  In a peculiar way it sort of reminds me of my book "Sparks-Tastic."  Nevertheless at the end of each chapter he makes recommendations for restaurants, nightclubs and hotels.  Without a doubt, probably the most boring part of the writing for him!  But on the other hand, what a weird and cool travel book.  Oh and the great illustrator Milton Glaser did the drawings for this book.

Milton Glaser's illustration for Los Angeles and Las Vegas


The UK Editions of "Thrilling Cities"

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