What is James Bond Books Guide, what is the use of it and who invented it and does it.
There is an extensive body of literature on Bondiana, but in today’s world, we are forced to carefully manage our most important resources – time and attention. Therefore, it would be helpful to have a guide that evaluates books based on their usefulness and interest. Such an assessment must give a reliable basis for its conclusions. I bring to this task fifteen years of experience as a bookseller and editor, together with thirty years’ experience of immersion in Bondiana and related topics.
The principles of selecting books, websites and other things and the principles of their evaluation, I describe it in detail below on this page. The same information is reproduced in the text of our campaign on IndieGoGo and in separate posts here – we can discuss all this in the comments to these posts.
The main criterion for both selection and evaluation is how much the book helps us to understand the Bond myth.
The better understanding can be achieved through a variety of book types, whether memoirs of Bond actors, excursions into the history of the Cold War, or children’s impressions of going to the movies.
We have selected books on the following topics:
The creators and creation process
Thoughts on Bond, personal impressions.
Atmosphere – cultural context, history, the spirit of the times.
Around Bond. Lists for additional reading.
All these books contain information of several kinds. Each type of information has its own quality criteria.
Evaluation of books about facts.
Facts are the same for everyone and do not allow for different understandings. Examples include the release dates of films, the amount of money they grossed, lists of names of creators, books and so on. These facts can add something to the understanding of Bondiana, but usually, in themselves, they represent only the starting material for further reflection.
Books designed to establish and gather facts are many. Naturally, they largely overlap each other, so the possibility to compare them with each other before buying is really useful.
Reports of facts are evaluated by their completeness, accuracy and origin. The best origin is from the primary source, not from another book.
If the book claims to be an “encyclopedia,” it will be judged not only on its accuracy, but also on its completeness – or, conversely, if the encyclopedia is intended for beginners or children, or is devoted to some relatively narrow topic, the criterion is the skillful selection of the most important entries. I recognize that different people have different requirements regarding books of this kind, in relation to volumes and styles of presentation. This is why I will not only mention those books that are the most complete, but I will also discuss some that contain a little less information, but that have skillfully selected the most important, and have presented it in an easy-to-understand way.
Books devoted to the clarification of individual facts will be evaluated by how each one has accomplished its task – whether all the facts on this topic have been taken into account, collected and finally clarified.
Evaluation of books offering interpretations.
Even the story of a crew member about events on set will contain his personal opinion, which does not necessarily coincide with the opinions of other participants in the same events. For example, much is written about the relationship between producers and lead actors – but this, too, varies with different perceptions. Such information will always be of interest to Bond fans, but books with such information should be evaluated even more carefully – they are all very different, and there may be more than one point of view on what and how to choose between a large number of such books. Even more subjective are books about personal impressions, evaluations and interpretations of films and books. However, for such cases, I, as a professional, have fairly accurate criteria for an objective evaluation.
The interpretation should be justified and original. The interpretation must be conveyed in clear language. An interpretation of the highest quality establishes new connections between different parts of the myth and makes visible what was not noticed before – things that perhaps even the creators did not notice. Such interpretations allow us to re-absorb familiar books and films.
I’m a huge fan of such interpretations. And in my Guide, I want to collect information about all existing books of this sort and to highlight the merits of each as brightly as possible.
Evaluation of illustrations.
Like words, illustrations can serve as a means of communicating facts, and can also offer interpretations and deepen understanding. Accordingly, illustrations in books, or books consisting mainly of illustrations, can also be correctly evaluated according to the same criteria as books consisting primarily of text.
Like texts, illustrations can also be unique, obtained from the source and published for the first time in the book being reviewed. Alternatively, a book may be a compilation of material from pre-existing books. A compilation, by the way, can also be literate and useful, or, on the contrary, it may be secondary and uninteresting, not worth the reader’s attention and money. We will discuss all these aspects with the greatest possible accuracy.
For a good book, it is no hardship to pay almost any amount. Nevertheless, for whatever price you pay you will want to gain the maximum value. My guide will be useful in this. Among the books devoted to each topic, there are particular favourites, which I would advise reading first. Many people tend to create reading lists, shopping plans, wishlists – my Guide will be of great help with this.
The overview of each book contains the following features:
The name, author’s name and bibliographic data, helping readers to find the book in shops and libraries.
There are books with the same name on the market but published in different years, in different bindings. Such details must be specified.
A precise description of what the book is about.
The title does not always give a complete idea of the book’s subject, and publishers do not always find time to provide an exhaustive summary. In addition, the book may be devoted to several topics at once.
Evaluation of the originality and uniqueness of the book’s contents.
The content of the book, if possible, should not be a mere repetition of the contents of previously published books.
Assessment of the completeness of coverage of the topic.
The book should give an exhaustive picture of what is said in its title.
Readability and reader assessment.
The language of the book should be clear, even if the book claims to be an “academic” study. The location of text and pictures on the pages, fonts, fields – all this should help the reader to read and understand.
Is it good value for money?
Sometimes it happens that the book, although good in some ways, is too expensive and it would be better to spend this money on many other worthwhile books.
Books are often written more voluminously than the information contained in them requires. We all know books that would not be worse if they were much shorter. I will try to evaluate the book on this parameter. In addition, I will try to report enough of the content of the book to enable readers to decide if it is worth reading.
All of the above can be assessed objectively – but for this, it is necessary to compare each book with all other books on the same topic. Such a comparison is one of the unique advantages of my Guide.
What else is in the Guide?
A separate chapter on websites dedicated to Bondiana.
There are innumerable such sites on the web. However, there are not so many projects that are original and regularly updated.
I have selected 20+ sites that deserve attention for one reason or another. It is indicated which sites are currently the most complete and well-organized, have new content added regularly, and are unique in their content; also what each site specializes in, and what differences it has from other good sites.
This chapter is available to access for free on this site, in the posts of the category “Websites”. As the texts are ready, they appear (with the appropriate links) both here and on the project page on Facebook.
A separate chapter on documentaries dedicated to Bondiana.
There are 30+ documentaries already selected for review. This content also needs a guide. These reviews are also freely available on this site, in the posts of the category “Documentaries”.
A separate chapter – first on the site in the “Media” category and later as part of the book – about the most vivid, irreplaceable, valuable publications in the media.
Not all of these materials are published in books, and not all media agree to authorize books to reprint their publications. But many publications in the media maintain their significance for decades. Let them, with the appropriate annotations, take an honourable place in our project.
This page will be kept updated with news of the project, reviews of websites and videos, as well as some book reviews, quotes and excerpts, news about books.
Another important section of the content of the Facebook page is reviews of the Guide and feedback/discussions about improving my directory.
The regular monthly e-mail contains news of the project, selected reviews, book list replenishment, surveys and other. All the issues are published as separate posts in the “Mailing” category.
More about the quality of electronic and paper versions of the Guide.
The first eBook edition will be available in all popular electronic formats (PDF, ePub, MOBI, etc).
The second edition of the electronic book will be produced according to the same standards as the first one.
The paper edition of the Guide will be in the format 70×100 / 16 or 60×90/16.
It will be a hardback – this is the standard for quality publications.
The pages in the book block will be stitched, using strong white paper that resists yellowing. The book can, therefore, be confidently used for many years.
We will try to make the English language of the Guide very clear. This will make the Guide completely understandable for those who do not speak English as their mother tongue.
Last but not least: James Bond Books Quarterly.
Simultaneously with the preparation and publication of the James Bond Books Guide, the preparation and publication of the James Bond Books Guide Quarterly will begin.
This periodical is created to support productive communication with the community of the most interested readers of the Guide.
The Quarterly will contain:
– Fresh reviews, both mine and other people’s, which will later be included in the next edition of the Guide (or will not appear, if feedback from readers of the Quarterly convince me that this should not be done). The difference between the reviews published in the Quarterly is that they are not limited in volume, in contrast to the reviews published in the Guide. The Guide must be more or less compact; its purpose does not include meticulous analysis of each book but is rather to orient the reader in the whole array of books. But the Quarterly is a “laboratory”, an experimental production – the R & D of our Guide. In the Quarterly publications, our goal is to find in every reviewed book everything that is worthy of attention, and then decide what necessarily should be included in the Guide.
– Lists of books that are planned to be reviewed for the next editions of the Guide. Readers of the Quarterly can recommend books to the list and can argue against the inclusion in the list of certain books.
– Digests from rare, little-known publications, and reviews of such publications. Books about Bond are always more or less in print, but publications in periodicals usually disappear from print in a few days. It is worth finding, evaluating and making these available.
– Considerations and discussions about the format and style of reviews for the Guide, and principles for selecting books for review.
– Lists of books not written specifically on James Bond, but which help fans to understand the novels, films or Bondiana in general. Quotations, digests and abstracts of books from such lists. For example, the list for Live and Let Die includes literature on black America in the seventies, texts about the genre of blaxploitation etc.
Subscribers of the Quarterly will be present in this “laboratory” and will work in it as much as they want.
Each issue of the Quarterly will be between 36 and 48 pages long. The publication is initially planned to be electronic, but with the growth of the number of subscribers, we will issue the Quarterly in a paper format.
Subscription for the first year will cost twenty-seven dollars. For this money, subscribers will receive three issues in electronic form. The transition to paper will not lead to a significant increase in this price. A noticeable increase is possible only if the volume of each issue significantly exceeds the above-mentioned number of pages.
The first issue of the Quarterly will be released immediately after the end of the Guide’s campaign on IndieGoGo – in July 2018. It will be devoted mainly to the results of the campaign, partners acquired, and advice and suggestions received.
The first, draft edition of the Guide will be released three months after the end of the campaign, in October 2018. In the same month, the second issue of the Quarterly will also be released – it will be mainly devoted to the work on the first edition of the Guide and ideas that have arisen during this work.
The third issue of the Quarterly will be released in December 2018-January 2019. It will be devoted to the first reactions to the draft edition of the Guide, and to work on the second edition of the Guide.
The second edition of the Guide, in electronic and paper form, will be released seven months after the end of the campaign, in February 2019.
From early 2019, the Quarterly will be released at the end of each quarter – in March, June, September and December.
I’m a longtime admirer of Bondiana. For me, Bondiana and the James Bond myth became one of the main routes to a deep understanding of Western culture.
I live in Latvia, on the border between the Western and Eastern worlds. I’m married and have three children.
The need for a Guide is obvious to me as a professional.
I worked in the book business for fifteen years, filling every role from a bookseller to the editor-in-chief of a big non-fiction publishing house.
Throughout all these years, I had to quickly and objectively evaluate a lot of manuscripts and books:
“If I buy them for my store, will anyone buy them?”
“How can I get across the main message about the book in the few seconds for which the buyer is willing to listen?
“What’s good in a manuscript? How can it be further improved so that it will sell well when it becomes a book?”
“What should be written on the cover to help a potential reader to see immediately whether he needs this book?”
In addition, I hold a PhD in philosophy, which helps me to understand the deep meaning of good entertainment books.
It happens that I’m looking for a book, but I can not find it, because no one has written it yet or translated it into the languages I know. In such cases, I try to write, translate and publish this book myself. An example of such my work is the chosen aphorisms of Kozma Prutkov, the most popular fictional character of Russian classical literature.