The Week's Best Stories From NPR Books


From those British literary classics to another...


BLOCK: Superspy James Bond can be described in many ways: cagey, charismatic, handsome, a wit.


LANA WOOD: (as Plenty O'Toole) Hi, I'm Plenty.

SEAN CONNERY: (as James Bond) But of course you are.

WOOD: (as Plenty O'Toole) Plenty O'Toole.

CONNERY: (as James Bond) Named after your father, perhaps?

BLOCK: He's a man of action, a risk taker, a real ladies man.


CONNERY: (as James Bond) Who are you?

HONOR BLACKMAN: (as Pussy Galore) My name is Pussy Galore.

CONNERY: (as James Bond) I must be dreaming.

BLOCK: But wait, James Bond is also most likely impotent.

DR. PATRICK DAVIES: James Bond has a really high risk of impotence - which would be a significant disappointment to many female secret agents.

BLOCK: Whoa. Hold on. James Bond? That's right, audience. James Bond drinks too much.


CONNERY: (as James Bond) A martini, shaken, not stirred.

BLOCK: He's averaging five of those martinis a day - which, in addition to impotence, puts him at increased risk of stroke and cirrhosis of the liver, so says Dr. Patrick Davies and two other researchers who delved into Bond's unusually lush life.

DAVIES: He drinks about four and a half times our recommended amounts for a healthy, adult male.

BLOCK: That's an excessive habit, which Dr. Davies says will eventually kill James Bond, if the speedboat chases, assassins, and strategically aimed lasers don't do him in first.


CONNERY: Do you expect me to talk?

GERT FROBE: (as Auric Goldfinger) No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.

BLOCK: Dr. Davies became curious about Bond's drinking while reading one of his creator Ian Fleming's novels.

DAVIES: He's described as being so incredibly skilled and calm and capable in all situations and somebody who's drinking at that level just wouldn't be like that.

BLOCK: So he and a colleague read 14 Bond novels and noted each and every time 007 indulged.

DAVIES: His highest intake day was on the third day of "From Russia With Love." He drank 49 units on that day.

BLOCK: And with each vodka martini counting as three alcoholic units, that's more than 16 drinks in a day.

Dr. Davies' report appeared yesterday in the British Medical Journal's annual collection of quirky studies.


EDWARD FOX: (as M) Too many free radicals, that's your problem.

CONNERY: (as James Bond) Free radicals, sir?

FOX: (as M) Yes. They're toxins that destroy the body and the brain, caused by eating too much red meat and white bread, and too many dry martinis.

CONNERY: (as James Bond) Then I shall cut out the white bread, sir.


BLOCK: This is NPR.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from