Outlander Community

I think I know what it is about “Diana Gabaldon’s” Outlander series that incites obsession among her legions of fans.

Admittedly part of it is the lust factor;  you know how some married couples have a ‘celebrity clause’, where if one or the other were to meet a specific/predesignated celebrity of their dreams they’re allowed to have guilt-free sex with said celebrity?  Well my husband has nothing to worry about because my free pass would be a fictional character, Jamie Fraser (unless a movie or mini-series finally gets made and then I’d have to consider the actor who plays Jamie, but that’s for another post, lol).

Another reason, at least for me, is when I read the series it feels like home.  The characters feel like my intimate friends & family, and I am truly and emotionally invested in their well-being.  To say I’m waiting on pins and needles over the release of the eighth book “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” (or MOBY, as Diana and her fans refer to it ) would be a gross understatement.

Quite frankly, I do whatever I can to stay connected.

There is a large community of people that feel the same way I do, and many of us have joined groups on Facebook (among others) for the sole purpose of being able to discuss and share anything/everything about the series, the characters and all things generally Scottish (hello to my friends @ Outlander ★ Je suis prest on Facebook).  They provide an outlet for our anxiety, our eagerness (ok desperation) to stay connected to the story & characters.  (At the risk of sounding a little crazy, I confess it feels uncomfortable referring to it as a “story” or to the people as “characters” – it seems like I’m doing them an injustice).

MOBY is due out in 2013, and I have just begun to reread the series from the beginning, in order to reacquaint myself with every detail for when the time comes.  The first time around I read all of the books in 4 months, up many of those nights into the wee hours of 1:00/2:00am.  This time however,  I’m taking my time, reading slowly and savoring all of the little details that I didn’t realize I’d forgotten.  It’s like getting to know a long lost friend all over again, and I’m so grateful to Diana Gabaldon for creating the connections, both with the books and the community of fans that love her books too.


I love to read.

And I love to own the books that really resonate with me.  The big pine bookshelf in our bedroom is completely stuffed and underneath our bed is a sea of storage containers full of even more books.  (The books under our bed are mostly Craig’s- he tends to like murder mysteries and I refuse to have that be the last thing I see before I fall asleep.)

We were running out of room in our house to store any more books and  I’d been hearing about Kindle this, Nook that, Kobo yada yada yada…  I liked the idea of storing thousands of books in the amount of space only one book would use.  Ultimately I went with a Kindle because I like Amazon.com, I always use it to find used books & they have great customer service.

I was SO excited to get one.  I was going to request it for my birthday in December, but  didn’t want to wait the two months (I’m impatient like that).  So I went ahead & bought the Kindle 3G (free 3G & Wi-Fi) from a local store where I had some store credit.  I’m not a techie AT ALL  (please, I still need help with my ipod) so I was relieved to discover how user-friendly the Kindle was.  The very first thing I did after it was charged was purchase Pillars of the Earth, by “Ken Follett.” (I’d wanted to read it ever since I saw Oprah talk about it on her show years ago).

It was so easy to do, literally just a few clicks and *poof*  it magically appeared on my Kindle.  I immediately loved the story & finished it in a few days.  I was hungry for more historical fiction, and as I was browsing Amazon/Kindle’s list of free titles (they routinely list the top 100 purchasable & free titles) Outlander caught my eye.  What the heck, it was free so I had nothing to lose.  I was up until 2:00 am almost every night until I finished the book, I just couldn’t put it down!  And somewhere along the way I realized that it was a series, and there were 6 more books to read!!  (And Diana Gabaldon is currently writing the as-yet-untitled eighth book due for release in 2013).

Needless to say all I asked for on my birthday was Amazon.com gift cards.  I finished the seventh book in January, and have been in Outlander (ok Jamie Fraser) withdrawal ever since.  I try to stay connected to the story & characters by sharing the books with my friends.  I got my sister hooked, and currently two of our friends are reading the series.  Even my husband has read Outlander, he gets how much I love it.   Now if they would only make an HBO miniseries about it…But that’s for another post.  = )

And so it begins…

I’m forever grateful to Diana Gabaldon for writing the Outlander series.

I first discovered it in October 2010 as a free e-book for my Kindle.  (OMG- can I just tell you how much I love my Kindle?  Greatest invention ever.  But that’s for another post.)  The books could be classified as Romance, or Historical Fiction, or even Science Fiction for the time-travel element.  Here’s how Amazon.com describes the plot of Outlander, the first book:

“In Outlander, a 600-page time-travel romance, strong-willed and sensual Claire Randall leads a double life with a husband in one century, and a lover in another. Torn between fidelity and desire, she struggles to understand the pure intent of her heart. But don’t let the number of pages and the Scottish dialect scare you. It’s one of the fastest reads you’ll have in your library.  While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn’t all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she’s never known before.

I was lame and sore in every muscle when I woke next morning. I shuffled to the privy closet, then to the wash basin. My innards felt like churned butter. It felt as though I had been beaten with a blunt object, I reflected, then thought that that was very near the truth. The blunt object in question was visible as I came back to bed, looking now relatively harmless. Its  possessor [Jamie] woke as I sat next to him, and examined me with something that looked very much like male smugness.”

Now, I’m normally a nonfiction/spiritual awakening kind of reader (with some exceptions like TwilightSouthern Vampire series), so I surprised myself when I clicked on the book title;  I mean, my closest living example of someone who reads romance novels is my late grandmother who rarely left her home (ok, kitchen chair) & had stacks of them piled up around her house.

The first couple of hundred pages were a little slow, but holy crap once it picked up it RAN!  I was hooked.  Like a druggie. Outlander is like “my own personal brand of heroin,”(Edward to Bella in Twilight).  The characters are so real.  I’m convinced they absolutely must have existed, and Diana Gabaldon somehow channeled their essence into the books.  They’re so real to me.

I laughed, cried, raged,  lusted…Oh yes.  Jamie Fraser.  (Cue dreamy sigh…)

A funny thing happened as I read the books—I became aware that I was less critical of myself.  And I looked at my husband differently, felt closer to him.  I initiated sex much more often—something about this story affected me in a such a way that I’m not the same.  And I like it (so does my husband!).


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