Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Outlandishly Obsessed

To say I am obsessed with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series would truly be an understatement. Not only have LOVED Jamie and Claire since I read the first book, Outlander. I cannot actually remember when I first heard of the series. I know I started reading them in the early 1990s because I remember finishing the second book Dragonfly in Amber and having to wait for the third book Voyager.

Now, I will admit, I have not read the last two books - which actually includes the book which was released earlier this month - An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart's Blood. The reason, I do not want the series to end!!

Every chance I have to recommend a book to someone, I suggest this series. I love everything about these books, the historical aspect, the magic of time travel, oh, and how could I ever forget - the romance. These books are not just about the romance though. It is SO much more than the love between Jamie and Claire. It is about their life together. I love talking about the books and the emotions I felt when I read a certain section of one of the books. I know my family was tired of hearing me say how much I love the books, until they picked the books up and started reading them! My husband, father, aunt, niece, sister-in-law, cousin, and so many friends have now read the books because of my recommendations and all they can say is "WOW!" Obviously I wasn't wrong!

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Dallas Museum of Art's Art & Letters Live program where Ms. Gabaldon was speaking. I was a bit concerned that she would be like some of the other authors I have anxiously awaited hearing, but was sorely disappointed. She did NOT disappoint. Not only was she very open during her Q&A ("I don't know yet." and "I write pieces and fit them together. It's like a new age Tetris."), but she was also very humorous. She opened the evening telling the audience of over 1200 (her largest group in the US book tour) about her experience as a university professor teaching human anatomy and physiology. Her class was very popular "because they thought it would be easy". She commented how the football team would be sitting on the front row of the auditorium class with their eyes closed. She got their attention immediately when she said they would be discussing contraception and proceed to quote this little ditty.

In days of old
When knights were bold
And condoms weren't invented
They wrapped their cocks
Inside old socks
And babies were prevented.

From then on, she said she had their attention. When asked what portion of her was in Claire (the heroine of the series) she replied, 15.8%. She then went on to compare herself to the villain in the series - Captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall.  She was not the sweet demure woman I thought she was going to be in, which actually made me love her even more. My few seconds with Ms. Gabaldon were almost surreal. I was so excited the entire time I stood in line to see her. I had so many comments and questions running around in my head, but when I finally made my way to the front of the line all I could say was "Thank you." It really wasn't enough to let her know how much her books have meant to me, but it is what I could actually get out of my mouth at the time. Remember - Authors are my Rock Stars and to be completely honest, I was star struck.

Diana Gabaldon signing my author / illustrator autograph book
Dallas Museum of Art - Art & Letters Live, June 24, 2014
Just to let you know how much I love the books and Jamie and Claire, here is a picture of OUR Claire.

Claire Betts, March 2014

If you are interested in the Outlander series and you would like more information, you can read more about them and her writing process here. If you are interested in the new television series which will premiere on Starz, August 9th of this year, you can read it here and you can see the trailer here. For those who are completely obsessed you can download desktop wallpaper, headers and you can even print off your very own Pocket Jamie here.

After hearing Ms. Gabaldon speak last night and being surrounded by all of the excitement of the books, I have decided to go back and start over again. I know it is going to make my ever growing stack and list of "To Reads" build up, but they are SO worth the time. I will also make sure to read all of the books this time and not stop just because I don't want the series and the story of Jamie and Claire to end. I guess I will be like Elder Cunningham in Book of Mormon: The Musical and Man-Up (or Woman-Up is more appropriate).

It is not a bad thing to go back and re-read favorite books. It is a time to discover things you didn't catch the first time and a way to fall in love all over again with favorite characters. I'm off to the 18th century Highlands my friends.

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