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Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days of Good Books - Day 1

Good morning!  I actually dreamt about the book I'm recommending today.  (In case you're wondering, yes, dreamt is an acceptable past tense of dream, though this particular spell checker is making ugly red squigglies at me.)

I'm a fast reader.  In the past, I've devoured books and stories and plots so quickly that I don't remember character names... Inhale the story. So this first recommendation was a true treat for me.

"Outlander " by Diana Gabaldon  c. 1991    626 pages.

Claire Randall was a nurse for the British army until 1945.  A weekend to reunite with her husband Frank, also just released from duty, brought her to Scotland.  Taking a walk in her perfectly acceptable little 1945 summer dress, she stumbles across an old stone henge.  She becomes dizzy, disoriented, there's a terrible sound... a terrible pulling apart of her body... and then it's over.

Stumbling down the hillside, she sees several Scots in KILTS running full speed, followed by British soldiers in red coats.  Is there a reenactment? A film crew? Is she hallucinating?  A hand covers her mouth and yanks her into the brush.  The British soldier that's grabbed her looks like her husband.  But, this is 1745, this lookalike has nothing in common with her dear Frank, and she's apparently dressed in attire only fitting for a prostitute. 

Claire has nothing short of a wild adventure in this book.  She finds no help with the British, but with the Scots - likely the very criminals being sought.  Her knowledge of anatomy is quite useful in this brutal time, though her 20th century mouth gets her in a bit of trouble.  She's no wimp, and she can be a bit salty for the 18th century. There's bad blood between the two countries, though, and regardless of being a woman, to many of the Scots, she's simply English - an Outlander - and there's always suspicion.

Ms. Gabaldon wrote over 600 pages and when I finished it, I felt like I'd really read something. It wasn't finished in an evening or two.  And, she made me want to read every word.  The history is well researched and entertaining to experience. The relationships are as complicated as relationships can be.  Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do.  Sometimes you want to do things you shouldn't, and this book has plenty of both.

And when you're done... there are 6 more in the series.  Book 8  "Written In My Own Heart's Blood" comes out in 2013.

31 Days of... is a project of The Nester.  It began with 7 bloggers a couple years ago and this year has over 1000 participants. 


  1. This is great! I'm always on the lookout for some good reads, but I get tired of the trash that's out there being marketed as 'literature' these days. Can't wait for the rest!

  2. You'll get a mix over the 31 days. Some hearty, some fluffy, some intense and some inspiring. Thanks for coming by!

  3. As an English teacher, I LOVE books! (read Outlander when it first came out--not my cuppa, but a lot of my friends loved it.) The one part I did like was the ending when the chick yelled 1968 or something as she was being burned at the stake. I love a good stake burning. Or maybe I've had too much wine.

  4. Love the Outlander Series. I reread them over the summer. Looking forward to your series. Glad to have found you through Nester’s link up. I’m looking forward to what you have to share. I am blogging “I Wear Pink”. Please stop by.

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  6. Wine and books - what a beautiful love story ;-) . Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Donna, I'm on my way to your place now!

  7. I was just discussing Outlander with some friends last weekend! I once sat next to a woman at a wedding and Outlander came up. She went home and mailed me books 4 and 5 in the series. Gotta love a book bond like that.

  8. Beautiful, Caroline! The end of book 7 killed me... I know Ms. Gabaldon posted some spoiler content online, but I'm trying to resist looking at it. I'm just holding on to Jamie saying to John Gray, "Aye? Why?"

  9. I laughed so hard when I read your tagline. Awesome. Can't wait to read about your recommendations! I've read the first three in the Outlander series and then was stopped by an "unread library" project that has me reading what I have in my house before going out and getting more. I like the series, but always find myself bogged down in the middle. She knows how to work a cliff hanger though.

  10. Oh yes, she does Kate!

    I love a good story, and so I find many genres to be satisfying reads if the author's a good storyteller.

    My husband has a collection of fantasy novels, I've read only a few of them and every once in awhile I have a pang of guilt over the number of books in our home I've not read.