I've seen the "Thursday Thirteen" meme on a number of sites recently, so I thought I'd give it a try myself.
13 Things I Didn't Know Before I Read Diana Gabaldon's Books
1) I didn't know that there had been Scottish settlers in colonial North Carolina, let alone that they were so influential.
2) I'd heard of Stonehenge, of course, but I had no idea that there were stone circles elsewhere in the world.
3) I knew nothing at all about Scottish history before I read these books. "Culloden", to me, was a brand of water faucet I'd seen advertised on TV, and nothing more.
4) Mammoths roaming around the mountains of what would someday become western North Carolina? I had no idea. (And frankly, it's still pretty mind-boggling to me.)
5) I didn't know that I could come to appreciate, let alone be addicted to, audiobooks. I've been a voracious reader all my life, but never listened to audiobooks except on long car trips, until I found the OUTLANDER unabridged CDs. Davina Porter's readings are just wonderful!
6) I had no idea that the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum existed. Finding that online community has changed my life, and I am not exaggerating when I say that.
7) I'd never heard of a great many of the strange and unusual words Diana has used in her books: "raillery", "niff", "chisping", "coccygodynia", and "poltroon", to name just a few of my favorites. These books have done wonders for my vocabulary!
8) The whole concept of the "fiery cross", and how it relates to the KKK, was completely new to me....
9) ....as was the "hanged men's grease" mentioned in DRAGONFLY. <shudder>
10) I wasn't aware that anybody in Scotland spoke Gaelic.
11) I didn't know that wolf-dog crossbreeding was possible, let alone that people could keep them as pets.
12) I knew nothing whatever about the lifestyles of gay men in 18th century London.
13) And finally...it would never have occurred to me that best-selling authors are people too. <g> Diana is remarkably down-to-earth and easy to talk to online, once you get over the fact that you are talking to a famous author.