Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How did you find the series?

I've been very pleased by the response to this month's poll so far. Thanks to everybody who's already voted!

As a relative newcomer to the series myself, I think it's interesting to hear how others found the OUTLANDER books. Please feel free to share your stories here!

My own experience goes something like this (apologies to those of you who saw this when I posted it on Compuserve a couple of months ago):

I first noticed OUTLANDER while browsing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore sometime in the summer or fall of 2006. It was the small-size (mass-market) paperback version. I remember it was on a rack at the end of one of the aisles, or I probably would never have noticed it. <g>

My eye was caught by the striking blue color of the cover, and I picked it up (a little startled by the size of it, but not at all put off -- I like Big Fat Historical Novels, and always have) and briefly glanced through it. "Time-travel...that's good, I'm always up for a decent time-travel story....Hmm...Scotland...that could be interesting. BUT...it starts in 1945, and the main character is an Englishwoman. Is the author British too? Probably.* I often find British novels hard to get into, especially if they take place that far in the past [and by that I meant the 1940's, not the 18th century!]. Am I going to be able to, you know, relate to these characters? ** "

And so I put it back on the rack. Walked out of the store, and promptly forgot the author's name (quite unintentionally) ***. But I hadn't forgotten about the book, by any means, and I promised myself that if and when I ever saw it again, I'd give it a closer look. A couple of months went by, and then I finally did find OUTLANDER again. I still hesitated (my thought at the time was, it's an awfully big book to buy if you're not sure ahead of time if you'll like it or not).

So I went home without buying it, again, and with the name of the book and the author firmly fixed in my memory this time <g>, looked up the Amazon reviews. (Lots of talk in there about the Wentworth scenes, but I'd already had a bit of warning about that, having flipped through the book in the bookstore. The first bit of a scene I read was the part where Jamie tells Claire about the fortress inside him, so I knew something awful was going to happen to him. But I had no idea just how devastating it would be. Not a clue.)

I was still wavering, undecided, and then I got a B&N gift card for my birthday. And I figured, why not? <g>

* Took me a LONG time to learn otherwise. (For those of you who don't know, Diana was born and raised in Arizona, and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ.)

** Mea culpa #1 (This particular thought makes me want to go back in time and slap myself. )

*** Mea culpa #2. I would have been hooked two or three months earlier if I'd just bought the darn book the first time I saw it! <wry g>

What about the rest of you? At what point did you find the series, and what made you decide to read the books the first time?

21 comments:

NBB said...

I still remember quite vividly how I came to read Outlander.
Back then we were about 4 or 5 girls in my class who lent favourite books to each other. One day one of the girls came up to me and said "There's this book I think you'll like. It's fat and the story takes place in Scotland."
She knew well enough that I didn't need any more info. :)
That was around the time Drums of Autumn had been published in Germany. Needless to say I got hooked immediately :)

Nina

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

About 5 years agao, in the supermarket, I ran into a friend of mine and told her I was reading "The Time Traveler's Wife." Right away she began to tell me how I had to read about this guy, Jamie Fraser, in the Outlander books. She went on and on in the soup aisle and convinced me to buy the books. I bought the first 4 from Amazon and then sat on them for a year without reading them. Finally, I picked up Outlander, and the rest is history. It changed my life and I became a devotee of the series.

Anonymous said...

I love the books...they are actually my moms favorite and she convinced me to read them. I just got into the series last fall (to the point if the baby I have in Oct is a girl it will have Claire as a middle name). I have been dying for Echo because all the others were ready as soon as I finished the previous one. Oh well just a few more months.

Lauren

Joanne said...

Oh, I love this topic, because finding DG's books has literally changed my life! I have always enjoyed reading, particularly historical novels (James Michener is a favorite) and mysteries. But in 1998, life became just too busy for me to even think about picking up a book -- I had a 2 yr. old, a 1 yr. old, had just had to have emergency surgery, and both my beloved mother and father were each battling their own fight with cancer. To say that I had alot on my plate is an understatement. But a cousin of mine, who also enjoys the same types of books, said to me, "If you get a chance, you should read this book called 'Outlander'..." And she proceeded to talk about walking through stones to the past, and a brush with witchcraft, and my ears perked up. Sounds wonderful, I thought, but I have more of a chance of walking through stones myself than having time to get to a bookstore to look for it! But miracle of all miracles, I found myself in B&N with the babies to get some baby books, and while I was there, I thought I'd take a look at Outlander (if I could find it) and see if it looked as interesting as it first sounded. I did find it, (the small mass market copy that is red with the clock face) and was surprised to find that there were two more books in the series. Now, I was immediately intrigued with Outlander and knew I'd kick myself if I enjoyed it and wanted the other two, so I took a leap of faith and bought all three! Got home and decided it was important for my mental health to take some time for myself and try to get back into a good book -- (it had been so long since I had this luxury) and the rest is history! I was hooked in a bad (or is it good?) way! I recommend the books to just about everyone now (but I would never, I repeat NEVER lend out my books - I can't be without them!) I adore the Outlandish Companion and flip through it often whenever I need a fix, and now my kids are old enough to exclaim, "Mom, how many times are you going to read those books!!??" There is one thing, though,that I have discovered since finding Diana Gabaldon -- no other author, in my humble opinion, can match the quality of her writing, and very few books that I have read in recent years can stand up to her genius. She has me totally spoiled!!

Anonymous said...

In !992 i worked in a bookstore and a lady bought Outlander. I asked her how she liked it and she said it was very good & i should order one for myself. The rest is history and I have had to WAIT ( whine ) for each new one to come out!

Karen Henry said...

Joanne:

"No other author, in my humble opinion, can match the quality of her writing, and very few books that I have read in recent years can stand up to her genius. She has me totally spoiled!!"

I've heard a lot of people say this, and I agree. Not sure I would use the word "genius" (she's a human being like the rest of us <g>) but extraordinary talent, definitely!

Karen

Karen Henry said...

Anonymous:

1992? Wow! I always feel like such a newbie compared to those of you who have been fans since the beginning. ECHO is the first one of Diana's books that I have had to wait for. I just can't imagine what it must have been like in those years between DRAGONFLY and VOYAGER. <shudder>

Karen

B Lines said...

I was working as an assistant librarian for a small county library at the time I found Outlander. I was and still am an avid reader, and I was looking for something juicy I hadn't read before. As I perused the shelves, the dust jacket jumped out at me. When I read the blurb, I was hooked immediately. I waited impatiently for each book to be purchased by the librarian. She and I read them before we allowed them to be checked out. Eventually, I bought all of them, and have read them twice so far. I'm looking forward to the release of Echo.

I've read many books that claim to be like Diana's, but none measure up in my opinion.

Zo-Be Designs said...

My mom made me read them. Seriously, she did. She kept telling me to read them and I kept putting it off because "I don't read romance" novels. Well, I finally took the plunge and and gave Outlander a chance. Thank the Gods I did! I was hooked from the very beginning and have now read all of the books 2 or 3 times each.

Joanne said...

Hey, Karen -
Using my best Jamie impersonation: "I dinna say she was a saint, lass; only verrrrra smart, ye ken?" :)

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I am a Twilight fan. I accually became one a couple of months ago. After I was done reading all the Twilight books a couple of times, I did not know what to read next. I went on to Twilight blogs to see if anyone else had any other suggestions on what to read next...just on a whim, I decided to try someones suggestion to read the Outlander series. I really was not sure what to expect! Especially since it started in Scotland...I told myself why not give the book a try...last year my husband I traveled to Ireland, thinking my husband's family history was from there...but now we think it may be Scotland...maybe I can learn something from this book ;)...I am now obessed! I want to read all of them before An Eco in the Bone comes out! Renee McComb

Atalaya said...

I discovered the Outlander saga in 1998 thanks to a school friend who borrowed the book from another friend.
My friend was reading a chapter or two every night and the next day, before entering class, she
described the chapters down to the last detail to us.
In the middle of the story it had me so hooked I decided to buy the book without waiting to hear the end, and from there began my love for this series.
Now I have the habit of reading at least once a year Outlander, and I still like the book as the first day!
I fondly remember how my friend told us about Jamie , how we hate Randall and how we envied Claire.

Anonymous said...

I was out of something to read and wandering around Borders in the spring of 1999 and an assistant told me I would love Outlander... I was 17 & I read it cover to cover and was HOOKED! I read the first three all in a row, and had to wait for the rest each time, it was torture in between each one- I started a tradition of re-reading Outlander and then the most recent book in preparation for each new one. So far, it's a toss up between Dragonfly In Amber, and Snow and Ashes for a personal favorite.

When I was 19 and about three books deep, I moved to Ireland and met a very tall man named Colm that initially reminded me of Jamie. We got married last year. Thanks to DG for that one, wonder if she knows she was basically my wingman the night I met my husband lol

Heather said...

i was having a book club meeting/girls night out with two friends in march, 2009. my two boys (aged 2 1/2 and 10 months at the time) were down with a stomach bug, and i took a much-needed break and left the boys with my husband. my friend suggested that the next book we read be Outlander.
when i found out it was the first in a series, i had some misgivings. i really didn't want to get into another series (after Harry Potter, and some others) because i really didn't have time to be reading several books, and i knew that if i enjoyed the first one, i'd want to read the second one immediately, and the subsequent ones right afer the other. nonetheless, i waited for a week for it to arrive at my library (i rarely buy books for the simple reason that i read them too quickly and have limited space on my bookshelves.) i could not put that book down. i couldn't wait to get home from the grocery store, or whatever other errand i was running, and open it up and read more. i found myself setting toys in front of my boys in the living room, and sitting down (in the same room--i'm not that bad of a parent!) with my book. i can't believe i neglected them that way, but naptime was too far away! i was hooked, and as soon as i finished outlander, i ran to the library and picked up dragonfly.
needless to say, i have since bought all the books, and made space for them on my bookshelf (right next to Harry Potter.) i also have my wits about me to be a better mommy to my growing boys than i was in the few weeks it took me to read those first 6 books!! thank goodness for that!

Anonymous said...

I guess it was in 1999. I had just moved out with my parents to go to university. But I still had a subscription at my old library. Every time I went there, I took the biggest books I could find, as they would have to last me a couple of weeks. So one day I picked up Outlander. Reading the short description on the cover, I thought it was some corny romance (you just can't trust the people who write these things!). But hey, I needed a big book, so I took the chance.
That semester, I skipped classes. I just could not stop reading. I remember sitting at my desk. I was supposed to study for my exams. But I just HAD to finish Outlander first.
When I finally did, I spent half an hour staring at the wall in front of me. I was overwhelmed. When I got out of my "trance", I wrote down Diana's name on a piece of paper, along with "Jamie Fraser".
This was before we had internet access, so it was a while before I found the scrap of paper again and took it with me to the library. There, I found out that there were two more books! Wow!
After Voyager, I just started buying the books myself. And have been re-reading them ever since. I must have read Outlander at least 10 times, in Dutch and English.

Tiffany Terry said...

I know this is an old post, but for those that came in late like I did, I thought I'd post my story!
About a year ago, so late 2012, I got an Audible subscription and was looking for the biggest book I could find to really get the most "bang for my buck" for my monthly $16 credit. I don't remember how I came across Outlander, but took one look at the length of it, and the rest of the books in the series, and figured that would last me a while!!
After I finished Outlander, I still had another 2 weeks until I got my next monthly Audible credit and I about died - and it was the same for the next 6 books! I'd always have this period of about 2 weeks that would be torture!
After I finished Echo, I immediately looked up when MOBY would be coming out. To stave me off, I decided to read the Lord John books. I read all but Zombies & Scottish Prisoner and heard people were re-reading the entire series in preparation for MOBY and thought that was a good idea so decided to wait and read those two after I did Voyager again.
I am SOOOOO hooked on this series. I recently got a friend started and she and I are on the same book as I re-read, but she's about a week behind me. I figure she'll catch up when I get to those 2 Lord John books!
My husband has overheard some of it while we're in the car together and now calls it my "smut" because of the sex scenes. I am adamant that it is NOT SMUT, but he is not a reader and so just does not understand... *sigh...

Anonymous said...

I worked night shift at the hospital; one of my patients(she was in for a knee replacement) had a copy on her bedside table. she said a friend brought it for her to take to rehab. I read the flyleaf and on my next trip to the library asked for it. The librarian told me it was a good choice, I was lucky because there is always a waiting list for her books. that there is an almost 4 year wait before the next one. love talking to people about these books;and have talked a few into trying them. I smile whenever I think about that little lady in her 80's.

Chris said...

Chris said...
I had just retired after 45 years as an RN/nursing educator. We were staying in a small town in NC as part of our travels in 2007. We had visited Israel and the western US. We visited NC in the fall on our way back to Fl. I love big thick books and was in the town book store shopping. A book caught my eye. A paper back with a great cover and intriguing title, "Dragonfly in Amber". I Took it home and couldn't read it fast enough. Then noticed it was the second book in the series. I went to the library and read "Outlander". We returned to Fl and read the books already written up to A Breath of Snow and Ashes. They were wonderful. Just my kind of book full of detail, interesting characters, and intrigue, not to mention romance. I loved the medical connection especially. I hAve to agree with all the positive comments about DG's writing in other posts. My best friends are reading them as well as my husband. He is on his second time through. We are all watching and loving the series. I keep finding folks who have read them. We are Scots and joined the Friends of the Scottish Tartan Museum in our NC town. Our meetings start with Outlander updates. We frequently go to Highland Games for our group. We organize our annual Scottish festival in NC "Taste of Scotland" Where we live in the mountains of NC is not far from Fraser's Ridge. Many members of our NC church are fans also. We are all obsessed.

Mary Tormey said...

hi Karen , I love your story , it sounds a lot like mine I first discovered Outlander from a friend who works at B&N and knew that I had a love for Historic fiction , and said that Outlander would be perfect for me , so I bought the entire series , when I read the book for the first time , it just grabbed me and I knewed that I was reading something very special , cried like a baby reading the Wentworth scenes , but loved the ending , so I'm an Outlander Fans an will be one for many years to come , please post more soon. sincerely,

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen, something I forgot to mention the writing is suburb , Diana is a wonderful writer and from the start she just pulls you into the story , I found myself reading into the night , I'd be late for work , plus the characters are so life like that they stay in your mind days after so that's how I knew that Outlander was very special , no other book has done that so that's another readon why I love it so , please post more soon. Happy Holidays.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , one thing the Outlander Series did for me was get me through a very bad stay in the hospital a few years ago , I went to my local doctor to get a routine checkup and found Out I had to have surgery and a stay in the hospital , it was a shock to say the least , so I had to go through many tests then the surgery itself , plus once you're in the hospital the world gets shut out , so reading the Outlander Series helped out a lot , reading Jamie s ordeal at Wentworth Prison and the recovery he had to go through gave me the courage to get through mine so he was an inspiration to me , so for that 's one of the reasons why the series is so special to me , please post more soon. Sincerely