Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series was recommended to me last year by some of my colleagues and because I am always looking for new books to read, I did what any booklover would do – I went to the Children’s Hospital Book Market at St. Vital Mall with my dad and we stocked up.
It was fun to search through the endless tables of books in the fiction section just to find the three Gabaldon books that were for sale. They may have been hard to find but I took this as a good sign – people who have read the Outlander series clearly liked the books so much that they wanted to hold on to them rather than sell them. I started reading the series this summer and guys, it is booklover approved. Here are some reasons why I like it.
Historical Fiction and “Getting It”
I read a lot of historical fiction and one of the reasons I like this genre is because I like history. I took a lot of history courses in university because it’s essential to understand the past in order to understand the present (you must be thinking, “duh, Katrina” – bear with me). I started reading historical fiction related to the conflicts I was studying (let’s be real – textbooks don’t do it all and frankly, they can be pretty boring), which helped me interpret past and present events on a deeper level. Historical fiction helps me “get it.” I started out reading historical fiction for an academic reason but now I’m hooked.
How does this relate to Outlander?
The first book in the series, Outlander, is – for the most part – set in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1740s. That’s right, Outlander is historical fiction (with a neato sci-fi twist). The subsequent books take you to France, the West Indies, the American colonies, and I’m sure the list goes on (I’ll admit that I’m only on the 4th book of 8). It’s a well-written and fascinating series.
Scotland’s Vote for Independence/Katrina, when will you get to the point of this post?
Anyways, the whole reason I brought up Outlander is because the first two books are all about the Jacobite Rising (a rebellion of Scots against British rule) and the consequences of that rebellion. This brings me to the real point of this post. Reading historical fiction has helped me understand and interpret not only the past but current events as well. Reading the Outlander series has provided context for the recent vote in Scotland for Independence and because I read the series, I was that much more interested in what the results of the vote would be and what kind of fall out we would see either way. Super fun stuff.
Lastly, Outlander the TV series
Also relevant to this subject is the premier of Outlander the TV series. I like watching it not only for the attractive men in kilts (not usually my thing), the delightful accents, and the period-costumes, but also because I’m interested in seeing how the show will recreate and depict scenes from the books. You should probably watch it.
Outlander airs Sunday nights on Showcase.
For fun, you should also check out this Buzzfeed list: http://www.buzzfeed.com/melaniepoloff/21-verra-verra-braw-reasons-why-sam-heughan-is-the-dhod?sub=2950370_2348945 #4 explains how to properly pronounce “Sassenach”, the Scottish word for Outlander. Very informative and pretty sexy. Enjoy!