Thursday, April 29, 2010

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This is my new favorite modern (i.e. not Jane Austen) book! Thank you, Susan Strasinger, for recommending this. I will advise anyone who wishes to read this book with the same advice Susan gave me: listen to it as a book on tape! The story takes place in Scotland, and the English and Scottish accents of Davina Porter make this book so much more authentic than I ever could have in my head.
Confession: This book is a romance. I had never read a romance before this...I plan to read all 7 books currently in this series and keep up from then on.
Premise: A WWII nurse from 1945 travels back in time and falls in love with a Scottish Highlander in 1743. They get married, and romance ensues. Notice: the romance does not happen until they are married.
Thought: I like this book because the adventure begins in earnest once Jamie and Claire marry. It is not like the YA books I read where life ends at marriage. This is a nice paradigm shift in my a shift to what should be my reality; when reading this book, I really felt like an adult. Sometimes the YA books I read (for my job as a high school librarian) make me feel like a teen with immature emotions. The emotions in this book are so mature!
Literary Value: My teacher-friend Susan and I have been getting together at lunch to discuss this book. It has been such a joy to see lierary merit in a book for the pleasure of it, not because I have to look for symbols because I need to teach them. Symbols/ metaphors to look for as you read: (1) nail in the hand symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ for the Church, (2) St. Anslem allusion, and (3) preservation of Jamie's whole body (hand) and preservation of Jamie as a whole man (soul).
Discussion: If you read this book, please add any other symbols/metaphors/points for discussion that you wish to include.
Task: For the next hour, live your life thinking about what a person from 1743 would think of the things we do, even really mundabe tasks. I just did it while unloading my dishwasher. If you participate, let me know what things you do that would blow the mind of someone from the past...maybe even make him/her think you were a witch (hint, book readers!).