Archive for Read-alongs

Today is the sixth and final discussion day for the Outlander Read-Along. Can you believe the end is finally here?! This week’s questions come from Jacinda at The Reading Housewives:

1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?

I’m pretty lucky in that it takes a lot for me to get queasy. Motion and height related things don’t make me feel sick, which is awesome. I feel terrible for anyone that suffers from it! Even gross sights and smells don’t get me. My natural inclination isn’t to gag or barf. Lucky me?

2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamieâ??s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claireâ??s methodâ??s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)? 

It was like a bad car wreck – I had to know. Had to know what had happened in that cell, but yet I didn’t want to know with equal ferocity. If I didn’t know, it didn’t happen, right? 

Wishful thinking.

Randall is disgusting, and there wasn’t much Jamie could have done differently. He did exactly what he had to do – he survived. That’s all you can ask of anyone taken captive. Just survive. I thought Claire’s tactics were pretty risky to try and get Jamie to re-live his torture. I’m not sure I could handle doing that to my husband – but it seemed to work so kudos. I guess. 

3. This cover:

â??history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soulâ?¦you know the usual stuff of literature.â?

Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?

I wish this book had more about the time travel. It’s only a time travel book in the sense that it happens, but beyond that it’s really just a historical romance with an anachronistic heroine. The later books do focus a bit more on the time travel – how it happens, and to whom – but these pieces are often placed far between larger plot lines that deal with historical stuff. 

But I love the historical details and learning about a country and period I don’t know much about. When Claire and Jamie start landing in different parts of the world it gets even more interesting. And the battle scenes are pretty badass. I love seeing Jamie as a leader, both in a military and political sense. 

4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you havenâ??t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.

I love this book mostly for the characters of Jamie and Claire. They are so…alive. My favorite quotes and scenes are mostly the things they say to each other about life and love. Diana Gabaldon seems to really understand people, and how spouses should be partners, and so she has amazing ways of expressing the heart of relationships. Two favorite lines are the one where Jamie says there is room for secrets, but not lies, in respect. I absolutely believe that no person should be forced to not keep secrets. Everyone needs a bit of privacy, even from their spouse, but that never means lying. The other favorite is when he says he can’t possess her soul without losing his own. I like that their relationship is built on give-and-take, and not ownership. They must each love the other in equal parts in order to find the balance of power between them. I love that. 

5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you whoâ??ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?

I loved getting the chance to re-read this, especially through the eyes of the new readers. It’s awesome to get to see the perspective during the read. So often I recommend the book, and then just hear whether or not they liked it later. To see what people think as they read it for the first time is fun!

The Outlander books are sort of like the TV series LOST for me. I’ll keep reading them as long as there are new ones to read, but I get less enjoyment out of each new installment because I’m getting more questions than answers. Still, I love the world and the characters too much to ever give up on them. 

*Bonus #1* Take the Outlander QUIZ on Goodreads and tell us how you did!*

I got 14 out of 15! I overthought the last question. It was one of those where I confused later books with this one.

*Bonus #2* Claire is able to visit the library at The Abbey. Share with us pictures or a description of your own personal drawing of your dream library. Feel free to share more than one. Some of you may even have a Pinterest board full of inspiration, please share!

If you read along with us this week, be sure to link up your post or share your thoughts in the comments!

To link up your post this week, visit Jess at Gone with the Words.





Outlander Read-Along Chapters 29-35

Jul
16
7 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Read-alongs, Reading challenges

Today is the fifth discussion day for the Outlander Read-Along. This week’s questions come from yours truly:

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

I have to admit that I kind of find Lallybroch boring, which is funny to me because in later books we see Claire and Jamie in simple domesticity A LOT. So why Lallybroch makes me yawn is beyond me, but it does. Hopefully I’m not the only one. 

That said, I totally love Ian and Jenny. I’m glad we get to meet Jenny, in particular. The dynamic she has with Jamie is hilarious (I love the splinter comment!). And Ian makes a good partner for her. I also like getting to know more about Jamie through the stories from his past. He’s truly a fleshed out character who has been shaped by his experiences, and I’m glad Diana Gabaldon takes the time to share them with us.

2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall? 

This story makes me want to simultaneously sob and cheer. Jenny is one of my favorite women that Gabaldon writes, and I wish we got to spend more time with her. Jenny clearly shares Jamie’s ability to read people and situations, and remain cool under pressure. She’s a quick thinker who was able to use perceived weakness to her advantage – just as we see Jamie calculate similar battle scenarios time and again. I admire her bravery and wish I could feel like I’d do the same thing.

Randall. Hoo boy. Despite the experience Claire had with him, this event really sealed him in my mind as a sexual predator and deviant. He relies on power and sadism to feed his desires, and knowing that women are not his preference makes him all the more ominous considering his fixation on Jamie. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things? 

I love thinking about repercussions when it comes to time travel. Can Claire really alter the future by telling Jenny to plant some potatoes? What if she had been able to tell Black Jack the date of his death? (And what a tease for the reader, right?!) I personally feel that every action has a consequence, though it could be minor. Maybe Jenny surviving the devastation as war wouldn’t have an impact on the world. I think if I was Claire, I’d resist saying anything about the future, if only to err on the safe side.

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

Is it cheating to say both? Claire is often both brave and foolish, but I can’t blame her for wanting to try. I think walking into that prison and pretending I actually had business there would be scary, but probably also exhilarating. My actor self would love the challenge, that’s for sure. But I have to say that I’m not that surprised that Claire did it – she does whatever she wants anyway, and she never lets fear get the best of her. Plus, where would the story go if she didn’t?

5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?

I did kind of blame Claire, if only for pissing off Randall even further. Claire is constantly winding up in harm’s way, and having to rely on Jamie to get them out of it. I suppose we’re to accept that Jamie would have made the same choice to protect anyone from Black Jack. After all, early in the book we see him accept a whipping for Laoghire just to save her the shame and pain of it. Still, I hate seeing him give in to Jack’s wishes, especially after that creepy kiss and the mess he mad he made of Jamie’s hand. My biggest fear for Claire would be that Jamie might not be able to forgive her after whatever is still to come. We shall see…

If you read along with us this week, be sure to link up your post or share your thoughts in the comments!

To link up your post and get next week’s discussion questions, visit Jacinda at The Reading Housewives.





Today is the fourth discussion day for the Outlander Read-Along, and it’s my turn to host! I’m so excited! But before we get to the big reveal of my questions for next week, let’s get back to our discussion. This week’s questions come from Asheley at Into the Hall of Books:

1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie’s punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire’s actions? Finally, did Jamie’s vow with Claire’s dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment? 

The idea of a husband beating his wife is appalling at best and unforgivable at worst. In this case, I certainly felt Claire’s humiliation and loss of control, and it was not pleasant to read. That said, this was not a case of a man beating a woman simply to exact punishment or keep her in line. It’s much more complex than that. As Jamie said, if any person had done that, there would be a severe punishment to follow. Claire was not being treated differently than anyone else. Had she gone AWOL while serving as an Army nurse, she would have been punished. How is this different? Sure, we’ve moved beyond corporal punishments in our time, but back then, they hadn’t. I do wish, however, that Jamie hadn’t enjoyed it so much. Ick.

2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____? 

Once it started moving, I was pretty sure it was a bug of some type. The way Jamie was so casual about it was pretty unsettling. I despise the thought of creepy crawlies on me while I sleep, and this aspect of living in the past would gross me out. I spent a week in rural India a few years ago, and always tucked my mosquito net under my bedding to form a shield that would keep the bugs from crawling under the net and onto my bed. Ugh. I hate bugs. 

3. With regard to the ‘changeling’ baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild – if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you’d have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain. 

My first instinct would be Claire’s – to help the poor, innocent, obviously sick child. I understand Geilie’s pragmatism, though. It’s dangerous to interfere with people’s ancient beliefs, particularly as an outsider. As much as Claire wanted to help the baby, there probably wasn’t much she could do for it, and certainly not without risking an entire town full of people coming for her head. These people used these beliefs to find comfort during the death of an ailing child, and even though I don’t understand how parents could put a baby alone in the woods just because it cries a lot, you have to respect the way of the world in areas that are not your own. I could probably write 10 entries on cultural interference and globalization, so I’ll just stop there.

4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning?

I think it goes without saying at this point, but SPOILERS AHEAD. 

I got a weird vibe from Geilie from the beginning. I never liked her, despite Claire’s insistence on befriending her. Kudos to Diana Gabaldon for implanting negative impressions through subtext. Geilie is always full of surprises, between murdering her husband, revealing a MacKenzie pregnancy, and publicly claiming she was a witch to save Claire, but absolutely the biggest surprise was the reveal that she had a small pox vaccination scar. That was one of those game-changer moments for me that hooked me into this series for good. Another time traveler? Will Claire find more? Will she see Geilie again? Will she find answers about the stones? That was a reveal to beat all other reveals – unexpected and majorly impactful. SO AWESOME.

5. Your thoughts on Jamie’s LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire – the one he had been so secretive about. GO!

With all of his big brute manliness, it’s so easy to forget that Jamie is young and inexperienced in love. Sure he’s in his twenties, which is well into adulthood in his time, but much of his life has already been spent fighting and working and in hiding or captivity. He hasn’t had the blessed idleness of modern living, where you get hours to dream about your first love. I thought it was really sweet and touching that he revealed that Claire was really his first love, in a way. He married her because he wanted to be with her and because he was falling in love with her. Twue wuv! Swoon!

If you read along with us this week, be sure to link up your post below or share your thoughts in the comments!


MY QUESTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK!

Chapters 29-35

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall?

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things? 

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?


Don’t forget to link up your discussion posts for this week!








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