I love to read. I’ve loved reading since I was young. Harry Potter was my favorite series of all time until 2007, when I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon during an English 101 course at our local community college. I was finished with the first book before the end of the semester and had to go back and skim chapters to be sure I was prepped for quizzes. I could not put it down. I stayed up well into the night reading, and took the book with me everywhere I went. I had caught the bug, I read the series that entire summer, during my pregnancy, then nursing my wee little lad, and then again when I was pumping at work.
My professor described Outlander as a little bit of everything; it has elements of sci-fi, romance, drama, mystery, history, war, the list goes on and on. It tells the story of Claire, an accidental time-traveler, as she navigates her new life in the eighteenth century. She’s intelligent, stubborn, and devoted, and she’s got frizzy curly hair, which I love. There are currently eight books in the series, and they all spring off of Claire’s life and family. They are interesting, funny, suspenseful, gritty, sexy, romantic, and devastatingly heartbreaking. Gabaldon has also written several short stories and novellas about other supporting characters.
I know that I love Outlander for the same reasons I loved (LOVE) Harry Potter: the characters. I love them and I take their stories with me throughout the days and years. Isn’t that what a good story does? My mother and my boyfriend have both listened to parts of Claire and Jamie’s stories during long road trips with me or at times when I just couldn’t shake them from my head. If you read Outlander you’re going to need to have your friends read it too because there’s just no better way to enjoy it than by reliving and discussing the story and characters with friends.
As my son moved out of that baby phase, it became harder to maintain my reading habit. Wait, no, let me clarify: it’s gotten harder to maintain any of my habits. Kids need things and it’s our job as parents to balance meeting their needs without neglecting our own. We are parents, partners, students, employees, and so many more things, it sometimes is easy to forget we’re people too and our needs and wants count. We place so much emphasis on reading to our children, shouldn’t we place emphasis on reading for ourselves?
Reading is a wonderful relief and escape, and sometimes I need that. Have I been able to devour Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (the eighth in the Outlander series)? Absolutely not, I’m just over halfway through it in several months. Do I make time to sit quietly by myself and read because it makes me feel wonderful? Yes, and guilt free.
So please, go grab a copy of Outlander from your library, from the store, listen free with a trial subscription to Audible (which as an aside, I think is worth the $14.99 per month membership), or watch it on Starz, and tell me what you think! Or, tell me about your favorite series and characters that I should check out next! Find your own self-care balance and enjoy!