Since the release of the Outlander Starz Series 1 version of Diana Gabaldon’s tales of the adventures of Jamie and Claire, I’ve been returning time and again to the well-loved books to refresh my memory of the stories and complete the reading of the series (currently 8 main books, and many side tales).
I began to realise the power of Ms Gabaldon’s storytelling to attract visitors to Edinburgh when, back in 2013, Craigwell Cottage hosted the author and chef, Theresa Carle Sanders, known for cooking her way through the stories in her Outlander Kitchen. Read more
Well, certainly failing in the target for reading, but things like the Moonwalk and other pleasures have been getting in the way.
I’ve brought the weighty tome along with me on holiday and have been undertaking to get back on track with my reading. You may have gathered by now that I’m no great shakes on this history lark. Just couldn’t summon any great enthusiasm, preferring fictionalised accounts rather than lists of facts.
Must say that my reading of Chapters 9 onwards have felt like torture – book falling on my nose as I drop off after ploughing through a few paragraphs and so on.
But, having slogged up to the Battle of Bannockburn over my muesli the other morning (yes, I’m such fun on holiday!), I’m finding a little more of the story resonating. As soon as we got to James I and the building of Linlithgow Palace I began to get interested. Reading is of course a personal journey, and I think that I’ll have difficulty in recalling many facts of battles won and lost and parts of the countryside traversed. But I can relate to a king who wanted to build a palace and decorate it in the grandest style of the times. And I liked the tale of how he fell in love with a lady and wrote poetry.
It also seemed that the history as portrayed in this book is a timeline moving from one ruler to the next, one battle to the next in a weary procession. Surely this isn’t the way to interest a non-historian like me? I’d thought at the beginning of the book that I’d be hooked by the sense of place which was being conveyed, and now I find that all these endless battles just don’t do it for me. No idea of how the ‘common people’ lived from day to day – how was it to be a citizen of this emerging nation?
Am I hopelessly lost in my need for domestic details rather than the ‘hanging, drawing and quartering’ of the would-be leaders of men?