Sassenachs and Ruddadills

Yummy KiltFor all my MANhandlers, today’s picture is a .gif taken from Google images. Given my penchant for men in kilts, particularly with Doc Marten’s (or, in this case, work boots), I thought this was totally appropriate. I want under his man-skirt in a bad way. LOL

Today’s blog topic is about favorite literary classics, past or present. I have to admit that my mindย immediately went to Diana Gabaldon. There is no other book that moves me quite like Outlander. That this is the novel’s 20th anniversary only makes this blog post sweeter from me. I love all of the books that follow Outlander, provided they have Jamie Fraser in them, though Outlander will always be the first thing to cross my mind when someone asks me to name my favorite book. It was like losing my literary virginity in so many ways — thrilling, poignant, slightly painful, something worth doing sober and definitely worth the wait.

Diana’s tale covers Claire Randall, a Sassenach (foreigner) and nurse who served in World War II, who has just reunited with her husband in Scotland after (essentially) a seven year separation. Through an innocent turn of events, she passes through Craigh na Dun, a small standing stone circle and ends up in 1743. She’s subjected to a series of events that result in her marrying Jamie Fraser out of necessity despite the fact she’s still married to Frank Randall in 1947. She struggles with the morality of it, but she and Jamie ultimately fall in love. Real love. That kind of love that transcends time, space, distance, separation and the worst mankind can do to one another. Their love is rich and bitter and sweet, so real that I still get swept up in the tale every time I read it.

What is it about Diana Gabaldon that makes her writing so off-the-chain crazy good? It’s her ability to deal in human emotions, wrapping the story with actual significant historical events (i.e. the Scottish Uprising with the Bonnie Prince Charlie). There’s intrigue, family dynamics, politics, murder and more. I’m getting pulled into the memory of the story just writing this. I can see a re-read coming on. They’re going to make a mini-series out of the novel. The cable channel, Starz, has purchased the rights. I hope like mad they don’t screw it up. I haven’t decided if I’ll watch it or not. I don’t want it to ruin the images I have in my head of what the characters look like, Jamie Fraser in particular. Sometimes the classics should just be left alone.

My other favorite story isย Watership Down. I first read this story in 5th grade. Yes, 5th grade. I had an amazingly gifted English teacher. While I didn’t understand the political position of the novel for years, this novel cemented my desire to write, particularly in worlds that parallel our own. The story covers a warren of rabbits who are driven from their home and forced to relocate to a safer place. There are dangers at every turn. “Ruddadills” (sp?) were cars. I remember the terror of having to cross the highway with the rabbits. I remember the emotions evoked in this tale of resettlement and the struggle to survive. That such a novel would stick with me for thirty years, that it would be one I can re-read even now and pick up new nuances, still amazes me. Ironically, this novel was made into a movie. It can’t hold a candle to the book.

Both books are classics, though very different. It strikes me now, as I write, that both deal in love and loss and political unrest. Strange that they both appeal to me so much and for such disparate and similar reasons. I’m off to ponder this, take a deeper look at meanings and messages and such.

Drop me a line and let me know what your favorite novel(s) is/are. I’m always on the lookout to find “new” classics. And what better place to get a recommended read than from a reader?

Posted on April 3, 2013, in Denise Tompkins and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Yes! The Outlander series is my absolute hands down favorite series. Long after I have finished reading the books I find myself thinking of the characters. They really become a part of you. I will be doing a re-read as soon as we get a better idea of when book 8 will be released ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m a complete Gabaldon junky. I’ve met her and she’s wonderful. She even had me send in my original hardback Outlander and signed it for me. I swear, if Starz (who bought the rights to develop Outlander into a mini-series) screws it up, I’m going to go Highlander crazy on them. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • How exciting you got to meet her! She really is down to earth, to have you send her your copy so she could sign it, wow!! I wonder if Starz knew in advance how dedicated, consumed and serious the fans are. Their heads will be on a plate. I hope they do a proper job of it but really, how can anything compare to Diana’s words and what they create in our imaginations for us. Fingers crossed they come close though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Cool selection. Not too long ago I read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. I really, really enjoyed it. It may be one for your “new” classics. Harold Fry, recently retired and living in the south of England. He receives a letter from a friend he hasn’t seen in years. She is terminally ill and wanted to say goodbye. Unsure what to write back he walks to the post box and decides he’ll think a little longer. Walks to the next post box and the next. You can see what happens next. It is a beautiful story.

    • Oh! That sounds lovely! I’ll have to look that one up. I’m all about Diana Gabaldon and am anxiously awaiting her next book. I know it’s not the end of the series (thankfully), though I’m hoping fiercely for an HEA that transcends time, you know? I just can’t abide the thought of losing Jamie and Claire together. And the idea of Diana not telling this story any longer? Heartbreaking. But all good things must come to an end, so I’m already preparing myself.

      Thinking about these two classics have me craving a re-reading session of about 1,700 pages! Whoo, boy. I’m in trouble. ๐Ÿ˜€

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