It’s been a rainy weekend, but that’s perfect weather for reading.
Because I joined the Outlander Series Reading Challenge, and because I haven’t read the last several books in the series, I have been rereading the first book, [amazon_link id=”1419381016″ target=”_blank” ]Outlander[/amazon_link]. Actually, I’ve been listening to it. I used my Audible credits to go ahead and pick up the entire series in audio format because I had heard that the narrator, Davina Porter, was particularly good. She is.
It’s strange what you pick up on when you reread books. I have read Outlander twice before. The first time I read it was in 1999. At that time, I read the first four books in the series, which were the only ones published then. I have never finished any of the books published after [amazon_link id=”044022425X” target=”_blank” ]Drums of Autumn[/amazon_link], but I did start [amazon_link id=”0440221668″ target=”_blank” ]The Fiery Cross[/amazon_link]. One of the things I think Gabaldon is very good at is character development and description. She can really bring a scene to life. However, for the first time, and perhaps I noticed it because I was listening, sometimes she includes scenes that don’t necessarily move the plot forward. They do develop the characters more, but I wonder if that could be done more efficiently with scenes that push the plot forward. I wonder if it is a side effect of her writing process. I know she is a “scene stitcher.” She has described composing individual scenes and then sewing them together. Obviously, not all of her scenes work like that. Some of them are critical plot points.
Of course, in the case of Outlander, I don’t complain about these scenes, but every single book in the series is a chunkster, and I do wonder if it will become a problem as the series wears on, particularly on a reread. I happen to love the first book, and I remember loving the second, but it did seem to me that each successive book wasn’t quite as good. I know for a fact that I prefer Jamie and Claire in Scotland to just about every other setting, but I know that they must stay in America after The Fiery Cross.
One of the reasons I am particularly enjoying listening to the audio book instead of reading is that I can hear all the wonderful accents. Davina Porter gives a slightly different voice to each character, and listening to the book is quite enjoyable as a result.