How’s everyone surviving the long slump between Outlander seasons? I spent the past few months discovering new stories and fascinating characters by authors with beautiful, sometimes spine-tingling, imaginations. Here’s a brief sampling of my summer findings.
I kicked my reading frenzy off with American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen. It’s an eye-opening account of war and its toll on the soldiers fighting for each other and their country. Amid the descriptions of events we can only ever imagine, the late Mr. Kyle also showed off his sense of humor, creating a well-balanced autobiography. A highly recommended read.
Next, I read an extraordinary, turn-of-the-twentieth-century tale about the sacrifices of love in a world of magic, entitled The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The ethereal atmosphere and multiple characterizations are vivid and breathtaking. Ms. Morgenstern’s writing enables the reader to be more than a spectator and makes you wish the fictional spectacles could be made real. If you read only one new novel this year, make it The Night Circus.
I also read about the hardships and bravery of two young women – estranged sisters – during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, entitled The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The concurrent stories are solid, heart-wrenching and historically realistic, but I found the telling to be a bit disjointed in places, as if more than a single writer authored the novel. It’s a compelling look at the war behind the front lines of battle, revealing the desperate and brutal struggle for survival among the civilian population.
Along the way, I discovered a well-established Scottish author who is new to me – Peter May. He has an illustrious career as a storyteller and has written several novels. I am particularly engrossed with The Lewis Trilogy. It follows the contemporary story of a Scottish detective, Fin Lewis, who returns to his childhood home in the Outer Hebrides after a twenty-year absence. The writing is superb, the scenery bleak, the characters broken. Mr. May gives a down-and-dirty look at life in Fin’s small village.
Wonderful books and authors all, but Blake Crouch has kept me enthralled with his suspenseful novels for the last few weeks. I first read the Wayward Pines Trilogy, which was adapted earlier this summer into a single season television series starring Matt Dillon. The show was very good, but the books are great – if you like a mixture of scary, gory, and mysterious. I’ve read several of his other books, but Mr. Crouch’s Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite Series currently has me hooked. If you’re looking for a good ol’ adrenaline-pumping read, any of his books will do.
None of these books seem to have a connection with Outlander, but if you think about it, Outlander is a story about sacrifice, hardship love, war, Scotland, and has a mixture of suspense with a dash of gore. Perhaps I haven’t strayed so far from my favorite series of books by Diana Gabaldon, after all.
I’ll stop yakking now, and get on with it.
During this Outlander dry spell, I decided to whip out the Top 30 and dust it off. Luckily for us – though not so luckily for Jamie – I identified a bounty of awkward moments for Sam Heughan to showcase his acting talents. Hopefully, I can conjure a chuckle or two out of you as you take a stroll down memory lane. Here presented are my choices for Jamie’s Top 30 Awkward Moments from Outlander Season 1, Part 2.
30: Jamie’s Awkward Submission Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – Don’t know if this is awkward so much as devastating. Whatever you call it, it’s the worst moment of Jamie’s life – thus far.
29: Jamie’s Awkward Blow Moment from Ep109: THE RECKONING – Claire makes an early blow for Women’s Rights – not exactly the kind Jamie was hoping for tonight.
28: Jamie’s Awkward Regret Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – Talk about wanting to chew your arm off the morning after . . .
27: Jamie’s Awkward Awakening Moment from Ep112: LALLYBROCH – Jamie’s no fool, but as you recall, he acts like one in this episode. Here, he sheepishly takes his lumps from Claire.
26: Jamie’s Awkward Reminder Moment from Ep115: WENTWORTH PRISON – Remember this little doohickey? Randall asks. With increasing anxiety, Jamie watches the petition against the Redcoated psychopath go up in flames.
25: Jamie’s Awkward Proposition Moment from Ep112: LALLYBROCH – He wants me to what? Jamie’s first of many awkward moments with his obsessive nemesis.
24: Jamie’s Awkward Reprieve Moment from Ep115: WENTWORTH PRISON – There’s nothing like owing your stay of execution to the madman you should have killed when you had the chance. Yeah, I might have jumped here.
23: Jamie’s Awkward Shame Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – Claire loves you, Jamie. You never have to feel awkward with her. Well . . . maybe in Voyager . . . and A Breath of Snow and Ashes . . . and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood . . . but just a little, and it’s not usually your fault. Women.
22: Jamie’s Awkward Compassion Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – I sense several troubling emotions here, all stemming from Randall’s so-called compassion. I trust him more when he’s a cold son-of-a-b*tch.
21: Jamie’s Awkward Reunion Moment from Ep113: THE WATCH – As if the Watch’s presence at Lallybroch isn’t bad enough, the reappearance of Horrocks should have tingled Jamie’s spidey senses. Oops. I mean, should have set off the bat signal.
20: Jamie’s Awkward Disappearance Moment from Ep113: THE WATCH – Horrocks? Horrocks who?
19: Jamie’s Awkward Meeting Moment from Ep109: THE RECKONING – In this single awkward moment of rejection, everything changes. Yep, everything from here on out is Laoghaire’s fault.
18: Jamie’s Awkward Position Moment from Ep115: WENTWORTH PRISON – That tragic loss of all hope for defiance really sucks. Jamie makes the ultimate sacrifice here to save Claire.
17: Jamie’s Awkward Showdown Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – Beaten, maimed and humiliated, our hero puts up one last show of resistance against the inevitable.
16: Jamie’s Awkward Lie Moment from Ep113: THE WATCH – Nah, he didn’t really want kids anyway.
15. Jamie’s Awkward Decision Moment from Ep111: THE DEVIL’S MARK – It was good while it lasted, especially that last night by the fire.
14: Jamie’s Awkward Sex Moment from Ep109: THE RECKONING – Claire holds a small sword to Jamie’s throat during the most awkward round of sex on the show, but he still manages to finish.
13: Jamie’s Awkward Realization Moment from Ep111: THE DEVIL’S MARK – Crap! I beat my wife for the wrong reason?
12: Jamie’s Awkward Oversight Moment from Ep113: THE WATCH – They didn’t quite think this lie through, did they? Good thing MacQuarrie is more interested in drinking and mooching than finding out the truth – at least for tonight.
11: Jamie’s Awkward Confession Moment from Ep113: THE WATCH – Okay, so it’s more like Jamie’s really sexy, not so awkward confession with butter on his lips moment.
Finally, we arrive at Jamie’s most hilarious, dramatic and steamiest awkward moments of the second half of the season.
10: Jamie’s Awkward Moment Moment from Ep115: WENTWORTH PRISON – Jamie is just now realizing how hideously awkward his situation really is. Feel free to shudder.
9: Jamie’s Awkward Affections Moment from Ep110: BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS – Everyone pretty much tries to seduce Jamie in this show.
8: Jamie’s Awkward Hug Moment from Ep112: LALLYBROCH – There’s nothing like arduously hugging your whore of a sister.
7: Jamie’s Awkward Goodbye Moment from Ep110: BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS – Take a tender moment between two lovers and add one jackass uncle. Voilà! Awkward goodbye.
6: Jamie’s Awkward Uh-Oh Moment from Ep112: LALLYBROCH – There’s nothing like the dawning realization you just called your married sister and best friend’s wife a whore.
5: Jamie’s Awkward Kiss Moment from Ep109: THE RECKONING – If Laoghaire had been a shark, she would have bit him.
4: Jamie’s Awkward Denial Moment from Ep109: THE RECKONING – One of my favorite Claire moments, when wifey gives hubby a well-deserved, cold shoulder from under the comfy covers of the marital bed.
3: Jamie’s Awkward Question Moment from Ep111: THE DEVIL’S MARK – Are you a witch? Jamie asks. Probably should have asked *before* you married her.
2: Jamie’s Awkward Parting Moment from Ep111: THE DEVIL’S MARK – Thank goodness Claire doesn’t miss indoor plumbing, penicillin, and Frank enough to leave Jamie.
1: Jamie’s Awkward Interruptus Moment from Ep110: BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS – The only scene in the show where we all booed Murtagh.
And if you still can’t get enough of Sam Heughan, the audio book for The Fiery Trial Book 8 by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson releases on or near September 22nd – with the voice of, none other than, Mr. Heughan.