Male Readers for Outlander Series

April 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm (Reviews) (, , )

After I posted my review for Dragonfly in Amber, I got a Twitter response from author Diana Gabaldon. She stated that although it was a “lovely review” she doesn’t like her books classified as romance because “a) they aren’t b) doing so cuts off ALL the male readers and the female readers who don’t think they read THAT kind of book.”  While working in a bookstore and being taught to shelve her books in the romance section, I’d often heard the author had this preference against it, but had never done very much research concerning the matter.

The books are lovely.  There is sexual content, but it’s not all ripping bodices and whatnot typical of a romance novel.  In that regards I completely agree with her.  The truth is, I can’t think of a good section for this astounding author’s work.  I think they would get lost in the fantasy section and many bookstores don’t have their own historical fiction department.

What I love most about the books, is that even the store I worked, housed in the romance section, people sought her books out.  I agree that placing them in that section cuts off certain new readers, but once introduced, there is no stopping a man from waltzing into that wall of pink and half exposed breast covers to pick out the next in the series.  I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

That being said, I wanted to share this fan letter Diana Gabaldon has available on her site:

Thank you from an American Soldier (UNCLASSIFIED)
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE
I don't know if you will personally read this.  I hope and pray you do. No, I am not an obsessed fan.  But I am someone who enjoys your work. It has touched me on a very personal level. Please allow me to explain.
I am a soldier in the United States Army and have been for about 18 years.  I had my first of three long deployments in 2003.  I have deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.  And each time I took your books with me.  When I first bought Outlander, I am ashamed to say I only bought it because it was a very thick book. Getting ready to deploy I know that I would have a very long journey ahead of me.  On the plane from Louisiana (where I was stationed) To New York to Maine to Italy then into Kuwait I couldn't put the damn thing down. :)
While I was deployed it was my escape.  I sent a message home to my mother to find other books in the series.  Lucky she found more.  I have to say that your books helped me escape the reality that war can be. When I suffered personal hardships (IED blasts, fire fights and death of my friends) your books were a way for me to escape and even if for a brief few moments a way for me to keep my sanity.  I am so very grateful to  you for that.
Since my first deployment each time I had to say goodbye to my son, your books were in my rucksack.  They are dog-eared and a bit worse for the wear...think Dragon Fly in the Amber even has a huge blood stain on it from when I got hurt. But I repaired them lovingly with what we call 90mph tape.  Anyway they have traveled all over the world with me.
It is because of your writing that I have chosen to get my degree before I retire (when ever that will be).  I have chosen history for my course of study.  Once again...thank you.
I know you are busy but I wanted to let you know how much your work means.  Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. God bless you and yours.
Very Respectfully,
SSG [name and unit omitted by request]
P.S. enclosed is a picture of me in Iraq on my most recent deployment and one of me at Gettysburg, Pa on mid tour leave.
Staff Sergeant [name and address omitted]    Attachment Classification: UNCLASSIFIED    Attachment Caveats: FOUO
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE


Isn’t that the most wonderful thing? To have the spawn of one’s imagination be so inspiring and comforting to so many people is such a glorious privilege.  That’s something that would inspire any writer to attempt to be such a story-teller.  And if that didn’t do it for you, read her bio, its quite impressive:

The 8th of The Outlander Series is thought to come out sometime next year.  I will be reading the 3rd (Voyager) in the next few months.  Anyone interested in a readathon?

Post Edit: I found this Outlander Reading Challenge and joined.

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