• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
    —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

How Do You Read?

How do you read?

I get frequent questions—from readers and interviewers—asking me whether I read. My initial response is always, “What, are you crazy?”, but I usually suppress this in favor of something more politic, like, “How can anybody not read?”

People do (not read, I mean), of course, horrifying as this concept is (my husband once had an employee who told him that her daughter had to read a book for school and so she had rented a copy for the child. Having been in her house, I’d noticed that she owned no books (totally creepy), but to have no idea of what or where the public library is?). But come on—to ask a professional novelist whether he or she reads?

Now, I do hear from other novelists who say that they can’t read books in their own genre, or can’t read while actively writing, and that makes some sense (I don’t read time-travel books, myself). But if you don’t read something, how do you refine your sensibilities, improve your craft, or merely fill up your creative well by listening to the lyrical song of someone else’s words?

Let’s put it this way: If there are any novelists who just don’t read, I probably don’t want to read what they write.

A refinement of the “Do you read?” question comes along every now and then, and this one is kind of interesting: “HOW do you read? I used to love reading, but now I have a job, kids, a house, etc., and I just seem to have no time to read anymore. I know you have a busy life, too, so I just wanted to ask, how do you manage to read?”

Now, that’s a question of logistics, isn’t it? So I took a look at “how” I read, physically. Because I do read pretty much all the time, and normally consume 3-4 books a week (lots more, when traveling), not counting whatever I’m reading for research. So how does it work?

Well, for starters, I always have at least one book within reach. If you’re accustomed to only reading in your favorite chair, when you have two or three hours of leisure, with a good light on and a glass of sweet tea beside you, then yeah, having a family is going to inhibit you some. I read everywhere. All the time.

I have a book on the counter while I’m cooking; I can’t (or shouldn’t {cough}) read while chopping vegetables, but I can certainly read while tearing up lettuce, sautéing garlic, or browning meat—and once something’s on the stove or in the oven, I just need to be there. No problem in reading while waiting for things to brown, cook, simmer, etc. (actually, I do pushups on my kitchen counter while reading during kitchen lag-time—I can read the back Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal and do 75 pushups (the sissy kind; I have weak wrists) while waiting for the dogs to eat their breakfast. (Why am I waiting for dogs to eat? Because the fat one eats faster and will muscle his brother out of the last quarter of his meal if I’m not watching)).

I have dogs; my son has dogs, and brings them down with him when he comes to visit. I take the rest of the Wall Street Journal to my office with me and whenever the dogs need to go out, I bring a chunk of it along—or if I’ve finished the paper, I grab my Kindle and read whatever’s up on that while the hounds burrow for gophers or play Questing Beast in the long grass and tumbleweeds.

I have a book on the bathroom counter and read while brushing teeth, applying sunscreen, and performing ablutions. I take the book into my closet and read while I’m getting dressed.

I try to walk five miles a day (and manage it about four days a week; get 2-3 miles on other days), with and without dogs. I have audiobooks on my iPod, and listen to these while walking (on my second re-listen of the entire Aubrey/Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian—great books, one of my all-time favorite series).

If I have books for review (I do occasional reviews for a newspaper) or waiting for possible blurbs (there’s a small stack of ARCs from publishers), I pick one up whenever I go downstairs and take it along on errands (always take a book to a doctor’s appointment or the post office, is my advice).

Poetry books, and nonfiction books that aren’t for research, but just interesting—I’m reading Simon Winchester’s KRAKATOA at the moment—I leave in the bathroom, and read in small, digestible chunks. That enables me to comprehend everything easily, as I’m seldom dealing with more than a page at a time. {g} Have had KRAKATOA in there for two weeks; about halfway through the book, and now know all kinds of fascinating stuff about plate tectonics, with THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS and John Mark Eberhart’s poetry collection, NIGHT WATCH, waiting for their turn.

The only time (other than traveling) I really read without doing something else is for a brief period after dinner, while my husband watches TV, and for a still briefer period after I’ve tucked him in bed, when the dogs and I lie down on the Taos bed, and I read for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep.

It’s sort of like the way I write. Not in concentrated stretches of 4-5 hours (I do know some writers who claim that’s the only way they can write, and more power to them), but in stretches of an hour at a time, two or three or four times a day (depending where I am in the course of a book; toward the end, I really do write nonstop for ten or twelve hours—bar bathroom breaks (during which I read) and meals (ditto)—but that phase luckily doesn’t last long).

For today: Just finished Charlaine Harris’s new Sookie Stackhouse novel, DEAD RECKONING (good as always) this morning, 35% of the way through Anne Perry’s TREASON AT LISSON GROVE, which I picked up right afterward, four more pages about subduction zones in KRAKATOA, and about 25 pages into the ARC of a thriller off the blurb pile. Plus entertaining stuff from WSJ about the medical maladies of historical characters and why birth-control pills make women marry less-masculine men (also good op-ed piece by a British writer on pusillanimous response of Brits to killing of bin Laden).

Now mind, I don’t watch television. That helps.

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167 Responses »

  1. No wonder your writing is so amazing! lol Love hearing what other people are reading! I too can’t imagine a good author would be one that didn’t read…i mean really?? And for lack of books…that is certainly not an issue in my house either. I came home from the library the other day and my neighbors daughter exclaimed that I had a lot of books!! I looked at the pile and counted 8 and said..nah not that many! I personally find that I always need a book in the car for the “waiting on kids” part of my day as well as for when my husband actually gets ahold of the tv remote, which with summer coming and the few shows I like dissapering will be frequently!

  2. Wow! You don’t waste a minute of life do you? It’s fantastic that you squeeze literary time into every spare second.

    I’m lucky because I have a half an hour train commute in the morning and have an hour again in the afternoon and that’s where I churn through novels. I do get quite engrossed in the stories though and have been known to miss my train stop…usually while reading the Outlander series :)

  3. Diana,
    I love to read myself. I have my ereader on me always. My husband looks at me and I know he is saying to himself, “Geesh woman, another book?” I can’t help but laugh at his face. I think that a novelist as yourself needs to know what everyone else is writing. I think it would make you a more well-rounded and knowlegable writer. I love all your books. Just keep doing what you are doing, obviously its working.
    Frances Lucia

  4. I always read, too. I can’t imagine a writer who doesn’t. Besides my extensive study shelves, I’ve recently bought a Kindle and OUTLANDER was my first purchase. Your books are lessons in every craft skill I can think of–not to mention, dang fine reads. ; )

  5. It’s really great to read about your reading habits.
    I read a lot too, still have a pile of books lying around in my room but at the moment I’m mostly reading free ebooks. It’s really astonishing how many free ebooks are out there which are free (well there are also bad ones).
    At the moment I’m totally into the Conversion books by S.C. Stephens. Great stuff. (http://www.feedbooks.com/userbook/11926/conversion)
    I couldn’t read multiple books at once but I have no problem with reading in front of the TV.
    Thanks for sharing how you read with us.

  6. Hi Diana-
    Wow…we have similar reading habits…while I cook, in the bathroom, around the house, wating at appts. and especially while waiting for my daughter’s bus to arrive. And I’m reading 3-4 different series (Krakatoa is on the to-be-read shelf…my mom loved that book!). It baffles me when people tell me they have no time to read…between Sookie Stackhouse, Kim Harrison, Dana Stabenow and others…I still manage to do all I need to do. It’s all about priorities I guess…we don’t watch tv either. Which is funny, because the people who I think are crazy for not reading are sitting there thinking we are absolutely nuts for not watching television…:)

  7. Reading was never something that was encouraged in my childhood…I did have some stories that I loved when I was a kid…I vowed that when I had my kids they would read! Well…my daughter is a reader and my son is not much of one…you can only do so much. My daughter has also started a collection of books for her baby (due June) and she is already reading to him. I don’t watch much TV about 2 hrs a week (NCIS being the one hr… Mark Harmon at 60 is still HOT) and a cooking show here or there.
    Reading became an escape for me when I became a caregiver for my mother who was an artist for 48 yrs and suddenly went blind and needed support…the stress of caring for her…being married…my kids were still young teens and work just about put me in the looney bin…but I was able to discover books, books took me to another place and for the last 12 years I have been hooked, or booked if you will!
    I try to read as much as I can…about a book a day…I do read in the car, not driving of course but as a passenger when my husband and I go on our adventures…I read in the morning with coffee…and I read when I go to bed…that’s where I read the most. Fantasy/Sci-fi and Historical being my favorite genre and I love to re-read books that I love…yours being on that list.
    I know that had I not found both reading and knitting at the time of life crisis I have no idea where I would be. :)

    • It’s been my experience that most boys/men are not big readers, no matter what level of education. Maybe it’s just the men I know, but they all would rather watch tv than read a book. I’m trying to interest my seven-year old son in reading. He’s a really good reader, but it’s like pulling teeth to get him to read anything more than school requires. My ten-year old daughter, on the other hand, can’t keep her nose out of a book. We have been reading the Harry Potter series together and my son’s showing great interest in those books. Hopefully his interest in reading will continue after we finish, but it will have serious competition from playing football with his friends or picking his guitar. At least I’ve managed to keep him away from XBox or Playstation. He has a Wii, but he can take it or leave it.

      • Just read your response to Diana Gabaldon and feel like commenting – I hope you don’t mind. I have a grandson, 23, who when he was a young boy (maybe from age 7 to teen years) read a lot. His mother and my son never married but over the years he stayed with his dad every other week and for two weeks during summers. We gave him many books that he’d read and reread well into the nights. Now that he’s older, his unemployed status dictated that he live with us (his dad and wife and grandmother). Anyway, my comment (after all that background) is that this guy, who read a LOT as a young kid says he now “never reads”! He’s so intelligent – we can carry on conversations about so much. His writing is amazing (but the spelling is terrible!), with large words well used. I only hope that he’ll again pick up the reading habit – and I find it so hard to believe that it’s not part of his life.

        • I had a reluctant reader in my son – I did everything to encourage him to no avail. Then one day when he was 11 he was off school because he was ill and he picked up the first Harry Potter which I’d got him a couple of year’s before (this was before anyone had heard of the books). That was all it took to spark his imagination and since then he has read voraciously – he is now 25.

          I’m another that reads all the time, several books at a time and always have a pile of books waiting to be read.

      • My experience is the exact opposite, but as you said it may just be the men I know. My dad was a voracious reader. His day wasn’t complete, no matter how much work he had to get done, unless he read the newspaper from beginning to end and he was always reading a book. And yes, he also liked to watch TV. My brother was a slow starter in reading, but once he was hooked, he was hooked for life. My husband is always reading and has a list a mile long of what he is reading next. My son, who also was a slow starter, now is always reading in his spare time. In fact, a few months ago, while the whole family was watching TV he was reading instead. It brought tears to this reading teachers eyes.

        As for Diana’s question, I have to agree that it makes no sense for a writer to not be a reader. It’s kind of like some of the teachers I work with who don’t read. How can you be passionate about turning kids into readers if you aren’t one yourself. I read whenever I can, which is unfortunately less and less. Kids, aforementioned teaching, and now my new knitting passion, but not a day goes by that I don’t read something for fun and something for information. My favorite place now to read though is the bathtub. It is one of the few places that my kids don’t follow me anymore.

      • Try getting books on subjects he’s interested in. I have two boys (now 18 and 21) and unless I was the one reading they had no interest. My eldest is into dirtbikes and motocross so I found every books I could on the subject. Now at 21 the only thing he reads is motocross magazines. Guess that’s better than nothing.

  8. I don’t watch TV either – unless it’s reruns of British tv now and then. And yea, I pretty much read all the time everywhere. How can one not have a book to hand? People always comment on the fact that I read while walking – mianly to and from the train station – but why not? It’s ten minutes each way! I’ve tried writing while walking, but haven’t perfected that yet… *Especially* in waiting rooms or at the post office – how can one simply sit there for 40 minutes or more?

    Related to this is the question of rereads – I reread a lot of my favourite books (lots of young adult books from my childhood, The Lord of the Rings, Agatha Christie, Outlander [g]…), but not everyone seems to do this.

  9. i love how your mind works! it’s no wonder that your books are long and gripping!! i had to laugh during this description of how you read all these books in your busy schedule, because i am much the same. i always make sure that a book of some kind is in the car with me because sometimes those red lights are just too long, or i get caught behind a train, or my pizza isn’t ready! now that i have a nook, it goes with me everywhere, and helps keep books out of my husband’s way. my boys are still very young (5 and 3) but even when they are outside playing, i have a book with me to read a few paragraphs here and there. there are some shows on tv that i watch (HBO on sunday nights–”game of thrones” could be “outlander!”) but usually, once my boys are in bed, and my husband assures me he doesn’t need any more of my attention, i devote that time to books (currently re-reading ABOSAA. ;-))
    the wait is long and usually well worth it for one of your “big books.” i honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

  10. I always wonder how people can’t find the time to read. lol Every available moment I have a book in my hands. When it’s a really great book I even read while waiting at stop lights. – I don’t recommend this though. ha ha.

  11. Hi Diana,
    I am not as multi tasking as you, I can only read one book at a time and at the moment it is An Echo in the Bone. I started the series a couple months ago and it has brought so much enjoyment to me and also my neighbor who I share the books with.
    I had total knee replacement surgery on April 4th. I found out its hard to concentrate on what you are reading when you are taking strong pain meds but I flushed those down the toilet so I could concentrate on what I was reading. Forget about pain I want to know whats happening to Jamie, Claire and Ian etc……: )
    Thank you again for all the enjoyment that you have brought me.
    I think of each one of my books as my friends that I can always go back to time and again.

  12. Diana,
    Now I can tell my husband that someone reads more than I do. He actually had the nerve to tell me that I read too much. I read about a book a day (depending on size and complexity) and I would love to read more but just can’t squeeze it in any more (5 kids, full-time job, husband, assistant coach).

    How can anyone not know about the library. I have cards from two different libraries in different inter-library loan systems (one near home and one near work) and I am there at least once a week. I don’t buy a lot of books unless I really like the author and plan to reread (I have all of your books and I buy any Robert Heinlein books I can find).

    Thank you for letting us know what you are reading – I’ll need to head out to the library today to pick up KRAKATOA (I have a degree in Geology so I think I’ll like it).

    Thank you for giving me ideas on how to squeeze in more reading (I’ll try to read while cooking tonight to see if I can do it without making a mess).

    Christiane

  13. If you ever veer away from writing time-travel books, you need to treat yourself to “The Time Traveller’s Wife”, which was excellent.

    Can’t imagine not having a book or two going, kind of like I can’t imagine not breathing…

    • Dear Kristina–

      Oh, I did read that one–enjoyed it, though didn’t really like HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY (loved the man with OCD, though).

      –Diana

      • Agree about HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY…after loving TTW I thought I would love it, but definitely didn’t. None of the characters felt fleshed out and actions were just too cruel.

  14. Books, books, books – How dull a life without books. I read so many books, everywhere, all the time. My greatest wish is that my very able but reluctant to read children would develop even half of my love of books. I first started to read “Cross Stitch” whilst sitting on the promenade of a very chilly North East England seaside resort and stayed there hours and hours. I want my children to be like me, to be able to lose themselves in a fabulous book and learn something about the world they live in at the same time.

  15. Was wondering if you have read anything by Paullina Simons? To be read in order, The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, The Summer Garden..starvation, despertion in Russia after the German Siege..Tatiana and Alexander endure such hardships to be together, from WW2 into the Vienam War..she becomes a nurse, just as Claire is a doctor, the first books dialog is a little simple, but then starts to get better. It is very hot, Tatiana must be a contortionist–ha. Anyway, just trying to amuse myself until your books come out. Recently took a trip to France with my daughter, of course our favorite subject besides travel would be BOOKS, we spread your name all over France to the few who did not already know you. Have a great day and just keep on keeping on. Nena, from Arkansas

    • Dear Nena–

      I _have_ THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, but haven’t got to it, yet. (You don’t even want to KNOW what my TBR pile…er…room…er…rooms…look like!)

      –Diana

    • Nena,
      don’t forget “Tatiana’s Table”!!! I ordered it through “Abe Books” (Australia).
      (well worth the $44 I paid)
      I’ve been busy trying out the recipes on my family! It’s just sooooooooo much
      more than a cook book. Paullina’s extra little stories that go along with the recipes
      are nothing short of amazing. A MUST have for Tatiana and Alexander lovers!!

      Yes, I agree we do need to amuse ourselves somehow until book 8!

      J.

      • I did not know about this book, will try to get it. I have also read The Girl in Times Square, these books are hard to purchase, I get them from e-bay, but they have to be shipped usually from the UK, we are all waiting on Diana, but have to entertain ourselves until then. So any recommendations, I would so like to know about. I got a sales paper in the mail yesterday, it was a white dress with red flowers..so th0ught again about Tatiana. Really like Tatiana and Alexander, but LOVE Jamie and Claire. Nena

    • I have read The Bronze Horseman trilogy and really enjoyed them. They are some of the few books I have kept, I usually pass mine on. I just finished The Russian Concubine (the title is misleading) by Kate Furnival and it had the same feel as Horseman. It is part of a trilogy that you might want to try.

      • Rhona,
        thanks sooooooooo much for the recommendations!! I always find it difficult to search out a “sure thing”.

  16. We seem to have similar practices (which is probably why I can reread your whole series several times a year while *patiently* waiting for book 8). ;) I always have my Nook loaded up and within reach; on my nightstand, in my purse, etc. It goes everywhere with me. And if it can’t go with me then I use my iphone and audible.com to listen to books. I do the same thing (walking and listening). I also use the audiobooks to be productive doing mindless tasks like gardening, painting, yardwork, folding laundry. They are my reward for doing mundane chores. Also, I watch less than an hour of tv a day so that creates a lot of time to read. :)

    p.s. Thanks for letting us know Breath of S. & A. finally made it to audible in the unabridged format. I cancelled my audible membership out of frustration one day because I couldn’t get anymore of your books. Now I’m back and happy.

    p.p.s. Thanks for the Methadone list (that title cracks me up). I also bought the Songs of Love and Death yesterday and loved reading Roger’s parent’s story. :)

    • I read A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Children’s Book’ off the Methadone List, and can’t say I was all that impressed. I thought the author was very undisciplined, and unable to create characters her audience could connect with and care about. It really was an excruciating 600 pages. I am afraid that Diana Gabaldon has spoiled me forever!

      • I know what you mean about being “ruined” by Diana. ;)
        I fired up an audio book today and it was torture listening to the person reading it. Davina Porter reading Diana Gabaldon has ruined me for audio books, too. ;)

  17. I agree with ya! Reading is such an amazing experience, taking you to so many places and times, taking you away from your stress and bad days. I would freak out and have a nervous berakdown if I didn’t have books to read. Just yesterday I went to the library, took my bicycle(gotta take advantage of summer days), and had to force myself to stop at 6 books because I didn’t know how much weight I could carry. I love that there are so many varieties of stories, so whatever mood you are in you can find a book to fit it. I also read everywhere. What else is there to do when waiting for something? Thumb twiddling? Tsk tsk. I experienced your first story, Outlander, in February, and read it in a day. Loved it! Unfortunately I was on vacation and the library in my town I have not found your books since I read Outlander. I know they have them, I have seen them, but the Librarian has been doing major spring cleaning and books have been rearranged, and now your series is not where they use to be. But I keep looking. I have to find out what happens!! That’s one downside to libraries, start reading a series and then they don’t have the next book. This has happened to me with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I read the first one, but the library does not have the second one. AWWGGHH!!!!

    • Kymberli,
      I too am a huge fan of my local library. Even if your library does have all the ‘Outlander’ series tucked away, you will just have to take my word and buy your own copies of Diana’s books. ‘Outlander’/’Cross Stitch’ left me wanting more, ‘Dragonfly in Amber’ needing more, ‘Voyager’ desperate for more….. I ravenously consumed the whole series and when I finished ‘Echo in the Bone’ went straight back to book one to start again. They are books that you simply MUST own!
      Cheers from Janet in Brisbane, Australia

      • Hi Janet,

        Greetings from New York! I am almost done with my library books. I am hoping to finish this week and go back for more. Ms. Gabaldon’s books are on my list. The library just got a donation of alot of books(yay), boxes from a book sale at another library(yay again), and Friday they got a shipment of books from a library that circulates its books through the county(another yay), so there are ALOT of new books to paw through!! :) I am hoping to find the next Outlander book. I plan to come home with a pile of books again. I cannot leave without at least 2 books :) Especially since I read them so quickly.

      • Yes. I own both her paperback/hardback books and all the books in e-reader format. AND… just to be extra thorough I own them all on Audiobook, too. ;)

  18. RE: The Aubrey/Maturin Series…

    I too love that series!!!

    AND – I couldn’t help but notice the discreet reference (and reverence??) to the author of that series in Drums of Autumn. Capitan (Patrick?) O’Brian was the commander of Brianna’s ship I believe? I didn’t catch it at first but I did the second time I listened to the audiobook and I remembered thinking ‘how interesting…I wonder if she has the same impression that Aubrey’s & Maturin’s friendship was a little bit more than just friendly?’

    And then I thought about Jamie’s and John Grey’s friendship and let my thoughts die there (with a smirk though) – or would should I say, I ‘belayed’ my thoughts and made sure the capitan couldn’t see my grin.

    -Michelle

    P.S. – I don’t watch t.v. either. Books plus my imagination are all the t.v. I need. :)

    • Dear Michelle–

      Well, 18th (and early 19th) century male relationships were often ones of great emotional intimacy (because, as in the Aubrey/Maturin series, men were so often out in the world Doing Stuff and the women were running the households; they just didn’t spend a lot of their lives together), but they didn’t normally have a sexual component, and I’m sure Jack’s and Stephen’s doesn’t, either. Pretty clear both of them are entirely heterosexual.

      –Diana

  19. I love reading ANNE PERRY,but I tend to read her in the winter,although the last couple monthsI’ve been at the library so much my rules have completely gone out the window. Am reading a new ROBIN HOOD-Angus Donald and CANNOT put it down. I always take a book with to read in the car before my husband comes out for lunch. I take one with to assorted doctor visits. I think most of us have houses and kids to take care of,but I read when I’m making dinner,if I gotta be there too. (this does not work well with frying bacon for BLT’S). I’ll grab a book when baking,and after making assorted bed(s) I’ll grab a cold whatever and head for the porch.
    just finished PROPHECY by S.J.PARRIS. This was an amazing book and one those very RARE ones where I had to have quiet. It was amazing! Set in Elizabeth I reign. Just the other one at the library too. Got a couple on hold too. Even though I have a big bookcase with books and my library card always at the ready,I’d be completely lost if I could not read

  20. 3 to 4 books a week! I am so glad to hear that! Until several years ago I took it for granted that everyone read a novel at one time or another during the year at least, and it wasn’t until a friend with a masters degree told me she never read that I realized some went through life like this. Other people mentioned this also, to my surprise, the excuse being that they were too busy, too tired, too bored, too restless… I’ve been reading forever! So many books – from the little golden books and comics that my dad would buy for me each evening he went to get his cigarettes and cigars, to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice that my mom gave me on my 9th birthday! My grandparents had about 1,000 books or so in their library with famous novels from the 1920′s, 30′s, 40′s, and 50′s, which I read through from when I was about 8. How can someone not read? How can a writer not read? There are so many good stories out there!

  21. Hello there -
    I was introduced to your WONDERFUL novels just over a year ago, and of course have finished all more than once! Please add my name to your long list of devoted fans!
    I’ve been following your blog and post kind of tugged at my heart a bit, if I must say… I just can’t imagine a home without books – especially one that sounds like it is so by choice! How on earth did that little girl even learn to read?!?! My two little guys are 6 and 2, and from the moment they could turn a page have been toting books everywhere we go and straight into the crib for quiet time before falling asleep.
    In the past year or so, I’ve begun sharing some of my favorite (age-appropriate) novels with my older son, one chapter at a time. I look forward to this tradition growing as he does – and that made me wonder… What are some of your favorite books to share with school age children? And are your children fans of your work? How fun it must be to share in your own writing with them!

    Just a curiousity, I guess!
    Christy

    • Dear Christy–

      My kids (who by the end of this month will be 29, 27, and 25 — all born in May) don’t read my books. As Eldest Daughter says, “I don’t want to read sex scenes written BY MY MOTHER!” {G}

      Love to share my favorite books with them, though; I’ve always just dropped books on their beds, saying “You’ll like this!”-and they pretty much always do. Now they recommend things to me. {g}

      For kids…for little kids, Richard Scarry (all of them had LOWLY WORM’S WORD BOOK, a little chunky cardboard book. They ate it. All of them), Eric Carle. Little older, Brian Jacques, OZ books.

      –Diana

      • No Dr. Seuss? My eldest daughter (Brianna) requested a breakfast of green eggs and ham when she was about seven (she’s 24 now remembers it quiet well). We had fun with food coloring. Books by Madeleine L’engle are good at almost any age over ten or twelve.

  22. I also read EVERYWHERE, and I love my reader. It has all my faves in one place. I notice my habits changed since I got my reader. I used to read whatever book I had handy, but with my reader I have several going at once. I always have a fictional book, a reference or nonfiction book, usually a short-stories collection, and sometimes I think I want to re-read a part of something I read previously. And my iPod is chock full of audio books, which count as another book in progress.

    • I bet you would love Alexandre Dumas’s ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. Believe it or not, it is a real page turner. Warmest regard from Janet, Brisbane, Australia.

  23. Reading is wonderful. Glad to know I’m not the only one who reads several different books at once – it drives my kids nuts!. Haven’t managed the read in the bathroom strategy yet, too many library books and afraid what would happen if one fell in. Magazines are more practical in that room of the house. Recently purchased an ipod and want to try that when walking. A friend told me about a free site called librivox.org where you can download books in public domain. Just finished the new Sookie Stackhouse book and have no interest in the TV show, who has time for TV? Thanks for the other book suggestions, and for your reading ideas.

    • Dear Barbara–

      Oh, the TRUE BLOOD series is excellent! I don’t watch TV qua TV, but do occasionally watch collected series on DVD. Mostly “Dr. Who” {g}, but also “House” and “TRUE BLOOD.”

      –Diana

      • I bet you would like the British Vampire/Werewolf/Ghost series on television called ‘Being Human’. It is a wonderful typically gritty Brit drama with the quintessential injection of humor just when the occasion demands. Nothing beats curling up with a great DG book though! Thank you Diana. Warmest regards from Janet in Brisbane, Australia.

  24. Diana, ladies, I admire you!
    I simply can’t read more than one book at a time! It’s like I get so immersed in the story that a different one just gets in the way. I read FAST though. So that compensates.
    My husband on the other hand doesn’t read(other than the newspaper or a magazine). It’s not his fault, he was never encouraged as a kid or as a teen. I remember when we were dating I once told him how weird it seemed that they don’t have bookcases at his parents’ house, and he told me that he was astonished at how many books were in my house!!!
    I wish he could read Outlander, but I think the size would scare him. I’ll have to look for something less intimidating and see if I can lure him in!

    • Dear Diana: i just wanted to say that i Love the outlander series. I am waiting anxiously for book 8. I also enjoy reading historical romances. I enjoy your style of writing it is different than most. God Bless! – angie

  25. I’m also an avid reader, but find that I am limited sometimes by cash flow. Curious as to how much moola you spend on your lovely habit!! Cheers!

    • Dear Gerry–

      Well, the nice thing about being a novelist (especially an eclectic one) is that _all_ the books I buy are tax-deductible as professional expense. {g} (About $300/month, not counting the occasional antique book.)

      –Diana

      • LOL…my mother was a independent commercial artist and she had a room dedicated to her “reference” when I was a kid…I still to this day (and I am married 30 yrs) use her reference for birthdays…wrapping gifts…Xmas cards etc. Its nice not to have to spend the money on those things since I don’t get the deduction! :)

    • Thrift shops and yard sales are a great source of cheap books. I stock up there for trips and leave the books wherever I happen to be when I finish them.

  26. I loved reading about everyone else’s reading habits – it’s great to learn that you’re not the only one who reads anywhere, anytime, and has books of several genres on the go at once (I’m currently reading David Starkey’s “Crown & Country”, Harry Mount’s “A Lust for Windowsills”, Dava Sobel’s “The Planets”, and “Lord John and the Private Matter” by a certain DG… :g:). My stepchildren are always amazed by the number of books I possess and the fact that I’d rather read than watch TV, but I think now they fondly regard it as one of my quirks. As a child I used to read whilst washing up, with the book propped on the windowsill, and invariably had to do it again (without the book) because half the dishes were still dirty. I daren’t try reading whilst cooking though as I’m a bit accident prone!

    PS: this is the first time I’ve posted a comment on a website – eek, more wine needed!

  27. Gosh! Your reading styles sound like me? Only differnce is that I use my kindle, tablet and iphone interhangeably for ebooks and audiobooks.
    I read audiobooks on the train while I knit and ebooks when knitting isn’t practical.

    I also just finished Dead Reckoning. Although good, I’m getting frustrated with the limited time she spends on resolving relationship issues.
    Have you read Jeaniene Frost’s Dark Huntress series? I think she does a great job at writing about a married couple and their relationship issues across multiple books similar to the way you do with Claire and Jamie.

    Thanks so much for sharing, after reading your post, I feel less like a freak!

    • Dear CAT–

      No, I haven’t encountered Frost’s series–will go look for it!

      Thanks,

      –Diana

      • I’ve only read one of Frost’s books, but loved and have the next two qued up…i’m on a bit of a UF kick right now and if you like her, try Patricia Biggs (Mercy Thompson series); Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series) and Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires) – beware huge cliff-hanger (almost as bad as some of yours!) or Karen Marie Moning (Fever series)

  28. I have a similar habit of reading anywhere, anytime. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I’ve learned to put a book down mid-sentence if need be, but reading helps keep me sane. I may not read as voraciously as I did when I had more time, but making time to read is a priority and I think that’s what makes it possible.

  29. Things tend to dry out after 50, my eyes being the first to do so. That, with working on the computer all day— I quit reading with my eyes– audiobooks only. I have one in my car, one in my workout bag, and one at home while knitting. I’m not a great multi-tasker, but I can watch TV (muted), knit, and listen to an audiobook at the same time.
    I’m currently reading the Outlander series again. It’s amazing how much detail is not absorbed in the first reading!
    I imagine you (Diana) have a big white board with all the characters charted out. How else could you keep them all straight when they keep showing up over and over, sometimes years (or centuries) later?

    • Dear Karen–

      No, I don’t really write down anything other than the text of the book (if I make a note of something, I promptly forget it). It’s just sort of all in my head. (No problem, it’s a big place…)

      –Diana

  30. My entire life I have had a close bond with whatever librarian is currently employed at my local library. He/She always knows me by name. :)

    Last night I began your novel ‘An Echo in The Bone’ and loved this line so much that I marked it… (Bree and Roger had just discovered the letter from Claire and Jamie)

    ‘It was pleasantly rough under his fingers, handmade paper with the ghosts of leaves and flowers pressed into its fibers.’

    With prose like that I just cannot imagine not reading.

    I simply cannot wait until book 8 comes out, and I’m not even done with book 7!

  31. The best thing my Kindle has done for me was to allow me to fill that “wasted” time in the shower when I wished I could be reading! Now I download audio books from audible.com, download them to my Kindle, and prop my Kindle up with full volume on the cabinet next to the shower. It’s plenty loud enough, and I get to enjoy being read to every night! (It also gives my eyes a break… I’m a teacher and spend a lot of time reading for work, too).

    Yay, reading!
    Shannon

  32. I have two dogs, too. The fat one (Pepper) is a fast eater. She eats the slow eater’s (Hank) food if I am not there to keep him on task. I love it that you are reading the Sookie books!
    I love my Kindle, and I take it everywhere. I never leave the house without it. I also bought it to save my hands from your big books. I have all of the Outlander series on it.
    I keep books in the bathroom as well.
    When I give a “mom” Outlander, I tell her to put it in the bathroom to get it started.
    It has taken me 20 years to get my sister to start it, and she is a red headed nurse!
    I love to talk to anyone who has read your books so I give it as a gift quite a lot.
    It feels like a gift to me if they get into it.

  33. Two years ago my children surprised me with a Kindle for Christmas. The first book I bought of course, was Outlander. Good thing too because that summer I visited Scotland. I read a whole book and part of another one on the flight home. It’s great being able to carry around over a thousand books in something so light. I don’t have that many books on there, yet. I have 5 grown children and they all love to read. Two of them have ipads with which they can download books from my Kindle. Now we share books electronically.

  34. I used to read anywhere. Now, I can’t focus, maybe I have ADD, I don’t know. I confess that I have not yet read A Breath of Snow and Ashes or Echo in the Bone, but they are on my shelf. I get too involved when I read this series because I love it so. I couldn’t bring myself to go there for a long while not knowing if I would lose Jamie or Claire along the way. I got 3 other girls at work reading the series and that has been so fun! We have the craziest “what if” discussions and everybody is at a different place. I started over and am on The Fiery Cross. People tell me “oh, you should read this book or that”, but I can’t. I am currently out of commision, I say until I finish this. Plus, good grief, you should see the books I have to read or have read on my multiple bookshelves! How could anyone not enjoy reading? It boggles my poor mind!

  35. I can’t do the multiple books at one time either. I usually have one physical book and one audiobook going. However, I always carry a book with me and snatch every minute I can. My husband also used to think I was crazy, but I am a librarian and firmly believe that if you don’t like reading it’s because no one found the right book for you. So, I consistently brought books home based on what he likes on TV and in movies (blood and gore) and have so far found three or four authors that he will gobble up. He is by no means a major reader now, but he does understand how I get sucked into stories and why I enjoy it more than he used to. He also trusts me when I thrust a book in his face and demand he read it right away :-)

  36. PS – I think everyone makes time for the things they love, even if it is just ten minutes a day.

  37. I read and listen to audiobooks every day, but I can only read one book and listen to one other book at a time. A friend that I often share books with reads and listens to several books at a time and we just can’t understand how the other does it. When I discover a series that I like I have to read or listen to it from beginning to end. I purchased a Nook last summer and really love it. It is very convenient to get the next book in a series :). I read while watching tv and while listening to music. Audiobooks are a lifesaver for me. I would find myself not doing anything but reading all day and like everyone else, I just don’t have that kind of free time. Now I listen to books while I cook, do yard work, walk, drive, work, etc.
    I like all different types of books, but my favorite is historical fiction. I love the escape books provide and transporting to another period in time is truly a great escape. The Outlander series is undoubtedly my favorite. I have both read and listened to each book several times. I just downloaded ABOSA from audible and can’t wait to get The Fiery Cross in November to complete my collection. Thanks Diana!

  38. I am an avid reader, have been since I was a child ! I married a non reader :( a non reader as in he has never read an entire book in his life … at age 50 he was off to the US for a work trip, long haul from Australia. I packed him A Fortunate Life by AB Facey. It’s a wonderful autobiography, a classic in Australian literature. As country raised person I thought he may connect with the life of AB Facey.

    He got thru half the book in his 10 days away. 8 hrs in LA Airport on the way home helped :) He did enjoy what he read, but once home the book has sat idle since :(

    He now packs the book in his travel bag when going overseas but has yet to get back into the book. I need to talk to his travel agent about a few hrs stuck in airport again :)

    One day I hope he gets the’ bug’ and will understand why I ignore him while reading, beg him to go via the book shop on his way home to pick up the latest from Diana Gabaldon and why there are books scattered about the house.

    I also love audio books for travelling ! they make flying a pleasure and distract me from suffering motion sickness… I can read a bit sometimes and sometimes watch a movie on the screen in front of me, but if I feel sick or it’s a turbulent flight then the audio books are my saviour ! I am like Jamie, I only have to look at a boat and I feel sick :( :(

    I do wonder if Jamie would suffer on a flight or in a car also ???? most likely but unless you can get him forward in time Diana I guess we will never know for sure {grin }

    looking forward to the next instalment from you Diana…. :)

    Cheers Jo

  39. Exactly the way I read! Although I use audiobooks while cooking and doing housework. (Your books on audio have gotten me through HOURS of tedious daily chores.) My husband laughs at me for the book that is always in my purse to pull out while in line at the post office, waiting to carpool the kids to the next event, etc.

    Just started Master and Commander on audio – have never read the series, but am loving it – and Simon Vance is such an excellent reader!

  40. I can relate, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book since I was about 5 and tend to have 2 or 3 books on the go at all times. I was the dorkiest teenager around because I used to spend my allowance and babysitting money at the local used book store. My taste was 95% non-fiction (and any of the old MAD magazine books I could find). There are only a handful of fiction novels on my over crowded bookshelf so I was very skeptical when my wonderful hubby bought me Outlander for Christmas a few years ago. He said “don’t worry honey, it’s historical…you’ll love it” and boy was he right!

    Also thank you for posting the update about the new Outlander edition…I’ve ordered 2 copies and will be greedy and send an email to the Pen for short personalized inscriptions. One copy is a surprise for my mother (who is also a big fan) so I will have to come up with something clever for hers!

    Like everyone else I can hardly wait for the next book…and I love seeing the Gaelic in your books, I just finished my first year of Gaelic classes and can finally understand some of it :)

    Kelley

  41. I don’t understand people who never read. I mean, I’ve watched TV – it’s not that good. I read every chance I get throughout the day, which isn’t as much as I’d like with two school-aged kids, two dogs, two cats, and a husband who’s home for 28 straight days every other month. But I do make time to read every night before bed. I don’t think I would be able to sleep without that literary nightcap.
    Also said husband came into our marriage a non-reader. I like to think that I converted him. The small library in our basement might have had something to with it. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and all that) But I would say that it has something to do with the fact that he spends the other 28 days as captain of a towboat ont he Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Evidently life on the Mississippi can be rather slow (current high water notwithstanding).
    Still, those that would choose TV over a good book – to each his own. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Give me the thousand words any day!

  42. I started reading at the age of four (reportedly) and have been in the middle of several books at a time ever since. Getting an ipod and an audible.com account has likely saved not only my sanity but my eyesight, in the past few years.

    As a nanny, my mind isn’t really challenged by my work so having the ability to get outside on nice long walks with an audio-book enlightening me while I wander around the neighborhood keeps me from feeling unengaged. I’ve listened to the Outlander series so many times that my internal voice is beginning to have an English accent. :) Only joking, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

  43. Years ago, I read a biography of Judy Holliday in which she described her love of reading as “eye hunger.” I knew immediately what she meant. I taught myself to read when I was three, and from then on I’ve been a passionate consumer of the written word. Even if it’s the back of a cereal box.

    When my kids were little and I was home with them all day, with no car, no money and noplace to go, reading books kept me sane. I’d go to the library at least three nights a week (getting a little time away from the kids, too) and I was reading 10 to 30 books a week. When the kids were playing, when they were asleep, while I was eating my lunch, while I watched TV at night (I still find it difficult to watch TV without reading a book at the same time). I read very fast and I was inhaling books. I started at the 000s in the Dewey Decimal System, picking out whatever interested me, and I think I’d worked my way up to about the 790s by the time we finally moved out of town.

    Nowadays I have my own writing to do, plus housework and running a small publishing company, but I still go to the library at least once a week. I still read while I eat my breakfast and lunch and while I watch TV. And I get a little time to myself to read after my husband’s gone to sleep (fortunately, my sitting next to him with my bedside light on has never bothered him). We’ve cut way back on our magazine subscriptions, but we get the daily paper and I read that, too. And I’ve recently discovered the joys of audiobooks, and listen to them when I’m out walking. (At the moment, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is accompanying me on my walks.)

    I finally changed eye doctors after failing for several years to get through to one doctor that a real reader doesn’t hold the book smack up in front of her face, and thus does not need her reading glasses’ focal length adjusted to that distance! My books sit on my lap, or proppeed up on the table, or pillowed on top of a large sleepy cat.

    I recently got a Sony Reader, and have been rejoicing in the wealth of free e-books available. I don’t know that the e-reader will ever replace real books for me, but it sure is nice to have dozens of choices when I’m sitting in yet another doctor’s office.

    What on earth do people DO if they won’t read?

    • Eye hunger – yes! That’s what I’ve got.

      Why else would I – like you – read the backs of cereal boxes, advisories at train stations, fine print at the bottom of the screen during cheeseball drug ads… I still remember berating an ex for… well, we were in York and I read the map at the train station and started walking toward the hostel (Dame Judi Dench Walk!).

      At some point I must have asked something like “how much farther do you think it is?” and he replied “I don’t know” so I, slightly exasperated, asked “didn’t you read the map? or any of the signs?” and he said, “no, you were reading them.” Acck!!!!

      If I’m really watching something I’ll knit instead – and I wish my light didn’t bother DH!

      Seriously, what *do* people do if they don’t read?

  44. i was just thinking about this myself…

    1) first thing in morning (brushing teeth, etc.)

    2) during breakfast

    3) on the way to work

    4) during work breaks/meals

    5) way home

    6) during evening

    7) take baths to read more

    i need to do more standing/moving reading after reading (!) that article about how sitting literally kills you…

  45. I simply couldn’t survive without books, although I don’t read in all the ways that you do (each to their own). eReaders have been a blessing when going on holiday, as I don’t have to pack so many and I also love to listen to audiobooks whilst doing horrid things like ironing.

    Just begun another degree in Scottish Cultural Studies and been introduced to 14 writers/poets in 14 weeks – just loving it. Poetry isn’t usually my “thing” but some of this stuff is amazing and largely ignored by the so-called literati which is a shame really.

    Never underestimate the power of the written word! It beats sound bites by miles (oh, and I don’t actually have a TV any more – got rid of it 6 years ago; incredibly liberating).

  46. I’m the crazy lady at my work who gets to work early to have some oatmeal and read before clocking in. I read on the way to and from, the lunchroom and while eating. People are astonished that I read so much but – I’ve gotten two coworkers to read the Outlander books (one is just starting Echo and she keeps asking me questions about it and I’m RAFO!) and I see more and more people bringing books and Kindles and Nooks to lunch now. I believe I’ve been a good influence.

    I haven’t been able to read any Anne Perry since I heard about her past. I used to love reading about Monk and the others in her historicals but I just can’t make myself pick up any new ones. I shouldn’t let it bother me – there’s loads I don’t know about other authors I love but since I do know now…I just can’t do it.

  47. As a young child, I didn’t read. I can’t fault anybody for that. My parents had 7 kids and really no time to encourage it. When I got into high school, I had to take a remedial reading class. I could read, just didn’t really comprehend what I was reading. I had a wonderful teacher. She encouraged us to read anything and everything, no matter what. However, porn was frowned upon, Catholic school and all.
    We are big readers in our family. I encouraged all three kids, now 30, 27 an 20 to read whenever they could. Middle child even wrote a short story in high school that his teacher said was very good, but he never pursued it any further. Maye the “bug” will hit him someday. Youngest child is earning her degree in English.

    Diana, I discovered your books while traveling in Alaska of all places. Saw Drums of Autumn, realized that this was a series and when I returned started with Outlander and, as they say, the rest is history.

    I don’t read really anymore than two books at a time. I can multi task, just not in that way. My husband reads everything! He’ll stand for hours in at the magazine counter, perusing magazines. He always said he knows an awful lot of sh** just from doing that.

    As for television, if it’s not BBC or PBS I don’t really watch it. I do, however, have some weaknesses, but won’t go into that.

    You’re a wonderful writer. I’m so glad I found your books. I recently read the Lord John books and just love his character. Can’t wait for Scottish Prisoner or book 8.

  48. I am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, The Outlandish Companion, and rereading Dragon fly In Amber. I just ordered through a book trading website A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield. I can’t imagine not reading more than one book at a time. There are so many that I always want to read that I can never choose just one. lol

  49. I am taking copious notes of what tickles your fancy. I’ve been leary of reading the Sookie series, but now I feel with your feedback… :)

    I feel so fortunate to have met you! You were book signing last night at Hastings Entertainment along historic 66. I suddenly turned bashful and couldn’t bring myself to say half of what I planned. And then my husband and my five old popped in to see me. They knew how excited I was to meet you. As much as I tried, I couldn’t drag little Jonny over to meet you. He was much too interested in the colorful books displayed. Reading of Jem and having a five year old is enough to keep any mother on the edge of their seat.

    Looking forward to the discussion of “An Echo In the Bone” today at the library!!!

    • Dear Cassandra–

      Well, the Sookie books are a fast, relatively simple read. Not the place to be looking for gorgeous prose, but what they do have is 1) a very appealing and individual “voice” (they’re told in first-person, so the voice is the character’s, as well as the book’s), and 2) an interesting “world,” logically worked out and entertainingly presented, and 3) quick-moving plots with pretty much nonstop action (no place to be looking for philosophical introspection, either, though every now and then the character does run slap into the philosophical difficulties involved in living with things that look like people but don’t operate on the same moral system).

      –Diana

  50. I used to read in a very similar pattern as yours, but in the last year or so I’ve been trying to give myself more time with my own thoughts and not multi-task so much (not always successfully). I still have to have a book/audiobook with me pretty near everywhere I go though. I have loved to read as long as I can remember. Even though I can no longer smell, I can still remember the smell of my home town library and still convert miles in my head as a trip to that library, which was exactly one mile.

    Except for newspapers and a few magazines, my husband is not a reader and I sometimes wonder how I could have married a non-reader, but it will be 32 years next month so I guess there’s something else going on. He loves music like I love books. My daughter has language based learning issues and will only read what she has to for school and it makes me sad that she will miss so much by not reading for pleasure. Like many others have said, watching no or very little television is key. My mother always asks me how I can read so much and I tell her I read while she’s watching old movies.

    My husband’s mother has kept so many things which is the opposite of my purge and toss self, but it makes for fun discoveries. Recent finds – his grade school penmanship books which prove that he could, at one time, write legibly. And in a bookcase in the living room, like they are still being read daily (can’t believe I never noticed them before), are about 40 of those thin Golden books, given to him by his grandmother, all with inscriptions & dates from the late 50′s. So he was a reader at one point because these books are in the sorriest state I’ve ever seen and look like they’ve been read a thousand times. The edges of the thin bindings are extremely worn and the front covers are missing on every single one. Still trying to figure out what that says about him :)

  51. I have a very similar reading habit, I read (devour) books on a regular basis. I love your series and have re-read it so many times the spines are starting to wear out. I am a very visual person and the language and descriptions in your books give me such clear pictures in my mind. I think I would perish without being able to read for any length of time and I eagerly look forward to new books in this series. I haven’t really gotten into the whole e-book thing, I really like the tactile experience of real books and the way they smell. I don’t think I am ready to give that up for portable ease yet. I have actively read to both my girls and am happy that my oldest who is almost 9 has acquired our love of reading. She is reading a lot now and I find a real joy in sharing classic books with her that I have always loved reading like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, etc… . It will certainly be a while before I can share your books with her but I recommend them to anyone looking for a good book, I have my sister in-law who has a 2 yr. old listening to the audio books of yours now. I love reading any book in any genre so it is encouraging that so many others are reading too, makes me feel a little less freakish coming out of the library with a duffle bag full of books.

  52. I grew up reading and have always devoured books (I actually used to get in trouble in elementary school because I would read a book under my desk while the teacher was talking!). It’s gotten harder now that I have a job and am married with a new house; however, I carry a large purse and always have a book in it. This way I can read on my lunch breaks at work and if I have an appointment (car, doctor, manicure) after work or on the weekends, I always have something with me! I also keep a second book by my bed and try and read for at least a 1/2 hour before going to bed — it helps me unwind and it’s better than watching TV in bed!

    The best thing about summer, in my opinion, is being able to come home from work and unwind on the patio with a good book and a glass of wine (of course we don’t have any kids yet so we’ll see if I’m able to continue this once I’ve got some little ones running around!)!!

    Diana — absolutly love your series. I’ve read all of the novels and this has put me in the mood to read them all again this summer. Plus, they’re the perfect size for my tote bag :)

    Reading is so important! It’s so sad that there are children out there in households that do not encourage reading! I know I already have a list of books I’m going to read to and with my children, it’s one of the favorite traditions of my childhood and I can’t wait to pass it on :)

  53. Thanks for sharing your reading habits with us!

    I am a high school librarian and lucky enough to be able to read at work (sometimes). I will never forget sitting at the circulation desk reading Outlander for the first time (20 years ago!) and the number of people coming up to me and saying, “I don’t know what you are reading, but I want it next.” Apparently I have a very expressive face when I read. I take great pride in knowing that I have turned HUNDREDS of people onto your books.

    People ask me often how I can read multiple books at the same time and keep the plots and characters straight. They follow multiple TV series don’t they? Between audio, Kindle and print, I am currently working on 5.

    I have just finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Juliet by Anne Fortier and highly recommend both.

  54. It boggles my mind that some folks just don’t read. My mother read to me and books have always had a special place in our house. I read to my kids, and my grandkids love to be read to…being the good Grandma, I have plenty of books for them to choose from (they are currently 3 and 18 months). I have to thank you for introducing me to Laurell K. Hamilton, who in turn introduced me to Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), BTW. Now I wait for the new titles from all three of you!

    I usually have a non-fiction writing-related book going (WRITING THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg at the moment), a stack of magazines to get through (currently on a travel kick since I want to do more of that since the kids are finally grown), and whatever new fiction books take my fancy (or re-read the ones I have waiting for the new ones to come out – have re-read all your books, all Laurell’s Anita Blake books – that are out in paperback – and all the Sookie Stackhouse ones in paperback since last Christmas already…sigh).

    So…when’s the next one due out again?

  55. I also find it amazing that some people NEVER read! And I agree that it’s very odd to walk into someone’s home and not see a single book, newspaper, or magazine. When I asked one friend why she didn’t read she replied, “Oh, it hurts my head to read.”. Reading is my favorite activity, always has been. Luckily, both my kids (now 24 and 21) picked up the reading habit from an early age. I feel that being exposed to books in the house and seeing me read and read to them had a big impact on them. My husband said that he could count on one hand the number of books he read for pleasure growing up! I was floored. He said that he never wanted to sit down long enough to read a book when he was a child, because he wanted to always be playing and running around outside. Plus he said that reading was boring! Insane! When we first got married we got into the habit (my idea) of reading aloud James Herriots animal doctor series, “All Creatures Great and Small”, etc. in bed every night. We’d take turns reading. Then my husband discovered the Tom Clancy books and fell in love with them. He hasn’t read anything for awhile now because he says that he has to read so much for work that he doesn’t want to read anything when he gets home. I still don’t understand that since reading for me has always been a pleasure and escape. He does keep some of his engineering magazines in the bathroom for those “extended” times! lol I do so much agree with you that if you truly love reading that nothing should stand in your way of finding those moments to indulge yourself a little. Reading for your own pleasure should be a gift you give yourself everyday!

    You have given me many hours, days, weeks, and years of reading bliss with your wonderful books. Thank you for what you do and your commitment to your fans. You and your talent are a gift to the world!

  56. I thought I was the only one who reads several books at at time. lol I really enjoy the outlander series, and have read them several times , my husband is like didn’t you already read that. I always have a book with me, if I forget I feel like i’m missing something, I have been known to go to the store and buy something to have a book to read, we go to car shows with our 1930 model a, I always bring several books, and usually get them finished, thats the weekends I like when I have that much time to relax and enjoy. How do you like your kindle, I am hesitating on buying one of these as I still get excited about buying the new book and starting it, I like the feel of the book in my hands.
    I enjoy coming to your site and reading your comments, and am looking forward to the next book. thanks again for such a wonderful series.

  57. Like everyone here, I’m also and have always been (since Dick and Jane) a voracious reader. While I’ve been known to read while in a passive phase of cooking, but haven’t been coordinated enough to ready while doing actual prep! Kudos to those who can.

    I always wonder what kind of imagination a person can have if they don’t read. Where do they go in their heads during the quiet times?

    I usually only read one book at a time but I found something fabulous just in the last couple weeks. I have a Kindle (and a Sony eReader), and with Kindle you can download the Kindle app to your PC and Android cell phone. Then you can access all your Kindle books from any of them AND sync them up; so, I can read on my breaks at work, pick up on my cell phone at the train stop and finish on my Kindle before bed. All the same book, wherever I am. Isn’t technology wonderful?

    Marianne

  58. I am glad to hear that there are others out there who read as much as I do! I read very quickly and usually choose a book based on the “size” — one of the best things about your books, Diana! Can’t wait for the next one — am re-reading the earlier ones for about the 5th or 6th time!

  59. I would doubt the character of someone whose home contained no books :)

    My parents owned a bookstore when I was very small and books have always held an almost sacred place in my life. I considered myself a purist when it came to books – none of that electronic stuff for me, give me a book in its “proper” form. Well, once I started getting into BIG books – ahem, yours – carrying them around while traveling got to be a real drag (pun intended). I finally stumbled into the modern age and bought a Kindle which I carry with me everywhere. It makes me feel very rich, book-wise, to have so many books at my fingertips. And it’s nice to take Jamie and Claire to keep me company when I’m sitting with nothing to do.

  60. Hello Diana,

    I carry a book everywhere I go as well and I only purchase handbags with enough space for a large book ;)

    I recently read As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann, have you read it? If not, you should check it out, I think you would really enjoy it!

    Bri

  61. Gosh, what would I do without books! At 11, I got a hold of my father’s copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, I believe. That was my first ‘real’ read. In middle school my lunch break was spent in the library in the corner reading. I, too, wonder how people get by without reading. I joined Goodread’s reading challenge of this year and am reading my 17th book since New Year’s day. My dad was a prolific reader and my mother was not. His father and brother read a lot also. Myself and a brother read but the other brother does not. Funny how that turns out! I bought my daughter books when she was little in the hope that she would become a reader like me. But I quit pressing books on her when I realized maybe she wasn’t going to become a reader. I just let her decide to read when and how. She now tends to re-read her favorites like the Harry Potter books, and others. She might read 4 times a year.

    I have a bedside book but also take it with me to work, or whenever I have to wait for someone. Right now, I’m reading every single book I have in preparation to re-read Outlander all over again, which will be the 9th or 10th time for the first two, three books. I read Echo of the Bone too fast when it came out and just devoured it! Everytime Diana releases a new book of the series I have to start at the top.

  62. I also cannot understand how people just don’t read. As a high school teacher, I am concerned when I see my students reading books that are obviously below their grade level for reading. Too many kids today just don’t have the patience to read anything too substantial. Perhaps e-readers can help remedy that…they are “gadgets” and kids love those. :)

    By the way, you will enjoy The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks!

  63. Diana,

    I encourage my daughters to read everything they can get their hands on. I started when they were about 6 months, and then gave them board books, bedtime stories, and daytime stories. I also read while around them. Now, at twelve, they are reading at bedtime, sneaking books under the bedcovers after lights out. They are watching out for the next in the series’ they follow. Novels, manga, comics, magazines, etc. I love to see them engaged.

    I get into trouble when reading, not able to ‘hear’ my husband’s questions three times in a row. And I have a stack of books to get to next. I take them everywhere, hard copy or kindle. Next to the bed, sofa, in the bathroom, in my purse. Now that I am home full-time dealing with fibromyalgia, I find books comforting and a great companion.

    I love Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books. So much fun to read. I just finished her latest too!

    Have you read C. J. Sanson’s books? He writes historical mysteries, set in England during the reign of Henry the 8th. His central character is a London lawyer.My father-in-law introduced the series to me.

    Lynda

    • I have read all my life. I learned, when I had the mumps, that I could escape the pain while I read.
      I read at work on my breaks and lunch and when it was a new Outlander book, I’d sneak it in to the ladies room.

      Now, that I’m retired, I read all the time. When I do housework, I carry my nook with me wherever I am in the house and read while I dust, or do the dishes or cook. I also get in trouble when I read. My husband feels I’m ignoring him. So, I do most of my reading when he’s not home, or late at night after he goes to bed.

      I just finished Treason at Lisson Grove and I think it’s Anne Perry’s best Charlotte and Pitt to date. I really love her inspector Monk series.
      I also just finished every book from Outlander to Echo in the Bone again. I think I’ve read the first 3 at least 10 times. Now that all the books in in my Nook, if I feel down, all I have to do is go to one of your books, Diana and I can escape to the 18th century and spend time with Jamie and Claire, wherever I am. I really want to know what happens, next. I am also, looking forward to Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner. It sounds very interresting

  64. I love to read. Must read everyday. I always have stacks of books in my TBR pile, but Im one of those people who can only read one book at a time. My short term memory isnt always that great lately and Im only 33!!! Too much on my mind between work and my 4 children I guess. :-D I try to read when i get off work for a little while in the afternoons, then later in the evening after the kids all (finally!) fall asleep, for a longer stretch. lol Then on the weekends when im off, I devote a much longer period of time each day to reading~ for as long as I can keep the kids occupied with something else ;-D

  65. I listen to audiobooks while I drive instead of the radio. I love it. I have listened to all of your book, including the Lord John books, several times over and am currently reading/listening to Game of Thrones. Very enjoyable. But I do find that I have to listen again and again and again to the Outlander series. I feel like I miss Jamie, Clair, Briana, Roger and the kids if I don’t. They’re like a part of the family — ha ha.

  66. I read when ever I can (re-reading Outlander series right now!!!). Waiting for the bus to work, on the bus, breaks at work, lunch time, waiting for the bus home, and sometimes in bed before I sleep or if I wake up early. If I’m not reading I’m sewing or doing other hand work – I joke that if my hands weren’t busy I’d be eating chocolate (but that’s not a bad thing, is it?)!

  67. I am going to look up the Aubrey/ Maturin series. I wrote it down and I am anxious to read something that you love. It is interesting to me to read a book that is so loved by someone that I consider a friend or someone I admire like you. Will I love it like you or hate it and find it boring? Or too complicated, etc. I

    I so loved Outlander the first time I read it I couldnt wait for my friend (who is a nurse btw) to read it and talk about it with her. She tried and said she just couldnt get into it. I was so disappointed and even aggravated. I wanted to say , ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How can you not love this book? But this same girlfriend loves Nicholas Sparks and reads all his books . I read a few and I am done with him. geez

    Bodie Thoene is one of my favorite authors for historical fiction. Her series are page turners. Her books take place during WW2.

    Stephen Donaldson’s first fantasy series is excellent.

  68. I just read this week’s New Yorker article about Pixar, and the way they described the pieces of plot sounded very Outlander-esque…Scotland…strong female heroine…thrown into a stone circle…

    Have you heard much more about it? From other online sources, it sounds different in plot but does it increase interest in a movie adaptation of Outlander?

    thank you!

  69. I have a book in my bag for the comute to work, one on the bedside table for night time reading, the waiting stack underneath, and the list for my next trip to the bookstore or shopping spree at abebooks.com.

    AND THE KINDLE MY DAUGHTER JUST GAVE ME FOR MOTHER’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is going to be for the books I don’t feel I have to physically possess in my hands but just curious reading.

    I can’t sleep if I’ve come to the end of a book so I must always have one at the ready.

    I don’t watch TV either and haven’t had reception/cable, etc. since I moved to Mexico in 2005. I suppose that originated with not knowing Spanish? Even though I’m in my fourth year back across the border, I still don’t have cable or satellite or whatever. I have a wimax internet connection. Why pay for the cable if I only use it for internet access?

    HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT READ? At the entrance to the Baltimore Inner Harbor Barnes Noble stands a carved wooden sign displaying what was once the city motto (wishfull thinking or delusional): Baltimore: The City That Reads.” I am a paralegal and I often receive phone calls from clients who tell me they received correspondence and “don’ know what dat say.” I ask them to read it to me so I can explain but they can’t read and bring it into my office to read for them. I am unable to understand many of the phone calls because the caller’s (even though they were born in America, as were their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents) are unable to construct a grammatically correct sentence using words listed in a standard English dictionary.

    I commute to work on public transportation and on a daily basis encounter people who are unable to read the bus route displayed on the front of the bus and after a few blocks must get off once they realize they are on an express and don’t want to pay the extra forty cents. My workday commute is filled with so-called educated adults, and high school and college age students who are unable to communicate with me without lacing their language with “dis, dat, doze, dem, ain’t”, etc. and whose sentence structure appears to have been tossed in a hat, jumbled about and dumped back out of their mouths. A good number of these people are working in local law offices, banks, and government jobs.

    Public education is free but they have failed to avail themselves of its benefits.

    To pass the time, I’ve occasionally attempted to engage some of the more literate in a conversation about the latest book in my hand, only to be told, “I don’t read books.” Most vivid in my memory is a tidbit from last Wednesday’s commute. Having just received in the office mail, three Connie Willis books I had ordered online, I was browsing Lincoln’s Dreams. I turned to the 53 year old woman of three years acquaintance who was seated beside me. She works in a call center for a large insurance company. “Did you know Lincoln dreamt of his death?” I asked. With a tone of condenscion as if reading a book was beneath her (I later discovered American Idol is the mainstay of her existence): “I don’t know who that is.”

    BTW, how is the knee?

    Kate

    • Dear Kate–

      I hear people like that all the time on _this_ side of the border. Nrg!

      Knee is great, thanks! {g} Can–and do–walk five miles a day. (Could go farther, but that’s as much time as I have during the average day.)

      –Diana

    • Kate,

      I might have seen you in passing on the light rail. Every now and again I have to take it from Hunt Valley into BWI, as that is where I work. My colleagues can’t understand my own “eye hunger”, but my daughters do. Thank god they have learned the joy of enmeshing themselves in a good read. We should really buy stock in Borders! My husband certainly doesn’t “get” it. He says we have enough books. Blasphemy! And history is one of my favorites, too.

      Have enjoyed reading everyone else’s entries. I am always looking for a new book or author, other than our favorite (DG), in fact a lot of times, I read from the young adult section because I can’t seem to find anything in the “adult adult” section (not to be confused w/gasp,porn, of course). So I would love any suggestions!

      • Susan,

        In re to book suggestions, someone on a much earlier blog post recommended the Felix Castor books by Mike Carey. The first 3 have been published in the US, and all 4 or 5 have been published in the UK. I have had to cut back my book habit these days due to having 3 kids in less than 2 years (a lovely daughter and twin sons), so I haven’t read the last 2 books in this series as they are obviously not in the library here in Oklahoma. But if you like fantasy and mystery and hilarity, then you’ll probably like these books. Don’t know if Dr. Gabaldon has read them or not, but I think she would definitely appreciate the sense of humor and unique stories.

        Hope this is helpful.

        Lindsey

  70. I read much in the same way….sometimes I’ll have 2 or 3 books going at the same time, 1 upstairs, 1 downstairs,and another in my purse. An addicted reader will always find a way!

  71. I have a fear of being without a book. I call it “Lackolibraphobia”.

  72. I have a ‘resistant reader’ in the form of my son. When he was little I read the 5 of the ‘Harry Potter’ series out loud to him in an attempt to get him ‘hooked’. I am afraid that whilst he loved the story, he failed to pick up a book for himself. The whole exercise has given me an enormous amount of respect for Davina Porter though! Thank you Diana for creating such a wonderful alternative universe to escape too. Warmest regards from beautiful Brisbane, Australia.

  73. I can´t live without books. The craziest thing i have done was when I flew to Newzealand. I decided to take a flight via Los Angeles (from Europe), because via Los Angeles we were allowed to take two suitcases, each 32 kg with us – instead of 1 suitcase with the weight of 20 kg when having a flight via Singapore…. so I was able to take many books with me for that 5 week vacation.

    Unfortunately this times are gone with 2 piece allowance…

    I habe stacks of books everywhere in my appartment, I always read more than one book at one time (sure – depending on my mood).

    When I was at school I was strictly forbidden to borrow more than 10 books per week from the public library…. so I tried to hide the exceeding number of books…. and to get the best value….. as many pages as possible….

    At the moment I prefer real books – I do not own a kindle or ebook-reader…. I like the feeling of pageturning…

    Wendy

  74. Thank you so much for this! I’m getting better at reading in small chunks. I think my problem is that when I get into a good book, I just can’t put it down! And then I realize that I’ve spent ALL of my extra time reading and none of it writing! Then I think, “wow, this is a good book! I wish I could write one this good!” and go back to reading.

    I suppose it’s all about balance and discipline. What you do does sound amazing though. I already do it to a point. I carry a book around with me and read while I’m in line to pick my kids up from school and stuff like that. Not sure I could read while doing all that other stuff. Worth a shot though.

    I guess I just have to learn to occasionally put the book down and get to writing my own!

  75. Thank you for making me realise that actually, I still do read.

    Ever since I’ve entered university I have felt that I’ve given up reading on my way in. Studying theatre and media studies with a minor of literature, I’ve got and had to read a LOT – but reading for pleasure somehow got lost on the way. When my day consists of reading scholarly texts, plays, screenplays, and of writing papers, essays, protocols of films you watch, and of constantly re-reading what I’ve written, the thought of “having” to read when at home, before going to bed, somehow loses its appeal.

    But your blog post made me see that even if it took me about two months to finish the last novel I read, and a few weeks to get through the last audio book, I actually do read. I read (and grade) papers right after getting up in the morning. I read my way through the day at the library. I will actually take up those three copies of Figaro’s Marriage (one German, one French and the opera’s libretto) again right after finishing this reply and read my way through them, regardless that it’s nearly 1 a.m. here.

    So thank you. Your blog post pretty much made my day. And also my reading. So on with the Figaro. And have a very nice day.

  76. I am so happy to see I am not alone in my reading. all. of. the. time. ness….lol I have a 45 minute commute so I listen to audio books. I am on my second go around on the outlander series. I just love listening to it over and over again. It is my Claire/Jamie/Bree/Roger fix. I am currently listening to Voyager . But, I am also an avid reader. So I read on my Kindle quite a bit. I love that I can download books from new or more obscure authors as well as out of print books. Also, my tastes run all over the place and I will read Stephen King or Sharon Green depending on my mood. :) I read in the bathroom, kitchen while cooking or car (when someone else is driving) and of course when sitting anywhere waiting for kids. Reading on the treadmill works out quite well as well and I love to listen to my audio books when cleaning the house or doing some other activity where actually reading a book wont work. I do not watch much television but will read while my husband watches. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty reading so much. And I am in school so also reading text books. My other passion is used book stores. There is a really great one in my city called the York Emporium (in York PA) and it is awesome chock full of lots of really interesting books that I have never heard of as well as newer books. I honestly do not know how anyone could NOT read. I mean, what would they do with themselves? I guess watch TV? lol

  77. I think I am one of those people who asked you if ever get a chance to sit down and read The Outlander books to enjoy as we do on Twitter (blushing) Well I probably am crazy, but my dad always said there was no such thing as a dumb question. (So I asked) You were very gracious and answered me.

    I think it is very sad for a child to live in a household with no books. When I was a kid we had to go to bed at 8:00, but if we wanted to read we could stay up till 9:00. Well my sister, 2 brothers and I thought that was such a treat! My husband and I read to our kids every night when they were little. As they got older we would all take turns reading out loud. We read all the Harry Potter books that way. Now 29, 27 and 17 they all love reading.

    Someone above asked about children books. I was a Preschool teacher for 19 years (3 year old in my class) I highly recommend any Robert Munsch book. Every year at back to school night my boss would have me read Love You Forever. It’s beautiful for both kids and adults. most of the moms cried when I read it. The kids love the sing the “love you for ever part” The kids favorite book was Good Families Don’t. (the fart book, giggle giggle they say)

    I enjoyed reading about how you all read. I think I have always loved to read. But I have to admit that although I have always had a book on hand to read I was never so obsessive about it until I discovered the Outlander series. I first bought them via my Kindle, then I had to have the books to hold. I read them while cooking, folding clothes (I have my kindle in a case that can stand up ) My husband and I watch Bones and I commercial read. I read them at the pool, Dr. office, in the car if I am not the one driving. They are on my desk, in my bedroom, in the kitchen and when our bathroom is done there will be one there too. Most of all they are always in my head. I have the Lord John Series too which I love much more than I thought I would. I read them, talk about them, discuss them on multiple sites. I am going to get them on audio for my husband and I to listen together while I wait for book 8 and the Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner. I think I should read some of the books you all suggested too.
    Thank you Diana, for your books and your blog : )

  78. “Our reasons for reading are as eccentric as our reasons for living”. This could also apply to non-readers. “To read or not to read” may be a complicated question with equally complex answers. I am a reader, book nut, librarian- toward the extreme positive end of the plus/minus scale. My brother is barely literate for a variety of reasons, undiagnosed dyslexia being one of them. Physiology and genetics may stack the deck against some folks. People who read only for information, those whose lives are largely lived externally may not be able to appreciate reading for pleasure. Young Ian and Jamie (DG characters) show some of those contrasts. Ian is more of a “physical being” prone to hands-on concrete methods. Jamie can and does live more internally, though he’s very pragmatic scholarship and the printed word are very important to him. To varying degrees we all live in worlds of our own creation. Whether those worlds are pure imagination (the life internal) or material (the life external) depends on a widely diverse mix of nature and nurture.

  79. Great question! I too have books all over the house, in every location where I might have a few minutes to read. I usually have at least 5 books going at any given time. My Kindel never leaves my side, that way what ever I am in the mood to read it is close. It easily fits in my purse, 1000′s of books at your fingertips. I also love to make use of car travel time with audio books!
    My favorite all time reading location is while camping with my family. My husband goes fishing and I read uninterrupted for hours in the fresh air awhhh heaven!

  80. I always take a book with me while I’m brushing my teeth too:) I have a rechargable toothbrush, and each cycle is 2 minutes. My husband jokes that he can tell when I’m reading something particularly interesting as I’ll keep hitting the “on” button and brush for 6 minutes!
    As a side note-I was fortunate enough to get a preview copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks before its release. It is an absolutely fascinating read. My copy didn’t have the photo section, but one can’t have everything haha. A cousin just started working at Hopkins and we had a long emailed discussion about her cells that they are still working with to this day~

  81. Since I learned to read at about age 6, I can not remember a time that I have not had a book in my hand, or near to hand. I can still hear one or the other of my parents complaining that I always had my nose in a book, while at the same time, they bought me anything I could devour. My dad a the reasoning that he didn’t care what we read, just so long as we read. He would buy us comic books by the bundles, my mom toted us to the library, our favorite summer time hang out. Did they censor what we read, nope. I learned some of my best life lessons from reading ,”True Story’, and ‘True
    Confessions”.
    I must tell you Diana that the first of your books I read was “A Breath of Snow & Ashes’ The cover sounded pretty good, and I was looking for a book to sink my teeth into! Those short little novels I can go thru in a day & less, I liked this book for the sheer weight of it! Then I discovered it was part of your series, and I was hooked.
    I have never written to a author, and I’ve read thousands. I love this story you have created! At my ripe age of 57, it takes something great to capture my imagination, and you have!
    Thank you again!
    As Always,
    Your Number One Fan,
    Deborah

  82. Diana, to dig even deeper, I’m curious to know how you read _the_ words, lol. Do you read word by word or do you scan by line, para, or page? And do you ever skip ahead (or to the end) to get resolution and then go back to continue reading? (I have my own thoughts on this, but I’ll smile politely regardless of your answer ;) )
    ~Rach

    • Dear Rach–

      I want to choke people who skip or turn to the end. (Since you ask. {g}) Whatever one may think about whether that’s “cheating” {g} or not–the author went to a LOT of trouble to engineer the book in order to achieve a specific pacing, rhythm, structure and impact (well, some authors go to more trouble than others, let’s say that {cough}). To ignore that and just go dipping into the book any old place, pulling out chunks and licking them, then putting sticky fingers back in, gumming up the pages and ruining the structure–it’s like seeing a perfect gingerbread house and ripping chunks out so the whole thing falls into a pile of crumbs. Still tasty, no doubt, but it’s destroying a beautifuly detailed, painstaking aesthetic for the sake of instant gratification. Still and all, if folk buy the book, they’re entitled to read it any old way they want–and there are a lot of people out there who lick the insides out of Oreo cookies.

      Personally, I read even bad books from beginning to end, because I want to see what the author intended–whether they accomplished that or not.
      –Diana

      • My thoughts EXACTLY! A good friend of mine and I have this debate frequently, because I feel compelled to set her on the righteous path of _reading_it_properly! Her retort is that she gets actual anxiety when the book is…creating questions (I call it: getting good), so skipping ahead gives her peace of mind to be able to enjoy it. The good news is that she was so caught up in Outlander that she couldn’t actually stop long enough to skip ahead and seek answers! Lol.

        In a similar vein, that’s why I was wondering if you scan read or read word-for-word. While speed readers still feel satisfied at the end of a book and claim to have digested the same details, I can’t imagine it to really be true, and therefore isn’t that also a diservice to an author? Can they really appreciate the details and imagery that were crafted? Or maybe that’s just my personal frustration clouding my eyes – eyes that can’t speed read at all!

        ~Rach

      • Rach and Diana:

        I am one of those individuals that does sample the last few pages of any book I’m considering. I often listen to the end also…Perhaps it is because I don’t like surprises, or maybe it is because I am simply curious about the end. I find it encourages more focus and reflection on my part. The result is that I end up more engaged in what I perceive the author’s intention for writing the book.

        Of course, I could simply be kidding myself…but it does feel that way. But then again, I like cereal and salad dry without milk or dressing.

        Loretta Remington

  83. Omgosh. Between reading and audio books there is hardly a time when I’m not reading something the course of the day. Let’s see there is the 20 minute commute to and from work when at home, an hour when I’m traveling from my boyfriends (actual book or audio) . At work while working on data entry and trying to block out the noise of the office (audio), lunch break (actual book or audio if I’m also knitting), then take a break once home and read before bed, sometimes listen to audio if I can’t sleep. I don’t dare try to read a physical book while walking as I have a tendency to trip over my own feet.

    I’m a voracious reader, and having reading the Outlander Series, and listened to it more than once over the last few years I’m sure I could recite parts of your books. Right now I’m listening to Jim Butcher, and just downloaded the newest Charlaine Harris, and reading George RR Martin’s A Storm of Swords, sometime within the next month I’ll probably pick up Outlander again as I’m due for a read.

    I’m also lucky to have a boyfriend who loves to read if not as much as I do, still quite a bit, and we share a lot of books. But there was one night a few weeks ago, I fell asleep and he was still reading and was only 15 pages into the book at that time, when I woke up the next morning he had finished it!!! I’m so jealous I can’t do that anymore…. So I wonder if I’ll ever get him to read Outlander, I hope so.

  84. Amazing! I get so involved in the books I read, I have to wait a few days before picking up a new one…. this helps me ‘let go’ of the characters I just ‘lived’ with.

  85. If I had the choice to live 5 years longer – but without reading or die earlier, but with so many books to read I want – I will always decide: with books….

    The little girl of a friend learned reading by herself – she cannot wait until school began. She was the queen at preschool – because she was able to read what´s served for lunch….. her mother said: books are not an extra gift – books are like bread….and nobody should be hungry….

    • Wendy, I agree with your friend. Books are not an extra gift they are like bread. I will always buy my kids a book when they want one. We also of course go to the library but sometimes, you just want to own the book. Which creates a dilemma when it comes to storing them. .

  86. Diana,

    I just finished The Russian Concubine due to a review you had written. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it reminded me quite a bit of The Bronze Horseman triology by Paullina Simons. I also began the book on Henrietta Lacks and it’s absollutely fascinating! You will enjoy it.

    Rhona

  87. How the hell do your mind work?!?
    I can’t even read two books at the same time without getting things mixed up, and you’re writing the most complex book series in the universe while reading a gazillion books! And you made me feel very, very bad about all the time I have on my hands and what little I do with it.

  88. My husband/family thinks I’m bad about reading – I’m going to show this to them. I’m a frequent reader who usually has multiple books going at once (upstairs/downstairs/at work/in the car/etc). I’ve been trying to sneak exercise in the same way – not quite as accomplished at that yet…

  89. Diana,
    You rock, unquestionably, as always. :) However, I have to take issue with the phrase “small, digestible chunks” of reading in the bathroom. Eeeeew. :)

  90. Hey Diana,
    Wow, you just seem to use up every moment of your life in such a constructive way!! It’s amazing. I too, am an avid reader also, as is my hubby, which is SO cool, but am not quite able to multitask in such a way as you describe, anymore, sadly. Reading while cooking? How do do protect your books? Oh, yes, well if it is a Kindle, I guess that would be easier :) I cannot imagine my life without reading though!!

    A sad truth to some lives, like my brother in law’s, would be that he is dyslexic and he despises reading of any kind, therefore, he does not encourage his two boys to read either. How SAD for them all! I suppose I can see HIS reasons for not wanting to read so much, but to pass it to the children, yikes! I needle him all the time about it. Luckily their mother is a little more encouraging, but boys do like to emulate there fathers with their likes and dislikes.

    Anyways, you inspire me always with your incredible gift of always “Doing Stuff”. Do you ever just sit and do “Nothing” ?

    Bonnie

  91. I feels good to know that I am not the only book reading/listening nut out there who does not watch TV! I usually go through at least 3, usually more books a month between audio in the car and reading during ‘spare’ time, though after reading your post I think I need to have book even more handy! My husband has also recently set me up with an ipod so I foresee several more books a month!

    One of my biggest pet peeves is people who waste ALL their free time in front of the TV, I will watch a movie every now and then but regular watching is such a waste of the precious little time I do have!

    Keep up the great work so I can have more to read:)

  92. Wow, that is all I can say. And also thank you. I feel inspired to read more, I really like the way you do things girl!

  93. Great blog post!
    I listen to audiobooks primarily; I used to be a voracious reader of actual text based literature but then the insatiable fibre lust struck so any down time is spent knitting or spinning (like a fiend)! But I use a book seat to still read actual books while knitting easy projects where I don’t need to watch the needles, and I also donthe books everywhere trick but somewhat less ‘everywhere’ than you (eg no kitchen but now I might take up that plan!).
    TV seems to get in the way of so much doesn’t it! People often see me knitting and say “oh, that’s so nice. I wish I had time to knit” and when queried what they did after work last night the answer is “watched tv”.

  94. I’m particularly glad that I don’t fall under the category of writers who can’t read while they are actively writing. That would leave me about… three weeks out of the year to read. My soul would shrivel into some ugly dessicated thing. So would my writing.

    I believe it could be true for others though. We’re all wired differently. As you say to those who only write in long chunks of time (which I prefer, but don’t require), more power to them.

  95. I belong to a book club and we just read “Half Broke Horses” and “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls. There were 8 of us at this particular gathering and for once we all read both of the books. We had quite the discussion with most of us mavellling at the resiliency of the human spirit. It was just amazing how 4 children took care of their alcoholic father and perpetually irresonsibible mother. Wow!

    Diana, I was wondering if you had read these books since much of the action takes place in Arizona.

    I love to read because I feel like it is direct communication from the author to me. There are no actors, directors, etc to help me get the message. It’s very personal in that it’s only the two of us.

    Anyway, I love your books and would like to thank you for many hours of entertainment!

    • Dear Carol–

      No, I haven’t read them yet, but have certainly heard good things about them, and will add them to my list–thanks!

      –Diana

  96. Having been asked the exact same question many times, I just loved your response for so many reasons. I have similar reading habits and get through about the same amount of books. I’ve been known to tell people that “I’ll read the back of the cereal packet at breakfast if there’s nothing else available.” I also read (and correct the spelling and grammar) in the pewsheet at church! :) Reading is my sanity, my escape – it’s not a matter of making the time. I do it because I need it! My daughters (aged 8 and 11) are the same. We each have library cards and max them out all the time (you can only get 20 books per card and we go twice a week)! I love your books and have read and re-read them countless times. I buy your books (rather than borrow them) because I will re-read them. They are classics.

  97. My family are active readers, I share books with my mother and grandmother. My husband and I encourage our 15 and 13 year old children to read as well. So much, that our home is overflowing (seems like) with books. I volunteer at the local school to help children with reading, and aside from the ones with learning difficulties, a lot of the kids who struggle with reading come from homes where reading isn’t important and one told me the only thing read in their home was the TV guide.
    I’ll read anything fiction, magazines, blog posts, whereas my husband hasn’t read fiction in nearly 20 years, yet he always is reading something. He is a Technical Writer and his office is overflowing with all sorts of ‘technical’ manuals.

  98. With all that multi-book juggling, why haven’t you switched to ebooks? I have at least 4 or 5 books in progress on my e-reader at any time, but usally settle on one to dig into for a push to the finish. It helps (or hurts, depending on perspective) that I have 3 hours of bus-bound commuting time. I, too, raced through “Dead Reckoning” and wish another Sookie bookie were ready. I have all of yours in my reader for a re-read at any tine, having read them all at least twice!

  99. Dianna-I too am a voracious ‘reader’ though because of my schedule and propensity to multi-task, I LISTEN to my books. When I sit down to ‘read’ I end up speed reading-a legacy of my Masters and National Boards I’m afraid. So the listening option really allows me to savor the words and intentions of the author. I recently listened to the HENRIETTA LACKS book and the EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, in between some fiction for escape.

    I own all of your books both in hard cover and audio format and have read/listened to them several times. One of the wonderful benefits to having both is the ability to re-visit Jamie and Claire’s world through different senses-visual to imaginary and aural to concrete image.

    I look forward to the release of the next in the series…

    Loretta Remington

  100. Thanks for confirming that I am not the only person to read constantly and to have several books on the go at once. I was told it was crazy to read more than one book at a time, but I found it the only way to make a good book last more than a day or two particularly during the long nights of early menopause when i slept no more than 3 hours a fortnight (unfortunately not all at once). Thank God for the somewhat extreme length of your novels even though they are heavy bundles to hold up in bed – the sheer length of the stories last me a couple of days if I manage to pace myself. I love the way you write and reading your blogs it appears to not be much different from the way you live your life. As an Australian I could do with less of the American war stuff and more interpersonal relationship and day to day life. Please, please, please get the next installment out soon, I have been so concerned for wee Jem’s safety for far too long now hahaha.

  101. Adding to strange places to read, My parents had a roller skating rink area in the back room of their business ( a converted barn). As a young girl, I loved to roller skate and read. It is best done with an empty rink but it can be done with others as long as it isn’t too busy. I also skated backwards reading but for that you definitely want the rink to yourself. So yes I do read virtually all the time, except driving as I rarely have the road to myself.
    Thank you for writing, Diana, you are very much appreciated.

  102. I am late to the discussion but have enjoyed reading the comments and I am happy to learn there are many avid readers! I am usually reading at least 1 fiction book for fun, 1 book related to my profession(acupressure/massage) and 1 non-fiction book for fun or learning something new. I often joke that I am an armchair adventurer-I love to read about people like Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall or Sy Montgomery. I am currently reading Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa by Mark Seal (about Joan Root), just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and just started Five Quarters of Orange by Joanne Harris(author of Chocolat) but am not really enjoying it. I also recently read 3 books by Sena Jeter Naslund–Four Spirits, Ahab’s Wife, and Adam and Eve. If you have not read her books I highly recomend the first two (Adam and Eve was ok but not anywhere close to the quality of the others) I could not put down Ahab’s Wife!
    For those of you concerned about a child not reading–sometimes it is finding the right book and sometimes it takes bribery! My 3 daughters are all avid readers like me(though youngest was a bit slow to get started) and my oldest daughter has 3 kids–oldest girl is an avid reader, youngest is a boy and though he likes to read he prefers active outdoor play right now, daughter number 2 was not a reader. My daughter bribed her–said she would give her $10.00 if she would read all the Harry Potter books and she did! Then she started picking up other books that her sister or Mom were reading. TV is just not an option–if they don’t want to read they need to be outside playing or doing arts/crafts.
    My husband likes to read too–we share books on Daoism, herbs, natural healing and sometimes fiction but he likes science fiction more than I do. He has read the first 4 of the Outlander–drives me crazy that he doesn’t seem interested in finishing the series! And, Diana I think you will get a kick out of this: daughter #2 started getting serious about a guy and decided it was time to introduce him to us. We were asking about him while she and her best friend were visiting –friend said that she would describe new BF as very “Jamiesque”! Saw him in a rugby match and said she could imagine him out on a battlefield in a kilt (they were wearing shorts and showing off strong legs!). He is a tall redhead with blue eyes. It was funny that all of us knew exactly what she was talking about–sisters, step-dad, me! DD won’t let us say anything to him yet about being like Jamie! I also have always imagined Claire as looking a lot like my daughter–though she is a Princess and the Pea–would not last long in rough conditions! I am so looking forward to the next book on Jamie and Claire!

  103. Diana…just wondering…was there ever a time in your life when you were NOT reading (for leisure) much? I just went back to graduate school and my leisure reading has plummeted! After a day’s lab work and incessant paper-reading leisure reading seems to slip through the cracks. I have to say though, your post on reading really made me feel like there is always time for a quick read. Thanks for that.

  104. Dear Diana,

    Having enjoyed your exchange with Rach Daven, I thought I’d add my own perspective. I, too, read almost everything and have walls of books all over the house, ranging from how- to’s on handcrafting and sewing, genealogy, astrology, writing, various forms of art, cooking, ecology/conservation, the Foxfire books (Appalachia) and gardening. I also have a large collection of geographical “place” books, historical works from medieval times through WWII, RR commemoratives, local area histories, and a scattering of geological and vaguely scientific books that can be understood by “dummies”. In addition. there’s a set of Encyclopedia Britannica (circa 1967) plus the yearly books issued by them thereafter up to the present day plus impossible-to-count numbers of volumes with fictional content.

    I’ve devoured books since I was very young, graduating from children’s books at the age of 10, moving into westerns and detective stories that my father chose for me. Genetically, I come from a long line of readers; my immigrant great-great grandmother came from Ireland in 1848 (with a dozen books in her trunk) and there’s been a “reader” in each generation that followed her. My son is the next one; his sister will read but it’s more of an effort for her. However, once I introduced her to the Outlander books, she has impatiently nagged me for “the next one”.

    Living much of my life out in the country, books have been both entertainment and the means of expanding my mind ever since. And despite my other interests in life, my love of reading probably
    exceeds any other except my family. When I read, I’m absorbed in the world on the pages in front of me. So, in 1987, when they needed a library trustee on the local board, I got elected and now, after 24 years, have finally resigned. Time for some younger blood, I think.

    That said, I admit I’m not as coordinated about my reading as you are, but I do read while eating or whenever I have to sit and wait somewhere (although sometimes I also keep a sketchbook handy). Most of the time, I’m inclined to pick a favorite spot (in the house or outin the yard) and spend a few hours absorbed in a book. The way I read is impatiently. I want to know the story more than the intimate details. I can go through a normal book in 3 to 4 hours and the reason is because I need to reach the conclusion as fast as I can so I’m not tempted to peek ahead. Once I have the plot firmly in mind, IF the writing is good and the VOICE of the author’s clear, I’ll go back and read it again; this time more slowly with greater attention paid to the prose and continuity, searching for the nuances I may have overlooked in the first reading. I don’t think everyone should read this way; each reader
    should do whatever works best for their enjoyment. This just happens to be my method.

    Needless to say, the Outlander series has continually inpressed me. Not only with your ability to plot believably, but also with the way you work in area history, well-known characters, human vulnerability and those thoroughly enjoyable bits of family life, tenderness and humor. In my second and subsequent readings of your books (I have all twelve, now) I’ve discovered a richness of resonance that stays with me long after I have closed the book.

    I’m also amazed at the way you described scheduling your days; I have never been–and never will be–as energetic and efficient as you seem to be. While I do have a lot of interests in various aspects of life, at my age (80) I don’t feel a need to be that productive. I don’t have to fill every minute of every day. . . come to think of it, I never really have. If that’s marching to a different drummer, then I guess I do for I don’t read when I have the time for it. I read because I TAKE the time for it. An afternoon spent in pursuit of a pleasured mind is much more importnt to me than doing my housework.

  105. Having 3 children, ages 3 and under, makes finding time to read a little difficult. Other than children’s books, that is. Most of the children’s books that I enjoy they really aren’t ready to comprehend. I want to hold my baby girls close to me and have them be my babies for always BUT I am looking forward to the time in their lives when we can have reading nights. My mother did that with me and my brother when we were young. We would, all of us, lay in the bed together every night and my mom would read a chapter out of Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle In Time series. And I am so looking forward to sharing that with my three (or more(maybe?)) daughters. And Harry Potter and whatever else I can read to them that will incite a love for reading such as my mother did for me.
    Growing up, I always had my nose in a book, as did my brother. Thankfully, my mother, bless her heart, bought me a Kindle this past Christmas!!! so now, I can read almost anywhere. The playground, on my lunch break, the park, on the exercise bike, while nursing my 9 month old, while pumping (milk, that is)… I haven’t quite mastered the art of laundry and reading, but give me time…I’ll rig up something, eventually;) I’m really enjoying reading the Native American historical fictions by James Alexander Thom.
    Happy Reading!

  106. Diana,

    I’ve always loved the way a book feels and smells (positively refreshing), but after reading this blog post I feel like I should invest in an e-reader of some sort! All the wasted time not multitasking with reading because I needed 2 hands to read borders on tragic! So, now which to invest in. Suggestions? I see the big competitors are Nook and Kindle.

    PS I meant to tell you that I won the 10 free copies of Outlander to give away, and I am pleased to report they are gone and you have 10 new fans…including my husband.

    PPS Completely unrelated, what is Claire’s favorite tea? Curiosity overcame me as I was having a cup myself while reading Outlander…again.

  107. Cooking while reading or reading while cooking is not a smart move for me.
    The results are rather unfavorable.
    An iPod with a book on it to listen to, might try that one day. I am more the paper person and need to have it in my hands, instead of a voice in my head (I usually don’t even listen to music on walks). But who knows, I might like it.
    But overall I usually read at least one book a week. They are harder to come by here in Kuwait though without an APO address *big sigh* ;)
    Looking forward to be back in civilization one day (pst, don’t tell anyone I said that) and stock up on the Lord John series :)
    People that don’t read usually turn out to be a very strange species. *shudder*

  108. Dear Diana,

    I love your novels, and perhaps most of all your characters. To my mind, it is like they are real people – they just live very far away so I never get the opportunity to see them!

    Regarding this post, though. I now find myself slightly infatuated with you – you are the only person I know who reads like I do! And obviously how people read is a serious requirement for infatuation! I too read constantly, and have done since I was very very young (I am now 22 years old). Do you also have to look in strange places when you have lost a book you are reading at the moment? I always have a look in the wardrobe (yes, obviously reading whilst getting dressed is a fabulous idea!), the fridge, bathroom shelves…

    I haven’t visited this site before, but noticed that you are doing a book signing in Scotland later on this summer. Would love to travel there – will see if I can procure the funding…

    With many thanks for the countless days of entertainment your books have given me,
    Alexandra

  109. whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are hunting around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  110. Diana, Me Mum passed your Outlander series on to me sans Voyager. I have read Outlander and Dragon Fly in Amber in less than a week. I literally could not put the books down and purposely did not order Voyager from the local library because my house is in bad need of cleaning! Me Mum’s da was Scotch, from Nova Scotia, Thompson’s the name. The first book sent me to the internet looking up the clan history and the tartan, then I got engrossed in looking at the Google Map of Scotland, going on the ground and trying to figure out just where Lallybrock is. Oh, right, fictional. Ha! One of the reviews in one of the books says, “The pages turn themselves.” They sure do. I could not put them down, and now I’ve just finished Dragon Fly…and I am sorely angry with myself for not having Voyager ready to delve into, housework be damned. Rest assured I will be on the phone to my library tomorrow to have their copy held for my pick-up ASAP! I have every other one but that one and cannot bring myself to just skip Voyager and go on with Clair watching a execution parade in Charleston NC, without knowing how she got there, and her looking for Jamie in the crowd. I have to know how she got back to him, how it is that Bree and Roger are there with her. OMG…I can’t wait. I’m pouring over trips to Scotland on Cheaptickets.com so I can find that mini-Henge and go back in time and find my own Jamie Fraser. You’re one great writer, Diana. Your books have sparked an interest in my Scotch heritage that heretofore I have not had. I’m wondering now if my Grampa’s ancestors came here in the aftermath of the Cullendormuir battle. Also intriguing to me is the fact that my father’s family is basically English and traces its roots to Yorkshire. Both grandmothers are at least half Native American, one Micmac, the other Malacite. I have quite a bit of information from that end of my ancestry. The Scotch bit kind of got left out as being not that interesting. NOT INTERESTING?!! I had no idea until I got engrossed in your wonderful series. Thank you for that.
    Bonnie (yes, my real name)

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