Our First Take on Outlander: The Series

outlander_starzStarz’s adaptation of Outlander, with Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, premiered last week with a free online episode available here. Outlander is a legend in the romance world and here at AAR, where it’s placed in the top five romances in every annual poll except 2004 (it “crashed” to seventh). I’m a fan of the books but not a die-hard, so I’m not troubled by minor plot deviations or additions as long as they’re in the spirit of Gabaldon’s book. I’m looking for something that captures the detailed, warts-and-all Highland setting, Claire’s confidence and competence, Jamie’s honesty and enthusiasm, and their marvelous, inevitable attraction. On the basis of the first episode, I’m optimistic that this series is going to deliver. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Results

OutlanderOur first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll results are in and it’s time to share!  While many of the standard favorites shine through as expected, I was delighted with all the other books, narrators, and series that received a good amount of notice as well.  The Poll is divided into five categories:

  • Absolute Favorites
  • Sub-Genre Favorites
  • Narrator Favorites
  • Other Favorites to Ponder
  • Let’s Let the Audiobook Industry Know…

And with that…drum roll please!

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Casting My Favorites

cliveWe’re talking casting here again at the AAR blog.

Lynn wrote earlier this week about how she never, ever visualizes actors as characters in a novel she’s reading.  Truth is I rarely do either.

But sometimes something just clicks and the pairing of an actor with a character feels totally right.

The list of favorite characters that I haven’t cast is far (far, far, far) longer than the characters I have.

In fact, I’ve really only cast three.

Clive Owen as Derek Craven:

I’ve loved Derek Craven since he first crossed my path w-a-a-a-a-y back in 1994 when Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas was first published.  Back then, as is typical with me, I never pictured him as having a particular face.

Then I saw Clive Owen.  I forget what film – maybe Croupier – first introduced me to his wonders, but by the time Gosford Park was released in 2001, I knew he was Derek.  Just knew it.

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Speaking of Audiobooks: The Outlander Series

Outlander choiceThe audiobook standard of excellence in my opinion is undoubtedly the unabridged version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series as told by narrator Davina Porter.  Specifically, I am talking about the first four in the series:  Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn.  Rarely have I been entertained to this degree for such a sustained period of time and that’s quite a statement given that these four books represent 159 hours of listening enjoyment with barely a boring moment.

Although I own all of these books in print, I have never actually read any one of the four.  My immense satisfaction with this series comes solely from listening to the unabridged audiobooks.  Now, I can’t imagine just settling for the printed word when I choose to revisit Frasers and company.  It’s as though there is another whole dimension beyond the mere reading that totally captures my mind’s eye.

It goes without saying that Diana Gabaldon’s writing is the basis of the love herein.  Without her exceptional storytelling, where would we be?  However, when it comes to audiobooks, there is a second star in the wings who vividly brings these books to life and that is narrator Davina Porter.  Much of today’s column is high praise of one sort or another for Ms. Porter’s ability to so completely engage my emotions while providing easily distinguished characterizations.  Seldom did I need a “he said” or a “she said” once a character was introduced.  Told in first person, the warmth or occasional smile in Porter’s voice further defined Claire’s character and her objective view of the world.

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Libraries in the Digital Age

reviewcoffee This confession will probably give some of you a heart attack, but I haven’t read any of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I know, I know. It’s like I’ve been living under a rock buried 3 miles below the surface of the Earth. But lately I’ve been thinking about giving the first book a try. So I sent out a half-joking tweet on the subject. To my surprise, I received a personal response from my local library letting me know that Outlander is available for checkout, should I so desire. Now granted, I’m kind of a dork, but I thought this was really cool. So cool, in fact, that I decided to explore more of the digital/virtual features my local library offers, and get the perspective of the Sacramento Public Library’s Digital Services Librarian Megan Wong on the subject of libraries in the digital age.

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