I am back on the soil of Albion, as bloated as a goose fattened for Christmas. I ran once in my trip to the US and ate copious amounts of junk food, so I suppose this is my comeuppance for lethargy.

Jumping from excess to books, perhaps not seamlessly, I'm going to rabbit on a bit about what I've been reading. As you may know, I got a Kindle for my birthday. I stroke it lovingly every evening, whisper sweet nothings into its USB access port, and write it tender poetry every fortnight. It's a marvel of modern invention and I might make it an honorary second child.

My mind is awash with the many possibilities of what can be put on this thing, and I was initially unsure what to make my first official purchase. However, I am easily swayed and bow very easily to peer pressure, and young Molly had been talking favourably about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series for some time. Neither one of us are fans of the romance genre, but as the series is also classified as historical fiction, we have assumed this umbrella instead, choosing to assiduously ignore the dreaded "r" word.

Let me just tell you - I couldn't get enough of the first book (Outlander) in this series. Despite being jet-lagged, forced into going back to work within 24 hours of my return from a month-long trip to the US, an at-times needy husband, and a demanding, tyrannical toddler, I read this book in less than a week. This book is nearly 700 pages long friends. That's some heavy reading for a flighty, ADD-addled person like me.

I admit, there are some cheesy as hell sex scenes. To wit:

"'Aye, Sassenach,' he muttered, answering my movements rather than my words. 'Ride ye I will!' His hands dropped to my breasts, squeezing and stroking, then slid down my sides. his whole weight rested on me now as he cupped and raised me for still greater penetration. I screamed then and he stopped my mouth with his, not a kiss, but another attack, forcing my mouth open, bruising my lips and rasping my face with bearded stubble. He thrust harder and faster, as though he would force my soul as he forced my body. In body or soul, somewhere he struck a spark, and an answering fury of passion and need sprang from the ashes of surrender. I arched upward to meet him, blow for blow. I bit his lip and tasted blood.

I felt his teeth then on my neck and dug my nails into his back. I raked him from nape to buttocks, spurring him to rear and scream in his turn. We savaged each other in desperate need, biting and clawing, trying to draw blood, trying each to pull the other into ourselves, tearing each other's flesh in the consuming desire to be one. My cry mingled with his, and we lost ourselves finally in each other in that last moment of dissolution and completion."

In Gabaldon's defense, can a sex scene in a non-erotic novel be written well sans "thrusting" and "savaging"? There is no "throbbing" in this passage, but I'm sure it's around somewhere.

Now I'm trying NOT to buy the second book in the series right away, because that's surely lame, right? Molly and I are book snobs perhaps, but seriously, it's hard to admit you really enjoy a book whose first edition cover was this:

It looks like one of my Mom's beach romance books from the early 90s; books that she fondly referred to as "crotch novels". That's one classy broad right there.

I have some works more appropriate for a book snob on my Kindle - Anna Karenina, The Early Stories: 1953-1975 (Updike), Jane Eyre, Native Son, Pride and Prejudice, Sister Carrie, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and a number of books obtained from what might be the best e-book website ever - http://manybooks.net/ . I've gone majorly nerd overboard there and I don't even want to visit there now as I know I won't go to bed until at least 3am if I do.

What are you reading? What do you want to read? If you have some written guilty pleasures, what are they? This isn't a pathetic appeal for comments, I want to know. Well, that, and I miss you. Not having a regular line to tweets and blogs for over a month has made me all wistful and what not. So, what say you?

*UPDATE*: Because I need more books like I need my left ovary to be more posterior, I stopped by my favourite charity shop today and bought four more bloody books. Oops. For the princely sum of £7.50 ($12.40) I now have "World Without End" by Ken Follett, "The Shipping News" by Annie Proulx, "The Edible Woman" by Margaret Atwood, and...and...er, "Lord John and the Private Matter" by one Diana Gabaldon. God help me.


Molly said...

GIVE IN TO THE PRESSURE! Buy Dragonfly in Amber! They may make you feel cheap and ridiculously, but here's the thing: they are damned enjoyable. I'm on book 6 of the series (A Breath of Snow and Ashes) and just. can't. stop.

I'm also reading Mel from Stirrup Queen's Navigating the Land of If -- she does us proud, ladies. Really, really, she does.

I've got various others waiting -- Dooce's memoir, Kate Harding's Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere, and gobs of novels that I just never got around to reading . . .

Orodemniades said...

For the love of all that's garlic, how could you?! I just could not get interested in Outlander...and my copy was free! (yay for damaged books when you work in a bookstore). As for what I'm reading, I just made a recommended reads post on B&M.

Melody said...

Ok, you've pulled me out of lurkdom. I'm a huge Outlander fan, loved all the books, own them all in hard back and I usually reread the series prior to the next one being released. I've pre-ordered the next book in the series which comes out in September (Echo in the Bone). Lately I've read a few books in Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. Cheesy sex, vampires and other various supernatural creatures, what's not to like?

May said...

I've got the full Diana Gabaldon set on my shelf, too. I like the first three quite a bit (Dragonfly in Amber is very good) but I think the series went downhill after that. I've got the one coming out this fall preordered, though. Gabaldon has a PhD in ecology- she's a smart woman and a good writer, though you're right about the cheesy sex scenes. They get less frequent after the first book.

Jane Austen- I've read them all again and again. LOVE Austen. Especially Persuasion. Recently read books I've enjoyed: The Time Traveller's Wife (by Niffenberger), Tender at the Bone (by Reichl). And anything by Bill Bryson has me snorting coffee out my nose.

Major Bedhead said...

I recently read The Book Thief and loved it. I'm telling everyone I know to read it. It's fantastic. It's classified as YA, but there's nothing juvenile about it at all.

I also just finished The Weight of Silence - it was also excellent.

My guilty pleasure is the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Such a fun series. Vampires, weres and lots of sex.

Anonymous said...

I, too, want to make sweet, sweet love to my Kindle on a daily basis. My only gripe is that I'm spending far, far too much money on books because of the instant gratification.

I've never read the Outlander series, but now I think I may give them a try.

Melody - the Anita Blake series is my all-time favorite. The later books in the series are vastly different from the first four or five, fyi.

Brigindo said...

I LOVED The Shipping News. I hope you enjoy it as much as Outlander.

Betty M said...

Glad to see you back.

Those Outlander books sound dreadful to me - sorry - but I wouldn't read Twilight either. I am a snob.

Currently I am ploughing through 900 pages of Dombey & Son for book club. Usually I tear through Dickens but this is slooow.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished Outlander, courtesy of Shannon who was keen to start me off on the series - it had a considerably better cover than that one! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I keep dipping into it again for 5 minutes here and there, as I never seem to absorb everything first time round.

I am always keen to start people off on Manda Scott's Boudicca series. Seriously, seriously good read, can recommend. You might enjoy Lindsey Davis and Ellis Peters if you like the historical fiction genre.

T said...

Some of the outlander series sex scenes make me just shiver with embarrassment - and I like sex! Still love the series.

A friend recently recommended The Physick Book of something Dane - I forget the whole thing, but it looks fabulous.

Have to echo Hairy - Lindsey Davis is hilarious and how could you not like Ellis Peters? For that matter, Peter Doherty (and all his aliases(??)) are great quick reads.
Oh oh and L. Suzanne Frank and Sharon Kay Penman.

Melissia said...

They redid the covers of the reissues of Diane Gabaldon's books recently to unify all of them. (And I think to get away from the bodice ripper theme!) I just reread all of them this summer and have preordered her next one). I have also started reading Terry Goodkind's 11 book series, The Sword of Truth, that starts with The Wizard's First Rule. Each book is about 1000 pages so it should take me a while, and is not my usual reading, but so far has been quite good. I can't wait to try everyone else's suggestions.
I have so far resisted a kindle for the exact reasons that you given, I can read a book a day and I am afraid that I will spend way too much money if I can just download everything instantly if I don't have to leave my house to get it, especially late at night when I can't sleep.

Sam said...

I adore the Outlander series, although it's called something different over here in the UK!! I should warn you, although you probably already know by now, that Lord John and the Private Matter is quite a different kind of book!