The TV Show So Hot I Switched to the Books * CoveyClub

Reading: The TV Show So Hot I Switched to the Books

Personal Growth

The TV Show So Hot I Switched to the Books

Outlander awoke something in me I thought was long gone

By Mel Miskimen

I approached the bookstore information kiosk with a combination of apprehension and embarrassment, much like I had done 40 odd years earlier when I had wanted the location of The Joy of Sex. Back then, 24-year-old me had practiced in my bathroom mirror, settling on just the right amount of head tilt – cocked to one side, jaw slightly jutted with my shoulders back — to exude confidence. Something I was sorely lacking, like female orgasm.

But, on that particular day, the elder hippie earth mother who had non-judgmentally pointed people down the right paths and to the correct sections had been replaced by a man who should not have been able to walk among mere mortals. He was tall. A hunter-gatherer type, probably descended from Norsemen. His thick, wavy, auburn hair should have been on my head — or at least on a pillow, next to mine. (As if!) His blue-eyed tractor beam pulled me in.

“Can I help you find something?”

I picked up a slight accent. Irish? Scottish? I wanted so much to tell him all the ways he could have helped me. Perhaps he knew where the elusive G spot was?

“Um, yes, where is the ladies room?”

Now, I was older. Wiser? In need of a particular book. A different kind. Sort of.

The woman at the kiosk  was a bit rattled, cursed the slow Internet. “Can I help you?”

I decided to just come out with it. “Do you have, those, Outlander books?”

My husband had been out of town on business and I was in the mood for a good binge-worthy series. My tastes usually defaulted to quirky comedy like Crashing or Derry Girls, but my search got hung up on a thumbnail of a man in a kilt, holding a woman, her hair and his blowing in the wind of a Highland moor, and I thought it looked interesting. I’d give it a go.

Opening credits passed my muster. As had the production values: post-World War II Scotland, a young couple getting reacquainted after being separated by the war. She, a field nurse, he a historian.  

The writing was good. I liked the characters. I was intrigued as to the whole time travel thing. Would she bump her head? Get hit by a car? Or would she travel through some sort of black hole, a tear in the space-time continuum?

I also knew there had to be a kilted love interest. I expected him to meet the required degree of handsomeness . . . and he did. He entered the scene, bloodied, dirty, laden with testosterone, a broad sword and a broad smile. I haven’t been the same since.

The bookstore girl told me to follow her. We took the escalator. “You know there’s a TV show,” she said.

“Yes. I do. And that is the problem,” I said, piquing her interest. “I, uh . . . started watching . . . and, uh . . . I had to stop.”

“Why?” She led me past the young adult section. Past pets. Past gardening.

“Have you ever seen it?” I asked.

“No. But I’ve heard . . .” She was old enough to be my daughter. We shared a look between us. She knew what I meant. And I wasn’t ashamed to let her think that I, a woman whose nipples have a downward gaze, who wears scarves in the summer to hide a crepey neck, who had thought those twinges, tingles, and flutters had left the building along with my collagen was back in the saddle, astride a Percheron, in the Highlands of Scotland.

Double-edged sword.

The books were on the lower shelf. She sat on the floor to find the right copy. I knelt. Perhaps that’s why I felt like I could confess to her. “I used to make fun of people who read romance novels . . .”

“Yeah, but this is a New York Times bestseller.”

“ . . . or who were into Game of Thrones, but now? I have to reevaluate my whole world view!”

“And that’s a bad thing?” she said.

“No, but wondering how a person can breach the space-time continuum is.”



  1. Balinda DeSantis

    Dear Ms. Miskimen,

    Were you able to make the leap to the books? I tried as I would love to read them, but it didn’t work for me. I started watching and fell in love with the TV series just a year ago (although I hated Season 4), but after the visual beauty and the music of the show, the book felt flat and less sophisticated to me. It was also hard to read the description of some characters, such as Murtagh, compared to the person who played him in the show.

    If you were able to get into the books and have any tips, I would love to know them!

    Balinda DeSantis

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