Monday, June 25, 2012

Read Along of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Part 2

This week we read Chapters 8 to 14. The Questions were provided by Stalking The Bookshelves.

If you visit Tangled Up In Blue, you will find the questions for next week and a list of links to this week’s answers.

1.  Claire has been given the task of healer at the castle. She must adapt her nursing skills for the time and learn what herbs and etc will cure each particular ailment that is presented to her. Do you have any home remedies that were passed down to you (cure for a cold, bee sting or what have you)? 

My parents were not quite hippies, but almost, so natural remedies were very popular.

For a sore throat: put a tablespoon of honey and a good shot of lemon juice into a mug, add boiling water and drink when cool enough. For adults, a shot of medicinal alcohol can be added to aid sleep! 

To remove a splinter: place a blob of honey over the point where the splinter enters the wound and cover with a waterproof dressing. This should draw the splinter out of the wound after a few hours.

To remove a tick: cover all of the tick’s body in Vaseline or any other greasy / sticky air proof substance after a few seconds it will withdraw its head and attempt to move to get air – pick up in a tissue and dispose of it.

2. What do you think would be the biggest challenge of living in the past? (Clothing, hygiene, food, etiquette or etc.)

Hygiene would be a real issue because I am a trained biologist, so I would share Claire’s despair over wound dressings and food storage. Also, I would be very unhappy using a chamber pot, especially the whole idea of storing it or carrying it about when it has been used. Then there are the parasites: fleas, lice and bed bugs would be a common problem, as would be all manner of worms and flukes because it would be so easy to ingest small particles of feces from both humans and livestock, especially in the water.

3. Do you have a favorite character, scene or quote so far? If so, share it with us.

I was very taken with Ned Gowan, he seems like a fun chap and I imagine that he could be very entertaining to chat with. I always like stories about people who have gone against convention to do precisely what they want to do. I also liked how Murtagh took on the role of wedding planner and dress designer: it was so unexpected and funny.

I particularly liked the scenes where Claire got falling down drunk after agreeing to the marriage and then suffered the consequences. This seemed like a very reasonable reaction to the situation, and the writing was really good. I guess Ms Gabaldon has suffered a few hangovers in her time because she certainly knows how to describe them very well and with a lot of detail!

4. What did you think about the addition of the blood bond in the wedding ceremony? Is this something you would do with the one you love?

I was a little surprised by the blood bond ceremony, but it fits well with the culture that we have encountered so far. Religion seems to be outweighed by practicality, as we saw with Geilie Duncan and her knowledge of a plant that could cause an early term abortion. It reminds me a little of the ability for blacksmiths to marry consenting adults: a tradition that is still going strong in Gretna Green in Scotland.

This is not something I would consider doing with my husband. I see marriage as a practical contract that allows couples to make a declaration that they plan to spend their lives together. I know this makes me sound wildly unromantic, and I do love my husband with all my heart, but we did not see our wedding ceremony as a spiritual event, just a ritual that formally acknowledged our relationship.

5. Are you reading along closely with the scheduled chapters or are you ahead or behind?

I always stay on schedule when I do a read along. I like how this slows my reading and gives me time to reflect on what I have read and what others have thought about it. It also means that I am able to remember exactly what was included in each section of reading.


  1. fleas, lice and bed bugs <---I didn't think of this and now I'm freaking out and ITCHING! ahhhh!you don't seem unromantic, I'm not a spiritual person myself either :)I just couldn't stop reading...

  2. There are times when I know too much biology for my own good and this is one of them: all I can think about is all the filth and disease! :D

  3. Those are note worthy remedies! I'll have to write them down and keep them somewhere.

    I love Ned, and that part with Murtagh made me laugh too. :)

  4. They all work: honest! :D


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