- Outlander -Diana Gabaldon Gives A Spoiler-Free Recommendation On How You Should Read 'Bees'
With the arrival of Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, readers get to choose their own adventure in how they read it. But what do you do if you're the author? Outlander author Diana Gabaldon is a voracious reader and recently told The New York Times that the next book she'll be reading is her own. After all, as she said about Bees, "It wasn't a book when it left me; it was this huge cloud of sparkly fragments that I've been juggling inside my head for the last few years. Being able to read it straight through ... is always a thrill." So, if she hadn't written it, how would Gabaldon read Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone? A non-warning: There are no spoilers ahead.
There are a few ways you could have responded when you finally got your hands on Bees, seven-and-a-half years after the release of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
1. You could have immediately cracked open the book and speed-read, ignoring Thanksgiving family obligations.
2. You could be taking your time, avoiding all spoilers like the plague (or more apt, like COVID-19).
3. You could have read the final page first, so you'd know what to expect before embarking on the 888-page novel.
4. Or, worst-case scenario, you could still be waiting on your pre-ordered copy to arrive.
When it comes to reading style, Gabaldon tells The Dipp shortly following the release of Bees, that she's solidly in the second category. "I'm definitely a savorer," Gabaldon says.
So, in an alternate universe where she's a fan of Outlander and not the author of it, she wouldn't feel compelled to read Bees as quickly as possible.
"That said, I pretty much stay glued to a good book as long as it lasts, but I don't skim or read fast just to find out what's going to happen," she says. "Unless it's a thriller, in which case you know what's going to happen. It's just, how is it going to happen? Sometimes I'll skim those at the end."
While it's no spoiler to say there are thrilling moments in Bees, Gabaldon's books don't fit neatly into the thriller genre — let alone any genre — so there's no need to fly through the end, though it can be quite tempting. And if you're still lingering around Part Three or even Part Two, there's no shame in that either! You're in the same savorer category as Herself.
As for what Gabaldon calls "peekers" (no, not Sam Heughan's "Peakers"), she knows you're out there... even if she wouldn't engage in the same behavior.
"There's the peekers who say, 'Oh, I just have to read the last page because I need to know whether everybody's still alive, and then I can go back and enjoy the book,'" she says.
"It's not supposed to work that way," Gabaldon says, before diplomatically adding, "But you bought the book. You can read it in any way you want."
However you're reading Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, know that there's really no wrong way (except for possibly the last-page peeking). And even if you've already completed it (guilty as charged), you can savor it on your rereads. After all, even though Gabaldon has started to work on Book 10, she doesn't guarantee that's the only book she'll be working on now that the ninth book is out. She says she already has a contract for the prequel about Jamie's parents and the idea for the next Lord John Grey book "sort of popped into my mind while I was writing Bees." So no matter your style on your first read, you'll have plenty of opportunities to savor Bees for years to come. Happy reading (and rereading)!
Like what you read? This is just the beginning. Over the next two months, we'll be publishing many more exclusive interviews with Outlander author Diana Gabaldon in which we talk the ending of Book 9, a Lord John Grey spinoff, time travel, and much more. In order to read those articles, though, you'll need to subscribe to The Dipp (which is female-founded and reader-supported, by the way!) Use promo code BEES20 for 20% off your annual subscription, because Jesus H Roosevelt, you're not going to want to miss out!