There are few characters as awesome as Jamie Fraser, the hero of Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander series. Handsome, smart and loyal, Jamie is one of those rare book heroes who grab your heart from the very first page. It doesn’t hurt that he looks so great in a kilt, or that he’s so devoted to Claire, his time traveling wife and lady love.
Thankfully, we get to see him in a kilt a lot these days. Ever since the TV show version aired on Starz back in 2014, we’ve been officially Jamie obsessed. And who can blame us? Sam Heughan makes the perfect Jamie, playing him as both broody and fun, the kind of guy we’d want to get a beer with – or make out with a lot, preferably on horseback after he saved us from being burned at the stake. We’re just saying.
Being prolific readers, we’d also love to get a look at Jamie’s fictional bookshelf. A bookshelf can tell a lot about a person, and Jamie’s would probably be filled with all kinds of different reads, including serious political nonfiction and epic fictional stories that sound as outlandish as his actual real life (did we mention the time traveling wife?).
Since we haven’t actually seen Jamie’s bookshelf yet, we’re going to have to come up with our own. Here are five recent books that we’re sure would grace the kilted warrior’s shelves on Outlander.
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall (Outlander), Diana Gabaldon (Dell, June 27, 2017)
There’s no way that Jamie Fraser’s fictional bookshelf wouldn’t have his origin stories tucked into the selves. Not only are they damn good reads, but we’re sure there’s something voyeuristically fun in reading about your own life. Gabaldon’s latest book is a collection of short stories set in her Outlander world. Some of the stories feature Jamie, but most are about the people he’s met in his adventures – Lord John Grey, Master Raymond, and even his son-in-law Roger. This collection would be the perfect fit for Jamie – compelling and entertaining, but also informative and enlightening, giving him a new perspective on the people he loves.
The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios (Crown, May 16, 2017)
Jamie is a lot of things: a warrior, a farmer, a philosopher, an expert debater, a quick study in languages, and so much more. He’s also a scientist in his own way, discovering how things work and thoughtfully applying that knowledge to his everyday life. This inquisitive nature makes Kakalios’s new book the perfect read for him. It breaks down the physics of our modern world, giving easy and accessible information on how the things we take for granted actually work – like GPS systems and refrigerators. We can definitely see Jamie reaching for this book again and again, and not just because he’s never actually seen a refrigerator in action.
When the English Fall, David Williams (Algonquin Books, July 11, 2017)
Jamie is no stranger to war, or to having his everyday life ripped apart by sudden strife and conflict. That’s exactly the premise of Williams’ novel, which imagines a devastating solar storm that throws the US into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The story focuses on a contained Amish community as outsiders (or the English) start to descend, looking for resources and taking whatever they can. Faced with violence and pillaging, the closed Amish community has to decide if they’re willing to give up their peaceful ways in order to protect their land, their resources and their families. It’s a similar choice that Jamie and his ancestors had to make when the English came onto their Scottish land and tried to claim it for their own. History clearly repeats itself, and this is a story that we know Jamie would read again and again.
Scars of Independence, Holger Hoock (Crow, May 9, 2017)
In the recent Outlander books, Jamie and Claire are (SPOILER ALERT!!!) living in America with their family and fighting in the American Revolution. No one knows the realities of that war better than Jamie – though Hoock might give him a run for his money. In Scar of Independence, Hoock takes the historical blinders off the Revolutionary War, and instead gives us the real story – disease, genocide, torture, and a bloody war that was hard won from the start. This account is the Revolution like you’ve never read it before, diving deep into the truth of the crimes committed on both sides of the violent conflict. It’s also an informative read, showing us the true maneuverings and strategies that helped end the fighting. For both realism and information, this is a book that Jamie would definitely want to keep close by.
Beren and Lúthien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 1, 2017)
For Jamie, Claire’s stories about the future (planes! cars! running water!) already sound like fantasy. He’s so fascinated by her tales that we know he’d be drawn to a good fantasy novel – and, of course, no one can match the fantasy talent of Tolkien. In this latest published work, Tolkien’s son, Christopher, takes up his father’s ongoing project of Beren and Lúthien, and breathes new life into the tale that Tolkien retold in partial or incomplete pieces throughout his career. For the first time, the story (with all of its versions) is included in one volume, creating an epic tale of romance and adventure. In order for the human Beren to wed the immortal elf Lúthien, the two must bring her father a Silmaril, a rare and stolen gem that will launch them on an epic quest. Their love story isn’t just beautifully told, it also helps establish Tolkien’s entire Middle Earth Universe. Jamie knows a good love story when he sees one (like his own, obviously), so we’re sure he’d be drawn to this romantic and adventurous tale.