Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood!

None of her books are on our official reading list, but we love Margaret Atwood and are pretty sure that Daria would, too! (How could she not love dystopian speculative fiction?) Today is Atwood’s 75th birthday, so to celebrate, here is a photo of her sporting a mustache in honor of former Canadian astronaut and author Chris Hadfield at the Toronto International Book Fair.

We highly recommend everything she has ever written. Also, check out this list from BookRiot with 75 Reasons Why Margaret Atwood is Awesome, her recent interview with Goodreads, her Reddit AMA from last year, and read her new book Stone Mattress.

Wrap-Up: In Memoriam

So, how did you enjoy reading a poem for a change? This poem was a lot longer than I anticipated. Here I thought we were getting a break, and then our poem ends up being the length of a novella? Well, at least it was no Iliad.

What did you think? I wasn’t blown away by this poem, but it was fascinating to see Tennyson’s reaction to his friend’s death and tracked his grief. The beginning is angry and sad; but over the years of writing about the experience he mellows out and comes to terms with the loss. The famous line “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” is from this piece (for some reason I always thought it was Shakespeare?) and Daria eloquently explains it in the episode like this:

Daria – Well, he’s acknowledging that if something makes you feel good, like being in love, there must be a corresponding painful side, like losing a love, and that it’s just a fact of life.

Mr. O’Neill – Sad, but true.

Daria – And what’s intriguing about it is that no one calls Tennyson a big unhappiness freak just because he understands that.

Mr. O’Neill – Is he a big unhappiness freak?

Daria – No, he’s a realist. He says, “Emotional involvement brings pleasure and extraordinary pain.” Then he declares that it’s better than feeling nothing at all.

Mr. O’Neill – That is excellent, Daria.

Daria – Of course, this was before the advent of community property laws.

Conversations like this remind me that at one point in time there was more to MTV than teen pregnancy reality shows. Can we have more intelligent introverts on TV, please? Anyway, here are the wrap-up discussion questions:

Question #1 – What did you think of it?
Question #2 – What do you think Daria would have thought of the piece?
Question #3 – Are there any final, thoughts, themes, questions, etc. that you would like to discuss?

Our next selection is a book that you most likely read sophomore year of high school: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nothing like a good supernatural allegory for the month of October!

scarlet letter

 

Intro: In Memoriam

5713108-MWe have been reading some lengthy, complicated and/or weird titles lately, so I am pleased to announce that our newest reading assignment is short! The next selection on the Daria reading list is In Memoriam, a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is referenced in the episode The Misery Chick, where Lawndale High sports hero Tommy Sherman returns for an award only to be killed by his own beloved football goal post. The student body, mourning his loss, turns to Daria for advice, considering she likes to think about death, or so they think. At the end of the episode, Mr. O’Neil has the students studying Tennyson’s In Memoriam, which is fitting, considering it was written as an obituary.

So, this may not be the happiest of poems (or Daria episodes, for that matter), but I am guessing there are considerably less drug-induced visions than in out last reading!

Since this is such a short assignment, we will be wrapping up and posting our discussion next week.

Ultimate Daria Playlist

If you were lucky enough to watch Daria when it originally aired on MTV, you were able to enjoy the awesome 90s soundtrack that came with it.

If you are lucky enough to own the entire series on DVD, you are unable to enjoy those awesome 90s tracks, because the series didn’t have the rights to include the songs and had to replace them.

😦

I know, it’s a travesty.

But good news! I was poking around on Spotify the other day and found myself browsing the Pop Culture category where, lo and behold, someone has created a playlist of songs from Daria!

daria playlist

I don’t know how accurate it is, but it includes everything from Portishead to will.i.am so it can’t be too far off. So if you’re feeling nostalgic, or maybe a little sarcastic, listen to the Spotify playlist and imagine all your favorite Daria episodes in their full 90s glory.

Wrap Up: The Iliad

So, how did you like our foray into classic epic poetry?

If you enjoy mythology, slaughter, and confusing lists naming all the people the hero just killed, then this was probably right up your alley! Maybe not that last one, I’m not sure anyone enjoys those kinds of lists, but there was definitely a lot of murder and mayhem in this book. And a lot of really specific descriptions of where spears penetrated people, which I was not expecting. I do remember thinking that I was not surprised the stories of these warriors have been made into big-budget movies.

But I digress.  Now for our traditional wrap-up questions:

Question #1 – What did you think of it?

Question #2 – What do you think Daria would have thought of the piece?

Question #3 – Are there any final, thoughts, themes, questions, etc. that you would like to discuss?

 

Congratulations on finishing The Iliad! That’s just as braggable as having read Moby-Dick.

Our next selection is The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. Check back soon for the official book introduction! It should be … interesting, to say the least.

200px-The_Teachings_of_Don_Juan

Intro: The Iliad

We have been reading some doozies lately here at the Sick Sad Book Club! And this next book is no exception: we’re reading The Iliad by Homer, described as “an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter,” which really should be enough to scare off anyone.

This is by far the oldest piece on our reading list, typically dated to around the 8th century BC. To put that into perspective, when The Iliad was written, the Greeks had just started using an alphabet, Rome was founded, and King Midas was a living historical figure. How crazy is it to think that you can go onto the internet and find a digital version of a book written 2,800 years ago?

The Iliad was featured in the same Daria episode as Moby-Dick and The Brothers Karamazov – The Big House. While Daria and Quinn are grounded, Daria gives her sister a copy of the book:

    Daria: Try this. I think you’ll get into it.

    Quinn: Ha, ha, very funny. Now give me something that I can read.

    Daria: No, I think you’ll like it. It’s about this girl who’s so popular that everybody fights over her.

    Quinn: Any horses in it?

    Daria: As a matter of a fact, there’s a great big one.

    Quinn: This is a trick, isn’t it.

    Daria: Yes.

(Also, the writers confused this with The Aeneid, so you will not actually find Helen and the great horse in this poem!)

Because of our change in book club model, there will not be a discussion posted next week. Instead, check back here in six weeks, on August 12, for the book discussion. In the meantime we will be tweeting the weekly assignments (follow us at @SickSadBookClub) to keep you on track.

Good luck and happy reading!

An Announcement

Dear SSBC Friends,

We started this blog nearly eight months ago to create a unique online book club that would get us reading great books that wouldn’t normally be on our radar. We (we being the two people who write all of the content) enjoy reading through the Daria book list and revisiting the show, but have found that updating twice a week takes up a lot of time an effort. As much as we love the conceit of the Sick Sad Book Club, it has gotten to be a big time investment for a group with minimal participation.

So, that being said, we have decided to change the schedule and format of the readings. Instead of weekly discussions and assignments as well as blog posts, we will only be introducing the book and author, and following up with a discussion at the end of the book. Blog favorites such as Book Reviews, gift guides, and Daria throwbacks will still show up once in a while, but not weekly.

The SSBC is not ending or going away, just lessening! We will still be reading, and hope you will continue to do so, too. Your new reading assignment will be posted on Tuesday, as usual. 🙂

– Your Hostesses