Wrap-Up: The Scarlet Letter

The-Scarlet-Letter-A“Yet one tomb-stone served for both. All around, there were monuments carved with armorial bearings; and on this simple slab of slate—as the curious investigator may still discern, and perplex himself with the purport—there appeared the semblance of an engraved escutcheon. It bore a device, a herald’s wording of which may serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so sombre is it, and relieved only by one ever-glowing point of light gloomier than the shadow:—
“ON A FIELD, SABLE, THE LETTER A, GULES””

I love how that book ends! It’s so sad and beautiful, much like the rest of this wonderful novel. I hope you enjoyed revisiting this book as much as I have enjoyed it! When I read great literature like this, it gives me hope in our jaded, processed society that something so important and amazing has endured for hundreds of years.
Now on to the 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 book is going to be a little different for the book club. We will be venturing out of the classics and will be reading our first non-fiction selection, Backlash by Susan Fauldi.
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If you have any thoughts or ideas on the novels we are reading or our discussions, you may e-mail us at SickSadBookClub@gmail.com or follow us on twitter @SickSadBookClub

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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

 

Wrap-up: The Teachings of Don Juan

I just want to make a disclaimer. We, here at SSBC, do not advise going out into the desert and doing drugs with a crazy old man no matter how much enlightenment you think you will receive from the experience.
With that being said…Congratulations on finishing The Teachings of Don Juan! I hope I’m not alone in saying this, but I’m glad that is was a short read. I know that many people have gained spiritual and cultural enlightenment from this book; however, I do not seem to be one of them.
Now on to the 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?

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Our next selection is a poem! In Memoriam by Lord Alfred Tennyson is the next piece we will be delving into here at the book club. The introduction will be posted sometime next week, so stay tuned!

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.

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Wrap up: The Brothers Karamazov

Wow! That book was so Russian! I can see why Daria was reading it while she was grounded…
I just wanted to bring up something that happened during our final reading assignment. Ivan was sick, both mentally and physically at the end of the novel. Anyway, the doctors and the narrator both kept referring to his illness as “Brain Fever.” I kept thinking about the episode of Daria, Ill, where Daria gets the skin rash. In it, Jane is talking to Brittany and begins to tell her about Daira’s illness. To cover, she tells Brittany that Daira has “Brain Fever.” I kept giggling to myself every time it came up in Brothers.

On to the final discussion!
Question #1 – What did you think of it?

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

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

Reading assignment: Our next book is The Illiad by Homer. The first reading assignment will be posted next Tuesday!
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If you have any thoughts or ideas on the novels we are reading or our discussions, you may e-mail us at SickSadBookClub@gmail.com or follow us on twitter @SickSadBookClub

Wrap-Up: Moby-Dick

Break out the balloons and confetti, it’s time for a party! If you’ve made it this far, then you’ve done something quite brag-worthy: Finished Moby-Dick.

Hooray!

Hooray!

According to this infographic from Goodreads, it’s the #4 most abandoned/unfinished classic ever, so that’s a pretty big deal. You did it! I’m so proud of all of us.

I’m really glad that I read this book. I will admit, I was skeptical, and afraid that it would be the most boring book ever, but I actually really enjoyed it. I hope you did, too. Let’s talk about it! Here are the final discussion questions.

Question #1 – We talked a lot about foreshadowing and predictions over the course of the past 5 weeks. Did you anticipate or predict the ending (if it hadn’t been spoiled for you)?

Question #2 – How did you feel about the novel?

Question #3 – What do you think Daria would have thought about the book?

Question #4 – Do you have any other thoughts on the ending, the characters, or whaling in general?

 

Because this was such a long book, and the next few novels are pretty hefty, too, we’ve decided to take a break before diving into the next book on our list – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Check back here or follow us on Twitter at @SickSadBookClub for the first reading assignment and the date for the first discussion.

As always, if you have any questions/comments/fun Daria trivia feel free to send us an email at SickSadBookClub@gmail.com or send us a message on Twitter.

Discussion #4: Walden

Congrats! You just finished your first nonfiction piece on our list! I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

As I finished this novel, his beautiful descriptions of the pond and woods at the beginning of spring made me long for the next few months. I also officially added visit Walden pond to my bucket list!

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I just think that daffodils embody the very essence of spring!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is the final discussion on Thoreau’s Walden!

 

Question #1 – What did you think of it?

 

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

 

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

 

Question #4 – Like I said in the first discussion, we are revisiting the question of if you could undergo a similar experiment.  So, after finishing Walden, do you think that you could undergo a similar experiment?

 

Reading assignment: Our next book is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. The first reading assignment will be posted next Tuesday!

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Movie poster from the 1956 film.

Note: We are about to get into three heavy hitters. So stay with us, we’ll make it worth your while 🙂 (as long as you enjoy interesting author bios, Daria trivia, and whitty literary tidbits!)

As always, if you have any thoughts or ideas on the novels we are reading or our discussions, you may e-mail us at SickSadBookClub@gmail.com or follow us on twitter @SickSadBookClub