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?

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!


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.

Literary Podcasts

Obviously, we love books and reading! That is the whole reason we started this blog in the first place 🙂 With the use of the internet, there are many, many ways that you can access knowledge about writers and works of literature. I love podcasts! We have mentioned literary podcast on the blog before, namely Literary Disco. However, I wanted to give you a list of noteworthy podcasts that I have come across in recent weeks.

This is the podcast from the creator The Nervous breakdown. The host, Brad Listi, talks to authors and other literary people about their lives and writing experiences. Listi has an amazingly dry sense of humor and talks to a great variety of people.

Selected Shorts is the Public Radio International program that plays performances of short stories by Broadway and other performers. It gives you the feeling of being at a reading without going to the city. This one can get a little pretentious at times, but the performances are really well done.

Like I’ve said before, we have mentioned this one in previously blog posts. It is a favorite here at SSBC! The hosts talk about a selected book every episode and pepper in fun literary based games and discussions.

Those are just a few of my favorites. I hope you check them out! Are there any that you like to listen to that are not on the list? Give us a shout and share the knowledge!

Intro: The Teachings of Don Juan

don juan book coverOne of the best things about this blog (besides the amazing hostesses) is that we get the opportunity to read a lot of books that we would otherwise not be exposed. Our next book is The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. This will be our first look into an anthropological memoir. Personally I have very little exposure to this genre so I’m delving into fresh territory. That is a refreshing position to be in for an avid reader!

This book appears in Daria in the episode “The Teachings of Don Jake” where Daria and her family go on a camping trip that goes awry.

Daria: We’re out in the middle of nowhere, nobody knows we’re here, we have no way to contact anyone, and our parents have gone insane.
Quinn: Yes.
Daria: [pause] This is really scary, Quinn.
Quinn: But why did they go insane?
Daria: Judging by dad’s woodland skills, I’d say it was the berries.
Quinn: It couldn’t have been the berries.
Daria: That’s what I think, because you ate the berries and you seem fine.
Quinn: (pupils becoming bigger) No, I mean because those weren’t the glitter berries.
Daria: Glitter berries?
Quinn: You know, the glitter berries! The ones that fill your mouth with beautiful sparkling glitter when you bite into them. Those are the ones that make you act weird. I mean until you spread your shimmering wings and fly away. Daria, you don’t have a mirror do you? I wanna check my makeup.
Daria: You’re not wearing makeup.
Quinn: I’m not?! Oh, no! [reaches down and rubs mud on her face]
Daria: Quinn, maybe you better take it easy for a while.

I've gone camping plenty of times with my family. Luckily, no one went crazy from eating glitter berries!

I’ve gone camping plenty of times with my family. Luckily, no one went crazy from eating glitter berries!

This is by far the shortest book that has been on the list so far (only about 150 pages, depending on your edition). It’s a pretty nice reprieve after the previous three heavy hitting books we just read 🙂 The wrap up will be posted on September 16 and be sure to check the twitter account for weekly reading assignments to keep yourself on track!
(Note: many editions come with the anthropological notes at the end. You don’t have to read these if you do not wish. Our discussion will be focused on the actual teachings part of the book. However, if anthropology is your drug of choice, go to town!)

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

penelopiad_coverIt’s no secret that here at Sick Sad Book Club that we love modern adaptations of classic works! Some of my favorites are Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a telling of Austen’s classic peppered in with attacks from the undead and The Wide Sargasso Sea, a preface to Bronte’s Jane Eyre that follows the origins of Mr. Rochester’s first wife. What are some of your favorites?
I have also come across another gem in the genre in recent years. Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad is an expansion on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. This novella follows Odysseus’s wife, Penelope, in the afterlife. She tells her side of the story of what happened while Odysseus was gallivanting all around the world. She particularly focuses on her hatred of the “bold Hussy” Helen and the tale of the maids killed by Odysseus upon his return. Penelope is a hilariously dark and moving storyteller, very different than that cleaver waif portrayed in Homer’s classic.
I first listened to this book as an audio book. I highly recommend this! The performance of the different parts, especially the sections by the maids, is highly theatrical and very well done! It doesn’t hurt that Atwood is a brilliant writer who scripts out complex, weaving narratives.helen
I think that Helen Morgendorffer would feel kindred with Penelope. She shares the same hatred and disdain for Helen of Troy as Helen does of her sister Rita. I could just hear her say, “Yes, I think Helen was unreasonable! To think, having a nation fight for her! Reminds me of someone else I know…”

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.