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

Intro: The Scarlet Letter

Our next book is a classic high school reading assignment. Honestly, I don’t know a single person who was not assigned to read this iconic and, in my opinion, amazing book in either tenth or eleventh grade English class. In fact, many of you may have also encountered this tale in your history or social studies (depending on how politically correct your school was) classes. This famous novel, published in 1850, has become one of our many cultural touchstones. There have been countless retellings and adaptations since publication, so many in fact, that there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the many works. I am of course talking about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter!
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As I look out the window on this typical grey fall day with the wind blowing the recently turned leaves onto the damp ground, I cannot think of a better time of year to visit the oppressive and hypocritical world of puritan Massachusetts! And who doesn’t love a tawdry little tale of naughtiness between the sheets 😉
This is, surprisingly, the first book on our list that I have actually already read. I hope you are looking forward to revisiting it as much as I am! The discussion questions will be posted on November 13!

Walden Pond

Winter has been hitting us hard this year where I live in Ohio. Sub-zero temperatures, frostbite-inducing wind chills, heavy snowfalls followed by layers of ice – it hasn’t been a lot of fun. I was thinking about all the lovely photos of Walden Pond, where Thoreau went to write his book, and how nice it would be to go there.

A view of Walden Pond. Can you really blame him for not wanting to leave?!

Doesn’t it look warm and beautiful?

But then I remembered that the pond is in Massachusetts, which is currently experiencing the same cold, miserable weather that I have here. Going on a winter vacation to Walden Pond may not be the best idea (I’m sure it’s beautiful, but if I’m going to travel in February, it’s going to be to somewhere warm!).

Brrrr!

Brrrr!

It is a beautiful place, nonetheless. A few miles outside of Concord, Mass., in the middle of a forest, lies the 61-acre body of water now referred to as Walden Pond. The land in the area where Thoreau stayed was at the time owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but now the entire area is a state reservation and is considered a U.S. Historical Landmark. The pond is now a popular place to swim in the summer, and the surrounding 300+ acres of woods are full of trails to explore. On the site is also a replica of the small cabin Thoreau built.

If you’re thinking of vacationing near Concord to see the pond, you should also visit the nearby Concord Museum, which boasts such historical items as Paul Revere’s lantern from 1775, Thoreau’s writing desk, and rooms decorated to reflect periods in the city’s history. You can also visit the Ralph Waldo Emerson house, Louisa May Alcott’s home where she wrote Little Women, Minute Man National Historical Park which commemorates the battle of Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War, and, of course, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the resting place of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott and Hawthorne, which unfortunately has no ties to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, despite sharing a name.

The pond is also less than 45 minutes away from both Boston and Salem, two cities full of historical and literary landmarks that would make this a perfect book-lovers vacation. But I’d wait until it was warmer, if I were you!