I often wonder what 'pop culture' existed in the years before ours... If gossip was as popular as we know it, without the obvious amounts of facets that it can be distributed by. Did people rely on newspapers for their daily fix of gossip? Of course the internet did not exist, so 'People' and 'Perez' were not an outlet so convenient to frequent... telephones did not exist, magazines were not quite available, and the television was certainly not an object to spend countless hours of wasted time in front of. Therefore, word of mouth and the print press would be what people were left to rely on. If I discount all of the aforementioned media tools, I am left to believe, that since word of mouth would be less often, peoples' gossip craving would be satiated much sooner than our modern day's minds would.
On that note, I move on to what I believe would be considered our modern day 'easy read'. The classic, "Far from the Madding Crowd" - Thomas Hardy (1874) is a tale of tragedy, love, death, pride and betrayal. The setting is in the English countryside on a sheep farm. Some feminists may argue the tale is quite ahead of its' time, speaking of an independent lady who is both a savy businesswoman/farmer and fiercely independent from men. In the novel Bathsheba makes mistakes that make readers cringe, yet exemplifies emotions that we can all relate to. Submissions of guilt after playing with a man's mind, which leads to the ultimate tragedy of the novel. Gabriel Oak's life speaks to having materialistic wealth, and losing it all with one small mistake. Feeling the true embarrassment proposing to Bathsheba and being rejected, leading to working on Bathsheba's farm after he had given her the first sheep she had ever owned. The irony and full circle theme with Gabriel relates well to the aspect of Karma. The other main characters such as Troy, Boldwood, and Fanny are interesting characters, but do not take the stage in the readers' mind alike Bathsheba and Gabriel.
The novel is centered around life, love and loss. The trials and tribulations of people in the 19th century as well as the things that are held most dear. The novel is beautifully written and and an enjoyable read. The descriptions paint a picture with bright gold pieces of barley stretched across a scenic English landscape with sheep dancing across the fields like mystic clouds in the sky. The words represent beautiful colous on a painters' palette that generate exquisite imagery in the readers' mind. A force to be reckoned with for something that may have been at one point in time, an 'easy read'.