Upon my return to the madding crowd, I have three updates:

1) First, some sad news: I have to say RIP to my beautiful old book, the old-smelling copy of Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Classics) previously read by Gene Kaufman with a textbook control card. I’m keeping the card for a bookmark, and I’m keeping the cover too, but unfortunately, the rest of the old book needs to go into the recycling bin because it is literally falling apart.

Rest assured this old book got one last good read:

2) Hardy’s novel is “pastoral” with significant scenic descriptions of a rural area “far from the madding crowd,” so while immersing myself in his beautiful wording, I sometimes had to pause to comprehend and enjoy his point:

“It was one of the usual slow sunrises of this time of the year, and the sky, pure violet in the zenith, was leaden to the northward, and murky to the east…the only half of the sun yet visible burnt rayless, like a red and flameless fire shining over a white hearthstone. The whole effect resembled a sunset as a childhood resembles age.”

Thus, I moved slowly through the first half.

I appreciated the extra suitor (three total) Hardy provides in addition to the more typical love triangle. I felt a jolt during one meeting that I didn’t feel at the other two. This jolt is not always a good thing as we are reminded as the story plays out.

The end certainly made the experience worthwhile, and I waited only about 24 hours before pulling up the movie, which is free on demand on Xfinity right now!

3) This most recent movie (2015) was well done and what I call an “enhancer.” By this, I mean it enhanced my total experience and didn’t leave me wishing I’d never watched it (this does happen as we all know!). Some of the enhancement is the beautiful scenery from an English farm in the late 1800s that I struggled to picture in my mind.

Also, Bathsheba is well played by the same actress who I loved in the recent film version of The Great Gatsby. Of course the movie simplifies her three different relationships that Hardy had deeply developed, but that is to be expected.

Overall this is a beautiful book and film, and I recommend my fellow lovers of literature also travel “far from the madding crowd” to experience it in both mediums.