Mass Culture and Popular Culture and Studying Bestsellers Books

This paper takes into account the differences in the best sellers written in the 1980’s and in the 1990’s. It also focuses on the themes of the best sellers from the two decades and what makes them appealing to the society.

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Mass culture and popular culture and studying bestsellers books

In this day and age, books are being written with a motive to inculcate motives, teaching the readers a lesson every time they open the book.

Good books always serve as a constructive way to provoke idle thoughts. Women started writing as a profession back in the early 1800’s. They started off writing articles for magazines, containing information on fashion, science, household tips, and covering other domestic issues. These magazines trained every woman with the proper code of etiquette, style and manner of dressing nicely even motivated women from the lower class to take up writing as a paid profession. Since periodicals require many writers, it was very natural for women to be hired by these magazines because it was only they who could add that touch of class and approach. So it was the advent of magazines that made writing a profession to many women.

In the earlier years of the twentieth century, books played a crucial role in reforming the society that was torn by two world wars and a sagging economy. This was the time where writers began writing on subjects that were very close to reality. Many slaves who managed to emancipate wrote on their experiences, while other contemporary authors wrote on those fictitious subjects that mocked the society of those days.

Mankind’s most valuable treasure of thoughts is carefully preserved in the golden casket of books. Books preserve a rich source of knowledge, inspiration and guidance within the easy reach of those who want to preserve their memories. When a great book written by a genius is published, its eagerly bought and read by millions of people who come under its hypnotic charm because they discover in it something which makes them wiser, nobler and happier. Authors of books are makers of civilizations. Just as oceans of the earth retain the primeval silt and alluvial wealth of ancient streams and rivers, which have been washed into them since time immemorial, so do our books preserve the best and most valued products of our civilization in all its stages of development? So all in all “we do not read books, they read us.”

The books from the 1980’s were mainly written on subjects like the activities of the CIA and the FBI as well as books on wars and economy. The books mostly dealt with the aftermath of the wars that destroyed many countries around the world.

Books in the 1990’s

In the 1990’s, pop fiction was extremely popular with readers in the U.S.A. And also in Britain. Surprisingly, the sales statistics reveal that 33% are thrillers, 28% romance and 5-6% are written on science fiction, horror and fantasy. Pop fiction make a good read because they ask the reader to read the book with suspense and disbelief. The subject matter for these books is derived largely from magazines, films and the television. It also takes into account the technological advances that are transforming the society and is often blamed for the ‘negative’ changes. Pop fiction is often twisted because it highlights the image of the product far more than the product itself. In terms of literature, the plot is often a formula with a specific type of setting and a restricted number of lines and action, a typical cast with hackneyed dialogues. The conclusions are often superficial so it’s always better to study the genre instead of the individual textbook. The backgrounds are normally taken from real life famous people. One good example if of books written by Jackie Collins who uses the lives of rich Hollywood actors or other icons to base her stories on. One unique factor about pop fiction is how the setting and the time of the plot are always modern and urban. The situations normally revolve around murder, racism, revolution and unemployment in an individual manner.

The 1990’s, is when literature took a new turn by introducing desire as the main concept into novels. These elements transformed the society into a postmodern one by coming out of the closed environments. Many writers began to focus on the elements that lead to the bodily intensifications and desire for foreplay and sex. These books began to focus their storyline on the rich and the famous, exposing those who had it all and how they are fearsome of losing their wealth, which largely controls their life, especially sex and death. Sex is shown to control the lives of those who are politically and financially strong; they are the ones who control the lives of those who have less than them and often make them the political target by murdering them.

Jackie Collins is one author who uses the elements of sex and death to illustrate the life styles of rich icons and Hollywood stars. She uses fictitious settings that closely resemble the lifestyles of real actors who have made it big in Hollywood to set the reader in a mood for fantasy and drama.

Deadly Embrace is a book that is full of entertainment with raunchy characters, rich and glamorous backgrounds. That is just what the readers’ want from the famous author Jackie Collins. She uses pop fiction to such a great extent that she controls the readers mind with her imagination and brilliant suspenseful plot that is full of passion, lust, excitement and above all great sex fiction. The books are all about power, sex and death.

She has sold more than 300 million books world over and continues to enjoy the reputation she has earned through her work. She writes about people who are glamorous and rich. The settings are all real but she uses her characters to in a disguised manner that doesn’t trespass the privacy of the actors.

In pop fiction death also plays a vital role. One of the best sellers that is also written by Jackie Collins is Lady Boss that was also made into a short telefilm. The story is related to how power, sex, danger along with growing ambition lead to the death of the super star.

The author of the book shares her own experiences in the light of the problems of the working poor in America in her best selling book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In Americ., This is one book that talks about a wide range of subjects, such as healthcare, class, families, sex and gender politics.

Another best seller is the book on fast-food restaurants called by Eric Schlosser, that talks about the revolution that created the drive-in eateries after the end of the World War II, when cars became more common in Southern California. This industry was built by hardworking individuals who built the new industry and how their individualistic insights change the way food was now served in restaurants. This fast service system was a way of for McDonald’s to lower its prices, with customers comprising of big families. The founders of Burger King, Taco Bell and Carl’s Jr. were all directly intrigued by McDonalds. Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s, Domino’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken started off during the 1950’s.

Schlosser states in his book that the basic risk is being infected by a strain of E. coli in a that can kill a person. This is an issue that’s true but then at the same time, he states that hundreds have died during the last eight years as a result of sickness caused by the E. coli strain. In other words he is stating that the implication is that a major number of people have been killed by . This book doesn’t just address, this issue regarding the fast food industry but also focuses on facts and figures about the E. coli cases that are caused in places where processed meat is sold. There is also a part of the book that is about a man who contracted E. coli from frozen hamburger patties bought at the grocery store.

In the end, Schlosser tells us about the safety of food in the fast-food industry with a perspective of the meat industry’s reluctance to perform safety tests on its products. However, the truth is that the society is still ignorant about this matter.

In the book, A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, we here about the abuse David Peltzer, had to bear because of his mom’s sadistic nature towards him. She abused and tortured him while his own father and siblings just watched, sometimes torturing him with her. She even attempts to burn him on a lit gas stove, on stab him and not get him any medical help. David lost himself and chose to live with this emotional turmoil in his life. He was made to sleep in a cold garage on an old army cot after being beaten severely. Through the eyes of the child, we learn about the battles David had to fight to be accepted by a society, which could not comprehend his misery. In the end. We see the same David grow into a struggling young adult with past memories of misery attached to him. However, he overcomes his sorrow, and joins the forces to make something of himself.

While the books written in the 1980’s were on politics and economic matters, the books in the 1990’s delved more deeply on sociology matters such as child abuse or harmful issues for mankind.

People read pop fiction and especially the ones that become best sellers for a good time and that is what it is providing to many of its religious readers. It takes the readers into a fantasy world where they are made to believe what is not even real! This is what pop fiction is all about.

While, there are many issues that are written about in books from a personal perspective enlightening others in our society.


Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed

Dave Pelzer, A Child Called it

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation