It’s been a couple of weeks since the first post in my blog series highlighting some of my favourite genres (5 Reasons To Read Historical Fiction), so I thought it was time I did another. Today I’m talking about my all time favourite genre fantasy, and why I think you should read it if you don’t already. And if you do already read fantasy I’d love to hear what you love most about it in the comments!
So here are 5 Reasons To Read Fantasy:
Lets face it, life can be a little mundane at times. In between the big events and good days there are the dull days at work and menial daily tasks to complete, and so reading a little fantasy can add a little sprinkle of magic to those less-than-thrilling days.
Whilst all fiction can function as escapism, none does it better than fantasy because it not only removes you from your own life, but from your own world, and puts you somewhere where the impossible is possible, and I absolutely love that!
- Through fantasy we can talk about real world issues in a removed way.
It may seem like contemporary books are the best places to discuss current issues like politics, war, poverty etc., but personally I don’t actually feel that’s the case. In many ways I feel like a contemporary novel can lose something of its entertainment value by talking too much about current events because you clearly know what it’s about, and if the readers disagree with the values of the book or opinion of the author then they are unlikely to enjoy the book. However, fantasy can do the same thing whilst also staying removed enough to not alienate sections of its audience.
Not to mention the fact that people are more likely to take on a book’s message when they can look at something objectively. Take discrimination for example: a fantasy book could discuss discrimination by setting up two different races of elves that differ in a couple of slight ways and have one set be considered superior over the others. It’s much easier for people to identify what’s wrong with this when they are seeing it as an outsider, free of their own biases and thoughts, and so I think fantasy can impart really positive messages in this way.
- It sparks your imagination.
Reading in general is good for the imagination, as unlike visual mediums like TV and film you have to imagine the story for yourself as you read along. However, I feel like fantasy is the best genre for sparking your imagination because the things it makes you mentally picture are things you will never have actually seen in real life, like dragons and elves. However much the author describes the world of the story, it’s more open to interpretation by the reader because what is being described is something they will probably have no preconceived ideas about.
- It can spark your creativity.
I don’t know about other fans of fantasy, but I never find myself feeling more creative and inspired than when I’ve just read a fantastic fantasy book. I think something in the act of imagining a completely made up world just gets your creative juices flowing and just makes you want to create your own worlds and your own stories, or even paint or draw the amazing things inside your head.
Magic is the main factor that separates fantasy from other genres, and so for me it’s one of the main reasons to read it. I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t read fantasy for the same reason – they somehow think magic is stupid because it ‘doesn’t exist’ – but personally I just love the sense of possibility that magic offers.
And who’s to say magic doesn’t exist in some way? Generally in fantasy books the source of magic tends to be a person or the earth itself, and aren’t people and the world in which we live magical to some extent? There’s certainly so much about ourselves and our world that we don’t understand, and so much wonder in it that I find it hard to believe that the concept of magic is entirely invented. For me, fantasy just magnifies something that seems to exist in the peripheral of everyday life: maybe you’ll be looking at a beautiful landscape or be driving back from having a really good day and you’ll just get that vague feeling that there’s something more out there…or maybe that’s just me being cheesy!
Recommended Reads: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marlier… I could seriously just go on and on!
So are you a fantasy fan? What do you like so much about the genre?