5 Reasons To Read Fantasy

28/07/2016 Discussions, Lists 26

5 Reasons To Read Fantasy

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:

  • Escapism.

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.

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!

5 Reasons To Read Fantasy

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? 

26 Responses to “5 Reasons To Read Fantasy”

  1. Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

    I LOVE fantasy. It’s my absolute favourite genre, for all the reasons you listed. When I was a kid I played ‘imaginary games’ where I would create new worlds and pretend to be royalty, a soldier, magician, and on and on. It’s so fun to explore a book’s world, and see the impossible on Earth be brought to life in my mind. This is a great list; couldn’t have said it better! 😀

    • Laura

      I was exactly the same as a kid! And I always found myself imagining myself into my favourite books, which were pretty much always fantasy, and then in the end I started to write about my own worlds and make up my own stories. I’m so glad you could relate to this list! 🙂

  2. Lia Levina

    Fantasy was what got really got me into reading. I had been quite a bookworm before I read the Harry Potter books, but once I got into them it felt like I was entering a different level of reading. I agree with what you said that fantasy allows us to imagine things that are entirely impossible in our life, like you said. Which makes it more compelling to read! And who doesn’t want to escape to, say, Hogwarts or Narnia anyway, right?
    Great post!

    • Laura

      It was exactly the same for me! Some of the earliest books I read and fell in love with were fantasy books, which is probably why it is still to this day my all time favourite genre. It really took me from someone who liked to read to someone who loved to read, and I never seem to get quite as engrossed in books that aren’t fantasy. I would certainly love to escape to Hogwarts or Narnia sometimes! 🙂

  3. Citra

    I used to be obsessed with fantasy when I was in my 20s. I am in my early 31s now, and kind of outgrown it. I still love it, though. Maybe because my reading diet has expanded to various genres, so my to-read list is not filled with 100% fantasy anymore.

    I love fantasy like ASOIF and right now I am reading Eldest (Eragon #2), didn’t get to read them when I was younger. You know, homework and stuffs. What I love about fantasy is because there’s always someone that teaches you to be brave, be it fantasy for children, teens or adult. I love me some brave characters!

    • Laura

      I’m definitely interested to see how I feel about fantasy when I get a little older! I loved it as a child and still love it now, but I have often wondered if it’s the kind of genre you tend to outgrow after a certain age. I can’t imagine it right now, but I guess you never know.
      I am a huge fan of ASOIAF, and the Eragon series was one of the ones I absolutely loved as a child! I definitely feel like I’m due a reread of that series soon just to see how much I like it now I’m a bit older.
      And I totally agree that fantasy is great at teaching people of all ages to be brave. It definitely makes me feel a little braver in my everyday life when I’ve been reading about people doing truly daring things like riding around on dragons! 🙂

      • Erin ONeill

        I’m almost 50 years old, and I still have not outgrown fantasy. It was my first true bookish love, and still ranks pretty high. I have a hard time with the ginormous epic trilogies and series that everyone seems to be writing these days; sometimes I just don’t want to make that big a commitment. To cleanse my mental palate I read romances and fluffy contemporaries. I love reading because I can sink into a story and be in my head for a while.

        • Laura

          I’m glad to hear it! Right now I can’t see me outgrowing fantasy either, but I guess time will tell.
          I know what you mean though about the time commitment of some of the huge series people are writing these days. Even a really long book can seem like a big commitment, let alone a series full of really long books! 🙂
          And I totally relate: being able to get lost in a story and be in my own head for a while is one of my favourite things about reading too.

  4. Kelsey

    Yes! I’m a huge fan of fantasy, and like many others it’s what got me into ready (Harry Potter!) I love the escapism of it all as you mentioned. I will definitely be checking out your recommendations as I feel like I’ve been reading too much contemporary at the moment and I think I need to break this up.

    • Laura

      Fantasy and specifically Harry Potter is what really got me into reading too, and I think it’s the same for so many people, which is another amazing thing about fantasy! 🙂
      I really hope you enjoy my recommendations!

  5. Aralyn @ Paper Addictions & Magic

    Just great points!
    Especially that 2nd one. I’ve never thought of it that way before. It could really be so positive.
    The imagination and creativity fronts are important, too. You’re right, with just some words giving an idea of this fantasy world, our minds are free to picture it however we want. And that in turn helps with our creativity, too. I’m the same: I get character ideas and story ideas after reading some awesome fantasy books.
    MAGIC. The possibilities. It may not exist in ways you find in fantasy, but you can still find subtle magicks in the real world.

  6. Greg

    Escapism is the big one for me. Life can be boring at times and fantasy takes you to other worlds- I love it for that. We can’t all have adventures but in a fantasy book we can. plus maps. 🙂 lol

    Good point about RL issues too. A contemporary might push me away if it seems preachy about something, I want entertainment not a lecture, but if we’re talking high elves vs wood elves or something (like discrimination for instance) I’m in! And the imagination one is a good one too.

    I like your point about magic too. Who’s to say? I think there’s more than just the stuff we see.

    • Laura

      I love fantasy maps too! I always have to have a good look at them before I even start the book just so I’m familiar with the geography 🙂
      I totally get what you mean: contemporary books can come off really preachy when they talk about real world issues, so it just seems less like you’re getting a lecture when it’s disguised by a fantasy facade.
      And I’d really love to think there’s more than just the stuff we can see! 🙂

  7. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I am a major fantasy fan. It’s probably 90% of what I read (though I mostly stick to urban fantasy or historical fantasy rather than high fantasy). But the truth is, I have no idea *why* I love fantasy so much. I just really like reading about paranormal/supernatural creatures and also magic. And I think the fantasy aspect allows characters to be pushed to their limits in different ways, and I really like when characters are pushed to their limits. Or past their limits. I don’t know, I just don’t get the same feeling from normal contemporary, non-SFF books. And I think that I too like the idea, the possibility that there’s more out there in existence that we don’t know about and maybe can’t even comprehend. But pshh, I don’t need a reason to love fantasy, haha, I just do 😛

    • Laura

      I probably read a really high percentage of fantasy too, and I totally get what you mean about contemporary books not quite feeling the same. For me they almost seem to lack something (something more than just magic and dragons), but I can’t quite explain why.
      And I definitely like to see characters pushed to their limits too, and I agree that fantasy allows that much more than any other genre. Pretty much anything goes in fantasy, so authors can put whatever obstacles they want in front of their characters which is something I really like 🙂

  8. Michelle @ FaerieFits

    Yes, Yes, YES! As might be implied by my blog name, I pretty much inhale fantasy books. Definitely my niche. And for pretty much all of the reasons you’ve listed 🙂 I never really appreciated its ability to explore real-world issues until I started blogging a few years ago, and then it started to hit like a slap in the face. I personally do find the ability to explore things like discrimination or depression or anything like that to be WAY more powerful in a fantasy book than in contemporary books (with a few exceptions).

    • Laura

      I totally agree! Issues explored through fantasy do just seem so much more powerful, and I think in a way that’s because if a character in a novel where there is magic and dragons has the same problems that we do, then it shows just how universal these things are. A lot of fantasy books are all about overcoming the odds, so I think it’s a genre that can send some truly powerful messages 🙂

  9. Simone

    I love magic too. I think it’s the best thing about fantasy and okay, some people may say it’s not real but I still think that books are prove of magic. I mean, through books we are able to enter another world and have superpowers, be kings and queens or slay dragons… if that’s not magic, I don’t what is. 😀
    Fantasy is actually my favourite genre because everything is possible and I completely agree with the messages in fantasy books. As much as I agree that contemporary books are great for implementing deeper messages, fantasy books can do it in a bigger picture I think because they contain whole countries and different nations. 🙂 Great list, I think you wrote great points for fantasy. 🙂

    • Laura

      I love that idea that books are proof of magic! That’s totally true! 🙂
      And I definitely agree that fantasy books can talk about issues on a much bigger scale. Authors can pretty much event entire worlds which revolve around whatever issue they want to talk about, yet it still wouldn’t seem as preachy as it would in a contemporary book and I think that’s awesome 🙂

  10. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I love all these reasons for reading fantasy. They are so spot on. I hadn’t thought about how right you were about how fantasy can really highlight and discuss real world issues better than contemporary. It’s true, remove it out of real life and put it in a fantasy world and it’s far easier for someone to look at rationally. I mean, I don’t really need convincing to read fantasy but it’s certainly making me want to read a good fantasy read right about now.

  11. Lola

    I don’t read a lot of high fantasy anymore, but still consider fantasy mainly urban fantasy and paranormal romance one of my favorite genres. I like reading about magic or supernatural creatures that don’t exist and how an author still can make that feel realistic. I love world building in books an fantasy and sci-fi books are usually the ones that have the most of that.

    And I definitely think you have a point there with how fantasy books are good way to address issues in a more detached way.

    When I was younger I used to read almost exclusively fantasy for the escapism, being far away form your own life and own world. But nowadays I love the contemporary genres as well as while it might not be a different world, it often is a different setting and different person with different problems.

    Great post! I am looking forward to your other genre posts!

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