Why We Need to Read More Fantasy
By: Sasha Zborovsky, Marketing Intern.
Fantasy is the ultimate escape. When the real world seems too sad or too complicated, we seek escape to other worlds. Fantasy brilliantly provides a reader with just enough magic and enchantment to not only flee reality, but also to understand it. Today, we often write off fantasy as a childish, an amateur form of literature. The moment we enter adulthood, we feel obligated to forget magic and instead fill our heads with biographies and psychological analyses of the human condition. This is flawed thinking. There is room for reality and fantasy, and our reading experiences are richer when we welcome them both.
Fantasy is not childish. Fantasy is limitless.
Fantasy encompasses history, romance, and comedy often just in another world with some extra, magical resources for its characters. Readers are not confined by a single emotion, planet, or dimension. And this freedom does not cost a novel its deeper meaning. A fantasy can rival any piece of realistic fiction. Frodo teaches the reader the merits of bravery and adventure in Middle Earth. Readers walk through a wardrobe and learn about justice, or they fall through a rabbit hole and learn about madness. This age-old genre is timeless. Beowulf fought dragons in Medieval England and Harry Potter fought dragons in the 21st century. We love fantasy as children and as nostalgic adults, too.
The term “escape” always pops up in tandem with “fantasy.” When we physically escape, we slip away from a confined space and travel freely. Similarly, when reading fantasy, we earn a freedom of thought that allows the mind to wander past reality’s rigid boundaries. Escape is not a bad thing. It does not mean we ignore reality; rather, with fantasy, we only enhance reality.
It sounds as though fantasy is too good be true. I must be idealizing or romanticizing the genre. To be perfectly honest, perhaps I am. But that’s the beauty of fantasy: romantic notions are not only accepted, but also encouraged. Portals, first kisses, and magic mirrors take you to different worlds.
And to think…all these worlds are a few taps away.
Here are a few fantasy suggestions new and classics, for young and old!
The House of the Spirits: The story details the life of the Trueba family, spanning four generations, and tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile through a lens of magical realism.
A Wrinkle in Time: The story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
Stardust: Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. But beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.
The Once and Future King: A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic.
American Gods: Shadow, a recently released convict, encounters a hidden America where magic is real and fear grows over the ascending power of New Gods like Technology and Media, as they battle Old Gods of Greek and Norse mythology. Shadow is left to struggle and accept this new world and his place in it.
Graceling: Set in a world where some people are born with a Grace—a unique, sometimes uncanny, gift—this is the story of Katsa, whose Grace, demonstrated at an uncomfortably early age, is for killing. This makes her a perfect tool for her uncle, King Randa. But Katsa chafes at the way she is being used—and even more at the injustices she sees around her.
The Princess Bride: The inspiration behind the renown film, this novel weaves a tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts.
The Last Unicorn: The Last Unicorn is a tale for any age about the wonders of magic, the power of love, and the tragedy of loss. The unicorn, alone in her enchanted wood, discovers that she may be the last of her kind. Reluctant at first, she sets out on a journey to find her fellow unicorns.
Shadow Castle: In the middle of a deep forest is an enchanted valley and a castle where only shadows live, shadows of kings and queens who have waited for hundreds of years for the spell cast upon them to be broken. One day, a girl named Lucy follows a little dog through a tunnel into the valley and meets the mysterious red-haired Michael, who takes her into the shadow world to meet Prince Mika and his mortal wife Gloria, their children and their children’s children, and learn the magic that will lift the spell.