To certain individuals my penchant for reading stories about wizards, hobbits, and ghostly apparitions may seem to be an odd hobby for a woman in her mid-forties. What would perhaps surprise those same individuals more is that I also have penned a number of fantasy stories where the characters include werewolves, banshees, and virtual reality monsters. My literary tastes aside, I have found that fantasy stories as a genre offer a number of benefits for those with even the most casual interest in reading for pleasure.
Fantasy Stories Offer the Reader an Escape
Sometimes the easiest way to escape from the stresses of daily life is to take a mental vacation. For me that may take the form of visiting an entirely new world, one populated by creatures from childhood dreams. I find it’s rather difficult to worry about everyday things while reading tales of an epic quest to rescue a princess and slay a dragon.
Immersion in a completely alien landscape for a time can allow us to relax and recharge our minds, alleviating tension and allowing us to return to “real” life with a fresh perspective. Numerous studies have been done which suggest reading for enjoyment, of any type, can even help alleviate or alleviate symptoms of ailments such as high blood pressure and depression. To find out more about the benefits reading can offer see the article here.
Fantasy Stories May Boost the Mind and Creativity
As the saying goes, if you can imagine it, you can do it. Sometimes changing focus for a time, such as through reading a good book, can help to find a solution to a problem that seems insurmountable. Indulging in leisure reading can help improve cognitive functions, increase vocabulary, and improve analytical skills. I encourage all readers out there to allow your favorite book, or a new find, to inspire you to think, write, and problem-solve in ways you may not have considered before.
Fantasy Stories Can Help Forge Connections with Others
I’ve discovered one way to maintain connections with my adult children as well as my circle of friends is through a shared interest in literature. Books make good discussion topics, sometimes even more so when we don’t all agree on a particular work or author! Tip for family bonding: Don’t just read stories separately, if your children are young, take turns reading aloud with them. If they are older, give everyone a chance to read a particular book and then talk to each other about it.
Fantasy Stories Can Contain Hidden Wisdom
While my favorite works of fiction may involve characters that are not always human, the writers who produce these works still frequently manage to insert nuggets of wisdom that can be applied universally. Searching for these “truths” in the deeper meanings of a fantasy story can provide hours of entertainment, and thought-provoking discussions.
For instance, consider this philosophical truth from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” This quote from a novel published in 1954 contains just as much potential for controversy today as it did when the story was first written, despite the fact that it was part of a conversation between a wizard and a hobbit. Have you ever considered Tolkien, best known for The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as a philosopher?
No matter your favorite genre, here’s hoping you take the time to read a good book today!
4 thoughts on “Why I Read (and Write) Fantasy Stories”
Anymore, I’m enjoying the fantasy stories where the fantasy is more subdued then The Lord of the Rings. Sanderson’s The Way of Kings is just enough fantasy …at the beginning… to be believable. He makes us love his characters, then he swaps the fantasy for the everyday.
Great Article Amy
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Thanks Bob! I can’t say I’ve ever read Sanderson’s work. I’ ll have to check him out.
So true! lovely post!
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