Why Fantasy?

I love reading. I read a lot. I read every day. In fact, so far in 2019, I’ve finished eight books, and am in the process of reading three more. I guess one is an audio book, so I’m listening to it.

I’m not saying all of this to brag, merely to illustrate how much I love to read.

My bookshelves are getting crowded… And yes, I have thing for skulls.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book (that I’ve mentioned in this blog before) called Why Write, by Mark Edmundson. It’s been a huge game-changer for me. I mentioned in my post on Re-reading that I’ve started reading deeper literature lately. I’m just over halfway through with The Count of Monte Cristo, which is a great book, by the way. Yesterday, I purchased three more books, two by Dickens and one by Dostoevsky.

Already, even though I am still reading Fiction, I can feel the change in my thoughts. I want to use richer language in my day-to-day conversations, and I relish in the learning of new words. It’s fun.

Today, my husband sent me an article to read. It was a very long article about finance. I groaned and asked him, “Why can’t you just tell me about it?” He was surprised, because he knows how much I love to read, and was startled that I would scorn anything with written words.

The thing is, my time as a reader is precious, because I am a mother first. So if I have time to read anything, I want it to be something I choose. I used to read strictly fantasy. I’ve branched off from there for a long time now, but I still don’t feel particularly inclined to read a long article on budgeting. If he read it, and can explain it to me, then…why should I have to?

I’ve been contemplating the reason why I love to read so much. I was a slow reader when I was young. I was one of those kids that had to start reading in the lower tiered books in class. We didn’t read at home much, and I don’t remember ever being read to (I’ve mentioned before that both of my parents worked).

In 5th grade, my teacher read a book to the class called “Wait Till Helen Comes.” I LOVED IT. Once he finished reading it to the class, I picked it up from the little bookcase in the classroom and dove in. After that, I read as many Mary Downing Hahn’s books as I could get my hands on. After that came Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley Twins, the Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club, etc. In Jr. High, I became obsessed with R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike books. I really liked the mystery/horror genre a lot. I still regret giving all of my Christopher Pike books to charity when I was in HS.

The first fantasy book I read was The Sword of Shannara. Then I went through pretty much all of Terry Brook’s books. I was hooked on fantasy. I still love it.

Why? Because fantasy gives you something that not a lot of other genre’s do. They present possibilities outside the realm that we live in. New magics, creatures, adventures, etc. Science Fiction can give the same, but in a different tenor. It takes you out of the mundane of ordinary life, however temporary. For me, it fires up my imagination and romantic nature. I don’t have the opportunity to experience many adventures as a stay-at-home-mom. Not that I would choose any other life than the one I have, but I am an adventurer at heart, and reading is a great way for me to escape reality and experience new things.

The same goes for video games sometimes. I like fantasy RPG’s very much. But I have even less time for video games as reading.

Besides all that, reading is just another way of learning, even if all you’re reading is fantasy. I think it’s hard to be an avid reader and not also have a good grasp on language, syntax, grammar, punctuation, etc. And although I’m not perfect (I’m sure my teacher friend could point out a dozen grammatical errors in my essays), I still feel smarter because I’m such a voracious reader.

Still, I wouldn’t consider myself an intellectual, and my math skills are abysmal.

I’ll take fantasy over math any day.

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