To congratulate myself on surviving the week I took a trip to Barnes and Noble, which is one of my favorite places. The smell of a good paper back, mixed in with a waft of coffee and ink, is one of the best smells.
My favorite section is the fantasy section. I love dragons and goblins and magic. But not only is fantasy a fun genre, it is a genre that should be taken seriously. It is a sad fact that most people see fantasy as a “lesser” genre than fiction or non-fiction. While there are a lot of…poorly written fantasy novels, it shouldn’t rule out fantasy as a solid, adult genre.
In order to create a “good” piece of literature, author’s need to engage their audience. Tolkien says that, “part of the magic [the fey] wield for the good or evil of man is power to play on the desires of his body and his heart”. For any piece of literature to be appealing it must speak to the desires of its reader. Fantasy authors not only create plots and characters that are relatable and touch on basic human desires, but they also create new worlds in which these scenarios take place.
Creating worlds is a huge task for anyone, let alone a writer. The genre of fantasy gives its readers precise and colorful worlds that enchant and delight. But while the world may seem all about the entertainment value, it also causes the readers to change their perspective and look at everything differently than they would if the plot was playing out on Earth. This enables authors to present scenarios that you might find touchy if written about via fiction. In different worlds with different people, readers can put ideas such as race or sexuality in a different light and come to their own conclusions. Fantasy calls for its readers to expand their minds and broaden their perceptions of what is and isn’t reality.
In fantasy, magic is a key element (and my favorite element) of what makes a world fantastic. Tolkien says that no matter what the aim of the story is, be it “satire, adventure, or morality”, the one thing that will break the fantasy aspect is if the magic is made fun of. In order for the tale to be viewed as literature for adults the “story must be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away”. When I read fantasy, I love getting sucked into new worlds with strange new people and ideas. It takes me for a wild ride and leaves me breathless, wondering how I could have ever been satisfied with mediocrity.
I bought a new book at Barnes and Noble today–I hope it leaves me breathless and excited and exasperated with normality…and the best part: it’s a series.
Do you have any favorite books/genres that leave you breathless or books you’re excited to read? What makes your heart beat fast with anticipation? Leave your answers below in the comments!