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Expanding My Reading with Fantasy

As we learned in last week’s Booking Through Thursday, today is Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers day.

When I was fifteen, I had trouble finding new books to read.  I was too old for YA fiction, or so I thought, but my introduction into adult fiction had mostly consisted of the romance novels my mom liked and the classics I read in school.  The book fairs and book orders had long ended in school and I wasn’t sure where to look to expand my reading tastes.  The kid who sat next to me in Russian class was always reading, though.  So one day, when he had a big fat fantasy novel in his hand, I asked him about it.  He was reading one of the books in the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.  He told me about it and I thought it sounded awesome, like the books I used to love as a kid but better.  The next time I went to the mall with my parents, I sought out the fantasy shelf and found The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.  I stood there and opened it up.

Almost immediately, I was sucked in to the book.  I forgot that I was in a bookstore.  I forgot that I could be in people’s way.  I wanted to know who these characters were and what happened to them.  I inhaled that series.  I somehow got my parents to buy me the first nine and I read them all in record time.  My TBR pile was small back then and right next to my bed; I have a vivid mental image of several of these huge tomes sitting next to me, waiting for me to read them.  It was wonderful and epic fantasy has been one of my favorite genres since then.

I have fallen in love with plenty of other genres since then and even returned to reading romance novels.  These days it seems that I even like science fiction.  Fantasy, though, edged me into a wider world, with huge stories, deep characters, and fascinating new worlds.  Around the same time I discovered Japanese RPGs with their own gigantic worlds and complex characters.  It was like my world was exploding.   It takes an investment of time to read these books, but I’ve found it to be so worth it.  As Nymeth so eloquently stated in her post on fantasy today, just because it’s set in another world doesn’t mean it can’t teach us something about ourselves.

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10 comments to Expanding My Reading with Fantasy

  • Nice post! I didn’t post for Scifi/Fantasy Day because I don’t read those genres. I like what you have to say though!

    Marie’s last blog post..Sunday Salon- Happy Father’s Day

  • Robert Jordan’s books were among the first fantasy I read, too, and I had the same reaction to them. I’ve read through the series thrice now, and I loved them every single time. I’m really looking forward to that wonderful day when the whole thing is out in paperback so I can reread ‘em all again.

    Memory’s last blog post..A tribute to C.S. Lewis

  • Great post. I’m a huge fantasy fan — YA, adult, urban, epic — I love almost all of them.

    Beth F’s last blog post..Review: Magickeepers by Erica Kirov

  • What a great post. I just start reading fantasy more last year. There’s something special about fantasy that you don’t find in the other genres.

    Vasilly’s last blog post..Mondays- June 22

  • The first three Wheel of Time books are some of my very favorite books ever! If you haven’t already tried them, I also highly recommend Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.

    Lezlie

    Lezlie’s last blog post..Happy Birthday, Skye!

  • Apart from stuff like Harry Potter and the Narnia books, I didn’t read much fantasy until grad school! My housemate was re-reading David Eddings’s books, and I picked them up as he put them down, and got hooked. Next up, I dived right into Robert Jordan, and never looked back! :)

    Fyrefly’s last blog post..Joss Whedon – Fray

  • If you haven’t already read them, I have heard great things about the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony. The first book is called On a Pale Horse, and it is supposed to be extremely involving. Another fantasy series that I read was the Empire series by Janny Wurts and Ramond Fiest. The first book is called Mistress of the Empire, and it has incredible world building.

    Zibilee’s last blog post..An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage – 288 pgs

  • I read the Eye of the World but never got into the complete series. I heard around book 7 or so, it started to drag on and seemed like there would never be an end in sight. It still isn’t finished, but someone is supposed to complete the last book in the series since Jordan’s death. I’m wondering if the same thing might happen to my favorite fantasy author, George R.R. Martin, before he finishes A Song of Ice and Fire.

    Steven Till’s last blog post..The Amazon Kindle Store

    • Alicia

      Brandon Sanderson is completing the series with the help of Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s widow. The final novel A Memory of Light is being split into three volumes and the first, The Gathering Storm, is being released in November of this year.

  • I was a latecomer to fantasy: I was in my late teens when I read The Hobbit, my first alternate world fantasy, but I never looked back! Fantasy’s ability to grab readers, especially young ones, seems to surpass that of other genres for some reason.