I am an avid reader. It is a stipulated, undeniable fact that I know is shared by millions like me all over the world. The range of what I read has been described as “eclectic” but over the past few years I have told and begrudged myself to read books that are more “real”. Reading books and literature that have more to do with human pain, loss, suffering, and of course ultimate triumph are indeed insightful. I have delved into this brand of reading with indulgence and love. I love reading and any kind of reading that will better my understanding of the written words…is what I believe, makes me a better writer. After all, what we write is in many ways influenced and shaped by what we read.
I have read so many books about some real, gritty, and serious issues and thoughtful provoking matter that makes me so happy by the end of it because it fills me with ideas and emotion. I always take a break in between though, I read some Adrian Mole, which apart from being hilarious is wonderfully satirical and at times, sardonically true. Not all heavy reading has light-hearted comic relief but whenever it does, it’s more of a tiny window through which sunlight can only ever…sporadically shine. And if it does, it quickly dissolves into the darkness again. If it is for the pure sake of comedy, it is exhausting, ill timed and unnecessary.
Recently, I haven’t been reading anything that is terribly serious or as some might say “of substance”. The answer is quite simple and probably only surprising to me. Or other idiots like me…
It is because I craved and missed adventure. I missed crazy plot twists and winding turns in narrative. I missed the creatures and myths that came alive. I missed simply escaping. This revelation came to me after I re-watched one of my favourite movies, ‘Girl, Interrupted’ and what has become one of my favourite books, ‘One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest.’ Unfortunately both events occurred in the same week. I questioned everything I thought I knew about Psychology, one of my favourite subjects, I questioned what life was, what defined madness, the significance of humanity etc. etc. blah blah blah. I know that both works dealt with a different era than today…but one thing hasn’t changed…the horror of reality. Reality can be so painfully truthful and gruesomely morbid. This is probably why we need. No, survive on fantasy.
Fantasy is so much pure unadulterated fun. And I had forgotten how much fun it could be until I picked up The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. I had heard of it and despite it’s famed absurdities decided that if there were snarky characters I was going to love it anyway so why the hell not?
I laughed, I pfft-ed, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages, I had to pause in between and say: “What…no…WHY?” in the spectacular tumblr-fangirl fashion that is only appropriate and nothing but right in such situations.
Fantasy is the best form of escape. It’s ridiculous but it’s comforting in the best of ways because it still expresses and teaches the most basic of humanities that people forget all too often. We need Harry Potter, he was my childhood and a very big part of my generation’s as well. We need The Doctor to amuse and baffle us but also remind us about humility, kindness and the just how important each and every one of us are. We need Star Trek to remind us about that unbreakable bond of friendship. We need superheroes in a world where true heroes are scattered and few.
Sometimes, and what has proven to be one of the worst parts about life is that it can be utterly boring. The same routine day after day, week after week can turn into a plethora of uninspiring hell. Some people starve for a promotion or a partner and other mundane human checkpoints that classify a life as complete but others starve for adventure. But discovering new worlds can be quite expensive and impractical when you don’t have a TARDIS or a superpower. Which is why returning to fantasy is so important for people of all ages. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Land Of Stories that you want to dive into or Tolkien with his masterful artistry of Mordor and his beautiful Bilbo Baggins whose bravery is sung of to this day by the children of the fans…and the fans, themselves. That’s the cool thing about fandoms too…they can live forever and they have a magical ability to unite the unlikeliest and most random of people.
So I suppose the point of this is that people who stop reading fantasy at whatever age are fools. The world, and universe for that matter are just too big and way too much of it is left unexplored. Home is convenient and too safe which is why fantasy is the best mode of time and space travel that there is, for those old souls who cannot or do not wish to venture out. I find it weirdly remarkable how we can be completely immobile while reading and be swept away to another dimension completely. Fantasy is the best teacher, entertainer, friend, and companion that consistently refuses to leave me. For it is only when the fantastical is so absurd that the reality hits harder.
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