fantasy fiction books

Of wizards, magic and superheroes: Here’s why you should read fantasy fiction

The best thing about reading a fantasy novel is that it gives you a hero to root for, and in the end, reminds you that when all looks bleak, the impossible is still possible.
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Imagine going to a place where you can fight dragons, fly on the broomstick, and make things happen just by waving a magic wand. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? This is exactly where fantasy fiction books take you when you start reading them. Not only do you find an escape from the harsh realities of your everyday life, but you also allow your imagination to run free. Fantasy makes the phrase “escape with a good book” meaningful.

Fantasy in the context of literature refers to the stories that have certain definable elements that make them unreal. These elements vary from mythical beasts roaming in an imaginary world to the natural settings in which animals take on human characteristics. The genre can even seem a bit daunting to some people. An imaginary world of magic, creatures and unpronounceable names may confuse those who haven’t read fantasy fiction before.

But, as millions of fans know, there’s something to be said for the sense of wonder and amazement that a fantasy novel can provide. The best thing about reading a fantasy novel is that it gives you a hero to root for, and in the end, reminds you that when all looks bleak, the impossible is still possible.

Here are a few reasons why you must add fantasy fiction to your reading list.

Provides an escape from reality

We lead busy lives, and the mundane aspect of our everyday life can feel overwhelming at times. On such occasions, many people turn to books to find an escape. It acts as fuel for the brain. Fantasy books like The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling take readers into an imaginary world of intriguing magical creatures with dark, mysterious forces lurking in every corner. When you read these books, you can get so engrossed in the stories that for a few hours, you may escape your everyday reality—the bills you have to pay or the projects you have to complete.

Improves your creativity

The sparks of creativity that come from reading a fantasy genre are unmatched. Reading fantasy books requires active engagement and concentration as they completely absorb your mind. Reading certain words, figuring out their meaning, and why they were used in that manner requires effort. While you are reading, you are creating images, thoughts, and opinions in your head. You are using your logic to process all this information, which helps boost your creativity and imagination. Fantasy authors make a lot of effort to create a world of their own. When you read their work, you are getting a peek into their minds. Exposure to this new perspective allows you to formulate your thoughts in a new, better way.

Expands your imagination

When you read a fantasy fiction book, you are stepping into a transcendental world. Whether it is a realm where you are fighting demons or trying to find a path to the magical mountains, you are setting your imagination free. You are creating a place for yourself based on the words you have read in a book. It is like an exercise of guided imagination that allows you to experience places, cultures and lives that otherwise you might never visit or know.

Boosts critical thinking

Almost every fantasy book has a theme in its stories. Themes such as love, betrayal, culture, good vs evil et cetera tap into the inner workings of your brain, bringing out your critical and analytical thinking abilities to the fore. Critical thinking is all about asking questions that can help you understand and assess the meaning and significance of a particular subject. For example, reading The Lord Of the Rings can give you a perspective on friendships, sacrifice and accepting differences. All this helps in boosting your critical-thinking abilities. Moreover, an article in the Harvard Business Review cites studies that demonstrate the impact of reading literary fiction on the brain. “Research suggests that reading literary fiction is an effective way to enhance the brain’s ability to keep an open mind while processing information, a necessary skill for effective decision-making,” the article states.

Makes you empathetic

Have you ever finished a book and felt empathy for the characters? Our brain tries to find patterns and meaning in things, and stories are a great way to do that. When you read a fantasy fiction book, you gain a new perspective on life. You feel this way because reading fiction makes you more empathetic. A 2014 study titled, The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice found that students in Italy and the United Kingdom became more empathic toward immigrants, refugees, and members of the LGBT community after reading Harry Potter.

By reading such books, you understand the character’s feelings and problems and broaden your horizons about gender, ethnicity, and culture. This helps in making you an empathetic person.

Brings hope

Far too often in real life, you may feel like justice is rarely served or there is so much evil in this world. This can take away your hope and make you feel like you don’t matter. But in most fantasy novels, the protagonist manages to defeat powerful opponents or reach his target despite having numerous hurdles on the way. For example, do you remember how good it felt when Harry Potter defeated Voldemort? It gave you hope and the strength to rise to the challenges and move forward in life. It is part of the human condition to yearn for these kinds of stories since they serve as examples that you shouldn’t allow yourself to get crushed under the weight of hopelessness.

Reduces stress

What makes fantasy novels interesting is the fact that they are fun to read. You find characters that are on an exciting journey with unending hurdles on the path. When you read such stories, you lose yourself completely in their adventures. This provides you with an escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world. According to a study titled, Stress Management Strategies For Students: The Immediate Effects Of Yoga, Humor, And Reading On Stress, 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as humour and yoga did.

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