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An Escape From The Mundane

I will freely admit that I am, to a certain extent, an escapist.  I don't shun my daily responsibilities-- quite the opposite-- and I don't flee arising problems-- even mountainous ones-- but, when the day is at its end, I like to escape the dull, melancholy and trite world of quotidian normalcy and enter a world of fantastic and extraordinary possibilities.  Although I read all sorts of things, a notable portion of my bookshelves is filled with fantasy literature.

I love fantasy of all kinds.  It began with the folkloric stories my grandmother and parents used to tell, and with the Arthurian legends my older brother read to me during our childhood.  From there, I discovered books dealing with myth and magic, beginning with children's stories like the Serendipity books and Whisper the Unicorn, then moving on fantasy novels. 

Generic Fantasy novels, like JRR Tolkien's great works and books by R. A. Salvatore, were my first introductions to the genre.  I blundered my way through my first adventure with Bilbo Baggins, followed the epic journey of the Grey Company in the Lord of the Rings, and marveled at the mythic history of the elves in the Silmarillion.  I cheered my favorite Salvatore character-- Drizzt Do'Urden-- as he faced a new, prejudice-filled world, found his calling, found true friends and fought various enemies.  I still enjoy books of this kind, and despite the number of novels I've read, Tolkien's Middle Earth and Salvatore's Forgotten Realms remain my favorite Generic Fantasy landscapes to visit.

My explorations into otherworldly realms had only begun, however, and I soon discovered other wonderful sub-genres..  My combined love for lore and fantasy inevitably led to a great love for Mythic Fiction.  Novels based in mythology have a natural appeal, and I loved seeing characters from favorite legends fleshed out by skilled writers.  Favorites included the works of Stephan R. Lawhead-- who took me to the mythical world of Iron Age Celtic lore-- Anne Eliot Crompton-- who brought Arthurian legends into the "real world" of historic Britain-- and Kij Johnson-- with whose aid I visited mythological Japan.

My interest in the sub-genres of fantasy developed further, and I dove into Magical Realism and Urban Fantasy.  Many of my favorite books fall into this category, such as the marvelous works of Charles de Lint.  Blending Mythic Fiction with city streets and daily realities, he took me to new placed that were just next door.  Through his novels and short stories I discovered wonderful worlds of magic and myth in the real world, and learned to find the wonder in daily life.  Myths became more than stories-- they became a part of myself.  Art became more than paintings-- it became a widow into another world.  I continued my journey with other Magical Realism/Urban Fantasy authors, like Ly de Engles-- whose books the Quickening and the Shining Island brought the old Celtic myths to modern America-- Holly Black-- whose Modern Fairytales series blended lore of the good people beautifully with daily life-- and Elizabeth Kostova-- whose great fantasy/mystery novel the Historian took me on a mysterious journey with a young woman racing to untangle the intriguing threads of her father's obsessive research of the legends of Dracula before his deadly secrets catch up with her family.

There are so many fantasy books to read, so many wonderful places to visit, and so many magical new worlds that I have yet to discover.  So, while I will work, study, and fulfill my responsibilities, when all of that is done you'll find me curled up with a good novel, journeying somewhere far away.

WildMagic WildMagic 26-30, F 2 Responses Apr 9, 2010

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Thanks! I'm always glad to meet another fantasy lover. :) The genre really is wonderfully addicting, isn't it? At least it's a good addiction, though!<br />
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I would certainly recommend that you read R. A. Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt novels. It's the only Forgotten Realms series I've ever been able to get into, so it's certainly worth reading. Well, I've also read the Sellswords Trilogy, also by R. A. Salvatore, which focuses on two of my other favorite characters: Jarlaxle and Entreri. That's a very good one, too.<br />
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What are some of your favorite Fantasy novels?

I really appreciate what you have shared. I am quite in awe of your collection! I have always wanted to get a hold of Drizzt!! I also wanted to share that I too have had similar experiences growing up only when I was younger I was the oldest of three, I found myself reading to my brother and sister in lesser times to cheer them up. I think fantasy is a wonderful genre and I feel that you have really expressed how positively addicting and wonderful it can be.