This Is What Happened When I Only Read Fantasy For Two Weeks
When it comes to books, I'm the kind of person who is always reading more than one at once. Typically, I have one nonfiction book, one novel, and a third genre book on my nightstand, and I read all three simultaneously. Throughout the week, I switch back and forth, and while you might be thinking "Man, that sounds confusing!", I can tell you it isn't. It actually helps me get through my TBR pile faster, and for a person with more than one shelf of unread books, it's a reading style I've come to love. But it got me to thinking — how would my experience change if I only read one genre? So, I picked my reading list, and over two weeks, I tried to find out what happens when I read only fantasy? It got... interesting.
I don't consider myself a genre snob. I enjoy literary fiction as much as I do erotic fiction, and I never turn down a good sci-fi read, but there are plenty of readers who stick to what they know and love. A lot of the time, that genre turns out to be fantasy, and although I love Harry Potter as much (OK, probably more than) the next reader, fantasy isn't in my frequent reading rotation. I have always wondered about the limitations (or lack there of) that come with strict fantasy-only reading, and by trying it for 14 days, I think I was able to find out.
A magical and unexpected experience, this is what happened when I read only fantasy for two weeks. Time to get your wand out.
1. I Felt More Optimistic
If you read as much as I do, then you know how much what you read can affect your mood. While fantasy books have plenty of darkness in them — evil sorcerers, vindictive mothers, broken hearts — but overall, I walked away from each book with a little pep in my step. There was something about submerging myself in worlds where lovers can be resurrected with a kiss and broken kingdoms can be made whole again by the right leader that made me look at my own life as glass half-filled. If young men and women can take town evil forces larger than life, than surely I can get through a Monday, right?
2. It Helped Jump-Start My Imagination
The most common advice I have gotten as a writer is to read as much as I can, so I already knew how much frequent reading is helping my craft. I had no idea, however, how much an injection of fantasy could help my imagination take off. While every genre, even nonfiction, requires imagination when reading and writing it, fantasy brings it to a whole other level. And that is half the fun of the genre, isn't it? Unimaginable places being brought to life on the page in front of you can sure help get your own creative juices flowing. Reading fantasy for two weeks really helped me in my own writing, and while didn't add dragons to my personal essays, I did challenge myself to think outside of the box.
3. The Travel Bug Bit Me, Hard
From magic powers to a royal blood line,fantasy books made me want a lot of things, but above all, it made me want to travel. In each book, the characters find themselves traveling across mountain ranges, to other kingdoms, and even to other worlds, and that kind of adventure makes a girl itch for some of her own. While I may not be able to skip security by way of the Floo Network, I can still hop on a plane, train, or automobile, and whole new world to explore.
4. I Was Completely, Totally Absorbed In My Reading
"Did you say something?" became one of my most frequently-used phrase over the two weeks I spent reading fantasy. Thought I'm usually pretty hard to pull away from whatever I'm reading, when I had my nose stuck between pages of feuding families, mythical creatures, and ancient magic, it became impossible to tear me away. I stayed up late reading, and whenever I had a break in the day, I pulled out my book. If I wasn't reading, I was busy thinking about what I was reading. I was walking in a fantasy world, and man, it sucked me in.
5. But There Was One Major Disappointment
Though I reveled in the wonder, magic, and happy(ish) endings many fantasy books had, I was disappointed in one major thing: the lack of diversity. Most books featured white, European, mostly male heroes and heterosexual-only romances. In world calling for diverse books now, I found the books I read seriously lacking. Though there is diverse fantasy out there, like all genres of books, there is still a major gap that needs filling.
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