Why I Choose to Spend Hours Reading Fantasy Books in My Life

For those who enjoy a great book, we all have our favorite types of stories. From mystery thrillers, to romantic tear jerkers, or non-fiction biographies on our favorite people, to written letters on an anonymous advice column - there is just something about escaping the world for hours from a new perspective, all the while imagining how the characters look and voices sound.

No matter the genre of choice you choose, I truly believe that reading both non-fiction and fictional books introduces new ideas on how to best live your own life - depending on the book of course.

SN - if you're interested in the advantages you can give yourself in life through reading, check out Josh's article!


I Finishing Oathbringer - Finally!

This weekend, I finally finished the third book of the Stormlight Archive, _Oathbringer_. It was a whopping 1,248 pages, full of 450,000 words!!

Waittttt How long does it take to read that many words?

If you are an average speed adult reader, you can digest around ~250 words per minute. That means it would take 1,800 minutes, or 30 hours of reading time to finish reading one of these bad boys.

I didn't quite time myself or even know my reading speed, but can safely say it took me over 2.5 weeks of putting other things off to finish it up.

The good news? WORTH IT!

Why I Love Fantasy Books

Let's take a few minutes to think on what makes imaginative worlds so amazing.

Authors Create a new Universe

Not only does Brandon Sanderson have to write a story throughout 10 different books (This was book 3 of 10 in the Stormlight Archive) for the world of Roshar, but his fantasy works expand even further. He's created a universe of different worlds in one universe called the Cosmere. Each series has different characters, with one who appears in all of books so far called Hoid.

Interested in seeing the world? Check out the fandom wiki.

On the world of Roshar, there are 13 Nations/Regions. It has its own politics, leaders, and characters intertwined in a world that introduces new concepts of magic, fabrials, stormlight, high storms, everstorms, and spren. It has new terms like Parshmen and Voidbringers. The series demonstrates power through material items such as Shardplate and Shardblades, and social hierarchy in not only light eyes versus dark eyes in the Alethi nation, but even nahns that give additional rank within those hierarchies.

All 13 nations are connected into a spider web of story lines that connects a reader into the emotions, thoughts, and battles through bits and pieces of storylines that continuously build characters into people we imagine and agree or disagree with. Sanderson exhibits character development utilizing both flashbacks and present activities that create a lollapolooza effect of emotions throughout the series. Each person reading along generates their own version of this wonderful creation described with descriptive visual aids.

OK I know that was a lot...a lot of words for those who haven't read the book that mean nothing, but before clicking the x in your favorite browser - take a second to realize what this truly means.

An author doesn't just specialize in the English language (which is challenging enough!) to write professionally, but they must create a new world full of new terms, physics, gravity rules, people, and then write in a way to explain for readers to understand it all. Phew.

In other words, the paragraph full of Stormlight Archive terms that non-readers see as gibberish gives proof in the skill required to write a book in this genre. #respect

You Can Relate to Characters

Oathbringer at times could be a challenge to follow, because the story is told from over 20 perspectives throughout the book - most were excerpts from the main character views - but still.

Over 20...How could you not learn from a few?

Dalinar

The honorable code following Shardbearer who treated all with respect, dignity, and integrity. The wise and battle-worn veteran leader that would lead the world from destruction as he united the nations against the income evils.

Or so we though.

The third book of the series dived into Dalinar's path of a terrorizer on the battle field, demonized by something referred to as the thrill that fed his on-going blood-thirst - leading to him burning ~10K people after a betrayal, which also led to the death of his wife.

It's difficult to truly believe that Dalinar should be role modeled, even though he has made amends and changed his ways - was his past too tough to disregard? A decision you will have to make on your own!

I truly loved the fact he was able to move past in his own journey to become the man he did!

Jasnah

One of the strongest, most intelligent, and uptight characters in the book. She was a devoted scholar, took details very seriously, and documented every finding for the world. She believed in herself, in her research, and did what was logical and necessary for the good of her nation.

I believe Jasnah has characteristics we all strive for, but few actually achieve. Why? We relax a little, enjoy life, instead of studying every minute we can.

She's a definite force to be reckoned with, and if there was one thing I take away from her intelligence, it's the way she uses words in her writings and conversations. I look forward to taking on that challenge in my future.

Here's a quote from her I added to my OneNote:

“They will try,” Jasnah said, “to define you by something you are not. Don’t let them. I can be a scholar, a woman, a historian, a Radiant. People will still try to classify me by the thing that makes me an outsider. They want, ironically, the thing I don’t do or believe to be the prime marker of my identity. I have always rejected that, and will continue to do so.” She reached over and put her freehand on his arm.

“You are not a heretic, Dalinar Kholin. You are a king, a Radiant, and a father. You are a man with complicated beliefs, who does not accept everything you are told. You decide how you are defined. Don’t surrender that to them. They will gleefully take the chance to define you, if you allow it.”

Adolin

Born to a high prince and fulfilling his role as such, his character was known as the son who met his father's expectations as a warrior. He was well liked by all, dressed professionally, and trained to become one of the best swordsman in the book.

I really enjoy his character because of his willingness to be vulnerable. He admitted when he was frightened, or didn't know what to do. He was great at giving Shallan advice or accepting her for who she was. Lastly, he was willing to joke around but was serious when the time was right!

Kaladin

Being born into a family that demands you to follow the path they pave can be a tough burden. Kaladin from a young age decided he wouldn't follow the surgeon path his father wanted of him, instead he joined the military to fight for glory.

The character of this young gentleman was one who cares deeply for those around him. He put others first and drove himself crazy at times doing so, because sometimes his efforts to protect others failed.

A natural leader others look up too, Kaladin shows the importance of being gentle and tough as you take on the world that can sometimes feel against you.

Overall

I'm absolutely impressed by the character development and the varying personalities that Brandon Sanderson gives us to relate to. There are many more I enjoyed learning about, like Lift, Szeth, and Renarin, but I'll spare those reflections for you :D.

Quotes

There were many quotes throughout every book you read that inspire you. I'd love to list all of them, so instead I've decided to do two things.

  1. A link to the Goodreads quotes page.
  2. A letter Dalinar wrote at the end of the book elow.

“The most important words a man can say are, “I will do better.” These are not the most important words any man can say. I am a man, and they are what I needed to say.

The ancient code of the Knights Radiant says “journey before destination.” Some may call it a simple platitude, but it is far more. A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us.

But if we stop, if we accept the person we are when we fall, the journey ends. That failure becomes our destination. To love the journey is to accept no such end. I have found, through painful experience, that the most important step a person can take is always the next one.

I’m certain some will feel threatened by this record. Some few may feel liberated. Most will simply feel that it should not exist. I needed to write it anyway.”

― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer


Wrapping Up

I do truly believe that reading both fiction and non-fiction books lead to personal growth. Fantasy happens to be my genre of choice, but I support you in your favorite.

The most important thing to remember from the Knights Radiant: "journey before destination."

What a wonderful quote for those on our Journey to Achieve

Thanks for Reading and One Love,

Kaleb McKelvey

Featured image from Fandom

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