Books Miscellaneous

Summer Reads: 16 Books for Stay-at-home Adventurers (Part Two: Fantasy Worlds)

Due to the pandemic, we haven't been able to travel as much as we want to. So here are some books that allow you to travel to fantasy worlds without ever leaving your room.

Last time, I wrote about four books you could read if you want to go outside but aren’t allowed to due to the current pandemic. I suggested four books that are set in a famous city, and hoped you would like them. If city trips aren’t your cup of tea, you might like to visit some other places. Today, I want to take you to far-away, completely made-up places. Let’s go on an adventure!

One of the easiest way to really escape your mundane life is by reading books that take place in an imaginary world. You must have read books as a child which made you sigh and wish you could go there, even though you knew perfectly well you would never be able to. I know I have. I actually pretended to be in one of them not so long ago. They’re not always safe, they don’t always make sense, but you definitely won’t be bored!

Firstly, you could go down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Even if you haven’t read this book yet, you might have heard of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts. When I was young, this is the world I desperately wanted to visit. The second part, actually, Alice Through the Looking Glass, was even better: Alice has to play a game of chess, meet all sorts of people, and at the very end she turns into a Queen. It’s such a beautiful metaphor for growing up.

You could also join Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, who travels from his safe hole under the ground in the sleepy Shire to the Lonely Mountain, guarded by the dragon Smaug. Come join him, the twelve dwarves, and wizard Gandalf on their journey through Middle Earth! Come explore Rivendell, where the Elves dwell, or Mirkwood, where, right, there’s more Elves (and spiders, but let’s conveniently forget about those), or Dale, or the Misty Mountains. Whatever your preferences, there must be a part of Middle Earth that you will feel right at home in.

If you prefer the cold, I would definitely recommend C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. During the Second World War, Lucy and her siblings are evacuated from London, and they find themselves in a strange mansion. In one of the wardrobes, they enter a world even stranger and more dangerous than the one they just left. I loved reading about this mysterious world, loved meeting the faun Mr Tumnus, and was secretly terrified of the Queen who lived there. But, aided by the talking lion Aslan, I knew everything would be alright at the end.

Finally, one of my absolute favourite novels of all time are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. They take place in not one, but many different worlds, some similar, and some very different from our own. I still wish I could, somehow, slip through a gap in our world, just like Will and Lyra did, and visit one of those described by Pullman. And oh, how I would love to meet my dæmon! I read these books every year, and every year I discover yet another layer in them, like Lyra does when she reads her Alethiometer.

I know there are so many more fantasy worlds, but I do think these have to be my favourites. Which one would you visit, and why? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book musings!

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