What does fantasy mean, with books? What about fairy tales?

Imma talk about books again. Yokay. Let’s go.

I read a lot of fantasy – fantasy is basically any stories with magic, right? So when people ask me what kind of books I like, I tend to say fantasy. But then, I realise that they’re probably not thinking of the same thing as me. I mean fairy tales, and stories like Alice in Wonderland or maybe Ella Enchanted. I’ve read so many books of that kind. But modern fantasy is this paranormal thing instead – Hush, Hush and Vampire Academy and that kind of thing. Not what I mean at all. I mean, I’ll read those books too, and quite possibly enjoy them, but what I like, and was referring to, is old-fashioned fantasy, not these young adult fiction books.

Over the years, I have read so very many fairy tales, a lot of them basically the same as others but with a few tiny changes. I know the story of the soldier with the tinderbox and the dogs with eyes as wide as saucers and the story of the Tin Soldier and the actual version of The Little Mermaid, and The Little Matchgirl, and the story where the fairy enchants the eggs to have gold and tiaras and stuff in them, and where the wizened old man enchants the tree to turn the axe on the greedy woodchoppers and leads the nice step-son to treasure because he shared his tiny piece of stale of bread and flask of water with the old man when the other two woodchoppers refused to share any of their massive slabs of meat and jugs of wine.

And I love them.

They’re sad, and outdated, and repetitive, that’s true. But they’re also wonderful.

So I guess it annoys me when people say ‘I read so much!’ and ‘I LOVE fantasy!’ and it turns out they read a book a week and it’s about a vampire and werewolf who are in love. Yay. Because, especially as a kid, I read at least a book a day, and fantasy encompassed this massive range of books, from vampires to brownies to quirky witches to the Faraway Tree to the Brothers Grimm and Snow White and her lesser known sister, Rose Red.

I feel almost hipster. Whoops. And certainly full of myself. Oh well. It’s the one thing I do well – read. So I’m entitled to whine about other people not doing it, just a little bit, aren’t I?


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