All Aboard the Escapism Train

Image Source: A Writer of History

Escapism is defined as a desire to seek refuge from this world by indulging in another. It’s often one of fictional or fantastical origin, though there doesn’t have to be magic in it as everyone’s method of vacationing into someone else’s literary life looks a little different. But no matter what kind of story relieves the pressures of real life, it allows us to imagine how our narratives could be different: what might happen if we owned that bakery, pulled that sword from that stone, or were selected as the chosen one. 

There is a unique fingerprint that decides what we daydream about, and I believe it comes from our heart telling us the kind of medicine it needs. Maybe trouble in the romance department leaves us wishing for love that sweeps us off of our feet, so a rom-com novel does the trick. Maybe life feels boring and mundane, and a thriller gives everything the feeling of the chase. I usually sway toward a complete escape into a land that does not exist, complete with made-up languages, swords, and some kind of otherworldly magical purpose. 

I’ve felt the joy of pure escapism in countless books over the course of my life, but the ones that tickle my fancy the most feel like the perfect rendering of relatable characters in a completely unrelatable world. It empowers me while fostering my imagination and leaves me with what is sometimes referred to as a “book hangover.” 

Some of those books for me have been:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore 
  • The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Nearly all of these are known worldwide for their achievement in the publishing world and ability to win over readers, and I must say that I remain spellbound by them. I recommend these purely because they transported me the first time I read them, and have done the same every time since. 

Many other books that have been recommended to me because of their power over friends, family, and booktubers alike include: 

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark 
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune 
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I hope to read these soon and to discover what kind of incredible invitation to be someone else for a while they are. May you find that book for yourself and enjoy your travels to somewhere that allows you to breathe easy.