The Wheel Of Time, Memory Sorrow And Thorn, The Heritage Of Shannara: Three epic and beautiful fantasy series that I discovered all around the same time in my life.
I still remember finding The Eye Of The World, The Dragonbone Chair, and The Scions Of Shannara at my local library back when I was around the same age as the main characters within the pages of these stories. It was at a time shortly after my family had moved across country to a new state, having to make new friends, and create a new life. If you were raised in a military family you know the drill. Moving happens! Starting over in a new place has its ups and downs but at the time I found these books I was experiencing a particularly down time. There are always plenty of reasons why someone will experience down times or up times or travel from one to another, but in the midst of all the reasons and everything that was happening I found these three books at my library and brought them home.
I agonized over which to read first! Knowing that each started off a series and that I’d probably want to read all the available books in the series before starting the next. So I hemmed and hawed, I went back and forth trying to decide, attempting to somehow pick the exact right one to start first. Without fail each one I read drew me in completely. I ended up devouring them all and reading every book written at that time in each of the series and eventually completed all of them. You might be wondering which book I read first… but that’s not the important thing and that isn’t what this is about.
You see the important thing is that in the midst of a personally difficult time I discovered these beautiful stories of flawed characters that were around my age that I found myself identifying with. I found solace in the pages of these stories and turned to them time and again. I read the available books and then read them again. And again. And again. Finding myself and losing myself within the books. In my thoughts I became a part of the stories. The books helped redirect my creativity and focus. The authors (Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, and Tad Williams) will never know the impact their stories had upon my life.
This is yet another reason we need stories. Lots of them. We need diversity in books. We need YA Books, SciFi, Mystery, History, Fantasy, Romance, Western, Children’s Books, Graphic Novels; we need them all and more.
I found that I could identify with the characters in these stories. That helped me through a difficult time and has always stayed with me. With greater diversity in our stories even more of us will be able to easily identify with more characters and find the stories that can help us through our difficult times and encourage us during our best times. Stories are magical. I’m thankful to have found the magic I needed. I’m hopeful that you will find the magic you need too.