Fantasy, Reading’s Fabulous F-Word

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Fantasy is a huge F-word, a fantastic(ha!) category that brings to mind swords and villagers, quests and elves. But that’s only a fair-sized corner of the fantasy realm. There are the books that take an imaginative element and turn into an F-world (see what I did there? And it’s only Monday).

I can’t say, for certain, that Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth was the first fantasy I’d read when I became and independent reader. But it was the the one that burrowed into me, likely helping to form my odd, humorous aesthetic. It’s a book illustrates for readers–any readers, not just new ones–exactly what a book is supposed to do: open the gate and take you somewhere wondrous.


The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition by The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition. Amazon for $4.99. It has been fifty years—and millions of readers—since the world was first introduced to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond with Tock, the Humbug, and the captive princesses Rhyme and Reason.
Now we have a remarkable 50th anniversary edition to honor this universally adored and deeply influential novel. This special edition will include:

• Gorgeous packaging that features the classic original art stamped and debossed on the case with a transparent acetate jacket.
• Brief essays from esteemed authors, educators, and artists, including Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, Mo Willems, and several others.
• Photos of the author and illustrator at the time of writing and today on the two-color endpapers.
• The 35th anniversary essay by Maurice Sendak.
• The complete text of the book.

A perfect gift for longstanding fans and lucky new readers, the 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth is a book to cherish.

From the Hardcover edition.

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8 thoughts on “Fantasy, Reading’s Fabulous F-Word

    • It depends on the kind of fantasy, probably. Anything with a surrealist element that’s not grounded in science (like magical realism, for example) is fantasy. And then there’s the funny stuff, as well, like Jasper Fforde, who is one of my favorites and is a reader’s writer.

      But there are far too many books force yourself to read genres you don’t like 🙂

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