Escaping reality, even just for a moment, through fiction

There comes a time when the problems of the world become too much to bear, and we simply want to take a break from them. We find ourselves using any accessible means of distraction to avert our attention elsewhere. My go-to is usually my phone or laptop, but more recently, I’ve found myself reaching for a book. 

Within the last few months, I’ve come to the realization that books aren’t just a necessity that we are required to read in order to pass our classes. The right ones can carry with them a sense of comfort and bring a sense of elation to the person reading. 

The inimitable feeling of opening a book is one that provides me with the distance I need between myself and any problems that I encounter. With my newfound interest in books, I thought it would be fitting for me to recommend some of my all-time favorite, feel-good, escape-the-world books. 

“Alice in Wonderland”

Wonderland: a world where everything that is, isn’t, and where everything that isn’t, is. It’s a world where the impossible seems possible, the conflicts seem solvable and the courage is unwavering. Alice Liddell shows us that there is so much left to explore in the world and that we can always grow in more ways than one, whether that’s eating an “Eat Me” cookie or learning that our imagination has no limitation. 

From a rabbit wearing a waistcoat to a cat that smiles, author of “Alice in Wonderland” Lewis Carroll allows us to immerse ourselves in his words as we dive head-first into the rabbit hole of possibilities while being welcomed into Wonderland. Immediately we are transported into a utopian life that only books can create and our minds can imagine, and it’s comforting to live in Wonderland for a while. 

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Still waiting for your Hogwarts letter? Live vicariously through Harry Potter for a while as he discovers all that the Wizarding World has to offer. From living under the stairs to having magical adventures with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry Potter lives his life to the fullest during his stay at Hogwarts, a school for Witchcraft and Wizardry. ‘

While Harry discovers flying brooms and invisible cloaks, nothing compares to the happiness he feels after seeing his recently departed parents through a magical mirror. He searches for answers to his iconic scar while he immerses himself in all things magic through classes like potions, charms, defense against the dark arts and transfiguration. 

Harry embodies the allure of being a Gryffindor as he proves his bravery and courage against the evil trying to take over Hogwarts. Follow Harry as he overcomes obstacles as minor as high school bullies to as major as saving Hogwarts for the first time of many to come. 

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Bravery, courage, determination and hope all inside a wardrobe? Just as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie escape the horrors of World War II, they find themselves trapped in the center of a war between good and bad within Narnia, a land that lives in the back of a wardrobe. 

From talking beavers to a loyal fox to a faun with an umbrella, readers follow each character’s journey to side with good or evil. As Aslan, the courageous kind lion and leader of the army against the evil witch, guides the four children to fulfill the prophecy to return peace to Narnia, the children are faced with the decision on whether or not Narnia is worth saving. Through various adventures to protect one another, the children realize that Narnia is the closest thing to a home and risk their lives to save it. 

As author C.S. Lewis shows the importance of imagination and faith, which he makes the key to Narnia, the reader is able to revel in the moments where imagination holds more value than logic, and it’s nice to live in a world like that for a while. In the end, Lucy’s continuous effort to provide hope resonates with us so that we find new perspectives on our obstacles. Just as Narnia needed the four siblings to return peace and the siblings needed Narnia more to return hope, we needed Narnia the most to return comfort and faith. 

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Roald Dahl mesmerizes us as he writes a novel primarily centered around the existence of chocolate and candy. 

We are introduced to Charlie Bucket, a child from humble beginnings, who later comes to be known as the luckiest boy in the world. Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy maker, opens the doors of his factory to only a handful of children as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with his own motivations that are unknown to readers. At the beginning of the story, Charlie is one of the few children to find the golden ticket that allows him entry into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory. The reader is able to follow Charlie and the rest of the children as they discover all the secrets that the chocolate factory has to offer. 

The bizarreness of Willy Wonka and the workers of the chocolate factory is captivating while providing us with comedic relief. With small men called Oompa Loompas that randomly break into song, squirrels that can crack open the perfect nut and a full glass elevator that goes every which way, the factory seems like it has it all. Willy Wonka seems to be defying science with faith and imagination. 

But there’s a catch—just as every new secret unfolds, there is one less child in the mix. Each child is faced with an unintentional test on whether or not they should act out of selfishness and greed. Not many children pass, and there can only be one winner. At the end of the tour, Willy Wonka chooses the winner and discloses the special prize. We come to accept the oddness of the chocolate factory and the complexity of it all while appreciating that there isn’t major drama or conflicts. The simple yet still heartwarming ending of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory makes us wish that we lived in a world centered around chocolate and candy.