I am a bona fide fantasy nerd. Epic fantasy, to be exact. I like the long series, the ones that spans multiple books, multiple years (sometimes decades) of publication, and certainly multiple imaginary lands.
The appeal, for me, lies is the utter escapism that fantasy offers. Not only are the stories told completely outside the realm of my own life, they’re outside the realm of possibility. The writer’s imagination is unlimited by our physical reality, which means that mine is as well. Even real-life equivalencies don’t hold a candle to the picture a good story conjures in my head for the specific reason that it’s in my head, and therefore can take on the quality that makes the greatest impact on me. And then, of course, there are all of the qualities that make a story a fantasy: most notably magic and foreign creatures. Through fantasy novels, we can steep ourselves in an entirely alien culture and landscape without leaving the comfort of our own homes.
Reading is my way of escaping the world around me, a vacation in the palm of my hand. The further away it is from real life, the more of a vacation I get. After all, if I wanted to deal with my real life, I would deal with my real life.