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5 reasons why you need to read books from other centuries

When considering diving into a book from another century, there's often a reluctance to tackle it. These older books tend to be filled with challenging language and complex plots. However, they hold valuable insights worth exploring. Here are five compelling reasons to give them a chance.

5 reasons why you need to read book from other centuries

1. It makes you think more

Reading a book from another century typically involves encountering more complex language and narrative structures. This demands greater attention and cognitive processing from your brain; you might find yourself rereading passages to fully grasp them. However, this challenges your thinking and interpretation abilities, ultimately enhancing them. Consequently, when you return to less complex literature or articles, they'll feel like a breeze, making comprehension much easier for you.


  1. Complex Language and Narrative Structures: Older literature often contains vocabulary, syntax, and literary devices that are different from modern writing. Engaging with these texts requires your brain to process language in a more intricate manner, expanding your linguistic capabilities.

  2. Increased Attention and Cognitive Processing: To understand the nuances of older texts, you need to concentrate more intensely. This heightened focus exercises your attentional control, which is essential for comprehension and memory retention.

  3. Challenges Thinking and Interpretation Abilities: Deciphering older literature necessitates critical thinking and interpretation. You may need to analyze historical context, cultural references, and figurative language, which strengthens your analytical skills and broadens your perspective.

  4. Enhancing Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability: Exposure to diverse linguistic styles and narrative structures promotes cognitive flexibility, enabling you to switch between different cognitive tasks and adapt to novel challenges more effectively.

  5. Comparative Learning: Contrasting older literature with contemporary works fosters an appreciation for language evolution and cultural change. This comparative approach enhances your ability to identify patterns, draw connections, and evaluate differences, which are essential aspects of critical thinking.

2. It opens doors in your life

Having a broad knowledge base can significantly enhance your life. Contrary to popular belief, possessing general knowledge across various subjects holds immense value. It enables you to participate in diverse conversations and may even lead to unexpected job opportunities. Your well-rounded understanding of various topics could be the unique attribute that sets you apart. Thus, embracing general knowledge has the potential to unlock numerous opportunities in your life.


  1. Enhanced Communication: General knowledge allows you to engage in diverse conversations with people from different backgrounds and interests. This ability to communicate effectively across various topics can strengthen your relationships, both personally and professionally.

  2. Expanded Networking: Having a broad knowledge base makes you more interesting and approachable. This can lead to expanding your network with individuals who share similar interests or who may offer valuable insights or opportunities in fields you're less familiar with.

  3. Career Advancement: Many job opportunities require a well-rounded understanding of various subjects. Employers value candidates who can adapt to different situations and bring diverse perspectives to the table. General knowledge can make you a more versatile and valuable employee, opening doors to unexpected career paths or promotions.

  4. Problem-Solving Skills: General knowledge fosters critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. When faced with challenges, you can draw from your broad understanding of different subjects to come up with creative solutions that others may not have considered.

  5. Cultural Awareness: A solid grasp of general knowledge includes an understanding of different cultures, histories, and perspectives. This fosters empathy, tolerance, and global awareness, which are increasingly important in today's interconnected world.

3. Enhances your creativity and opens your imagination

Stimulating creativity and expanding imagination are inherent benefits of exploring the depths of history. While it's commonly understood that our perceptions are largely shaped by contemporary experiences, the treasures concealed within ancient texts offer a unique perspective. Delving into the pages of centuries-old books unveils a wealth of insight and knowledge previously inaccessible. With each turn of the page, a new realm of possibility unfolds, enriching the mind and broadening the scope of imagination. Through this exploration, one can grasp the essence of concepts previously unimagined, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world.

4. Self-Reflection and Growth:

Engaging with literature from bygone eras serves as a catalyst for self-reflection and introspection. As you immerse yourself in the themes, characters, and messages embedded within these texts, it initiates a journey of personal growth and heightened self-awareness. By pondering the profound ideas encapsulated in the pages, you're prompted to reassess your own beliefs, values, and experiences. This introspective process cultivates a deeper understanding of oneself and the world, facilitating meaningful insights and spiritual development along the way.


An example of how engaging with literature from bygone eras can prompt self-reflection and introspection is through the reading of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel "Crime and Punishment."

In "Crime and Punishment," the protagonist, Raskolnikov, grapples with existential questions about morality, guilt, and the nature of evil. As readers delve into Raskolnikov's internal struggles and ethical dilemmas, they may find themselves contemplating their own beliefs and values.

For instance, readers may ponder the extent to which they believe in the concept of moral relativism versus absolute morality. They may question whether noble intentions can justify unethical actions, as Raskolnikov initially believes when he contemplates committing murder for what he perceives as the greater good.

Furthermore, the novel explores themes of redemption and forgiveness, as Raskolnikov confronts the consequences of his actions and seeks redemption for his crimes. Readers may reflect on their own capacity for forgiveness and empathy, considering how they would respond in similar circumstances.

Through the introspective process sparked by "Crime and Punishment," readers may gain insights into their own psyche and moral compass. They may confront uncomfortable truths about themselves and their motivations, leading to personal growth and spiritual development.

Ultimately, by immersing themselves in the profound ideas and complex characters of Dostoevsky's novel, readers embark on a journey of self-discovery and introspection that deepens their understanding of themselves and the world around them.

5. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence:

Diving into narratives spanning various epochs offers a unique opportunity to empathize with characters navigating diverse challenges and adversities, potentially distinct from your own. This immersion cultivates empathy and enhances emotional intelligence by enabling you to understand and relate to the experiences, emotions, and dilemmas of characters from different backgrounds and eras. Through this process, you develop a deeper appreciation for the complexities of human existence, fostering a heightened sense of empathy and compassion towards others both within fiction and in real life situations.


We have curated a list of famous historical books that will provide all the benefits outlined in this article:

1st Century BCE:

  • "The Aeneid" by Virgil (19 BCE)

  • "The Metamorphoses" by Ovid (8 CE)

1st Century CE:

  • "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" by Homer (8th century BCE) - Though not written in the 1st century, these epic poems were widely read and influential during this time.

5th Century CE:

  • "Confessions" by Saint Augustine (397–400 CE)

10th Century CE:

  • "The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu (c. 1000 CE) - Considered one of the world's first novels.

14th Century CE:

  • "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri (1320 CE)

16th Century CE:

  • "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)

17th Century CE:

  • "Paradise Lost" by John Milton (1667)

18th Century CE:

  • "Candide" by Voltaire (1759)

  • "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe (1719)

19th Century CE:

  • "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen (1813)

  • "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville (1851)

  • "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy (1869)

  • "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley (1818)

20th Century CE:

  • "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee (1960)

  • "1984" by George Orwell (1949)

  • "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)

  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)


I hope you are now more persuaded to include at least a few books from other centuries on your reading list. By broadening your reading horizons to include works from various centuries, you'll not only expand your knowledge but also deepen your understanding of the human condition. Happy reading!


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