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Rediscovering 19th century literature

Lately, thanks mostly to Moonreader+ TTS on my phone I've been getting a lot more reading done. To my surprise I've become a stickler for 19th century classics. Besides being free, they're old enough to have stood the test of time but not so old that I have difficulty relating to them.

Here are a handful of recommended classics I found particularly enjoyable:

  • Crime and Punishment: for the deep philosophy embedded, the haunting horrors of human nature and a glimpse at Dostoyevsky's genius. This has to be one of the best books ever written.
  • All the Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels: Alas, I've exhausted them all. The author is dead so the lack of new original Sherlock Holmes literature must be permanent. Sherlock Holmes was an alpha geek and maybe the closest thing 19th century literature had to the modern hacker.
  • 20,000 leagues under the sea: 19th century sci-fi at its finest. Stand back for we are about to pierce the mysteries of electricity.
  • Picture of Dorian Grey: in part for its provocative content but mostly for its beautiful language.
  • Count of Monte Cristo: for the non-stop adventure. A guaranteed page turner.
  • The time machine: a quick, fantastic read with embedded social commentary that is still surprisingly relevant.

Besides being enjoyable reads, immersing yourself in 19th century literature offers the bonus of a refined outlook on the 21st century. The more time I spend in the past, the more the present seems not like the pedestrian reality I've come to take for granted but a peculiar, almost miraculous future.

It's sort of like how they say you can't really understand the culture you grew up in until you travel the world and encounter other cultures.

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