Six reasons why you should read historical fiction

1. It’s fun!
Stories set in other times have different rules, and watching the characters struggle within them is great entertainment, but they’re still just stories designed to entertain.

2. It’s educational
If it’s even slightly researched, a historical fiction novel will put you squarely into a period of history, with all its different ways of speaking, customs and behaviours, so you learn what life was like for your ancestors. You don’t get that in a contemporary novel.

3. It expands your horizons
By gaining an understanding of all the different societies humanity has created, you widen your appreciation of the modern-day cultures that have evolved from those societies, and gain insight as to why they are the way they are.

4. It improves your conversation
Being able to make statements like “This system is almost identical to the one the Roman senate adopted in 375AD” may make you a tosser in some people’s eyes, but others will think “Crikey, this person really knows their stuff.”

5. It’s humbling
Appreciating how many people have come before, and what they had to endure in their lives, gives you a better appreciation of what you have yourself and just how fortunate you are to live now and not then.

6. It brings wisdom
Some people say studying history is a complete waste of time and you should concentrate on the present. The counter-argument is that this means learning everything from scratch all over again (the “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” approach).

So, read some historical fiction today. It’s good for you. Here’s one place to start.

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