Books open worlds within our imaginations.
While I prefer visual storytelling mediums like shows, movies, and video games, I’ve always enjoyed spending some quality time with a good book. As long as I wasn’t being forced to read it for school or something (which is what ruined Catcher in the Rye for me), I loved to grab the nearest novel and spend an afternoon lost in its pages. That’s still true today, even as physical books become a little less common. It doesn’t matter how you read something, as long as you’re reading it.
In addition to taking in new and interesting stories for the sake of simple entertainment, reading has a rainbow of benefits for your mind and emotional state. Reading and following along with a story helps to develop focus and understanding, which in turn is good for sharpening your problem-solving skills. Reading works from a variety of different authors also helps to expand your vocabulary. Seeing words used in manners and contexts you’ve never seen before makes you naturally curious about them, and eager to try them out yourself.
Speaking of alternate contexts, reading a novel set from a perspective that isn’t your own can help you develop your sense of empathy. It’s a requirement in reading a story that you need to be able to understand events and motivations from a protagonist’s perspective, and since you’re not the protagonist, you’re also learning to view the world in different ways.
Besides all that, though, reading is just relaxing. It’s a quiet, pleasant way to pass the time (again, provided you aren’t on some kind of deadline). You don’t even have to read full novels if you don’t have the time or interest. What the digital age is diminishing in physical books, it’s adding in the form of short stories and fanfiction. The internet is absolutely lousy with quality stuff to read, as well as some absolutely awful stuff, but when you read enough you learn to identify the crud at a glance.