When’s the last time you read a book? If it’s been a while, this might be a good day to start one. Aug. 9 (according to most calendars, says HolidayInsights.com) is Book Lovers Day.

A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that three-fourths of Americans had read at least one book the previous year. The typical American read five books in twelve months. Perhaps more astounding: About a quarter of those surveyed didn’t read a book.

People see the movie instead of reading the book. They play online games for hours, battling their way through a narrative. Or they work hard and come home and collapse on the couch and watch TV. All of these forms of entertainment – or engagement – are valid forms of storytelling, but they lack something: your imagination.

There’s something deeply engaging about reading a book. When reading fiction, especially, a reader fills in visual and emotional details, the kind of color that’s automatically provided to you in other, more passive media. Books are the original interactive experience.

Studies have shown that reading books can make you more empathetic and less stressed. Reading can keep your memory and cognitive skills sharp. And, as book lovers know, reading is a pleasure, too.

In addition, there’s something to be said for the long form. This blog is short, suitable to feed the modern appetite for digital bon bons, for Facebook updates, for 140-character Tweets. And we’re really glad you stopped by! But after this appetizer, consider picking up a book, a real reading meal. Then, maybe, you can come back here for dessert.

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