There’s something inherently solitary and all-encompassing in a book.

You go to the movies to indulge in over-buttered popcorn and whispered exchanges with the gaggle of people who tagged along because “that one scene with that girl from ‘Princess Diaries’ looks brutal.” And then there’s the rest of the theater, each couple of seats their own cosmos, trying to stay unaware of neighbors across the row.

TV can be lonely, especially if it’s a Saturday night and the rest of your housemates are at a house party while you decided to stay in because it’s almost April and going outside is depressingly freezing. So, it’s off to Netflix and its collection of shows. And then it’s probably a bit of texting or Snapchatting your friends to let them know you’re warm and have “Gossip Girl” reruns on.

There’s no texting and reading. There’s no turning away from the pages to have a quick discussion about the main character’s hair. Delving into a book means being taken to its universe, one where you leave everyone else you know behind.

And when the book is finished, it’s like coming back from the dead — resurfacing, only to find six hours have gone by and the world is different. It’s dark out, and there are no lights on except for the little book light, and somehow, no one has bothered to make dinner.

Reading requires a specific patience: It might take a while to pick the story up, introduce all the characters and dramatize the plot. It might take centuries for the protagonist to get to the bottom of an evil plot. Authors of series are the best marketing strategists, leaving you hanging with just enough information to keep you from perpetually sobbing. Patience is such a slutty virtue, and books tease the persistence of many readers.

Comparing TV, film and reading is sort of unnecessary. Because what’s the point of having a winner? There’s nothing a book can do to provide the same level of sensory overload as an IMAX 3-D movie experience. There’s nothing a TV show can do to seamlessly weave each storyline and episode into an hour-long episode the way a 500-page novel can. But there’s nothing to stop anyone from indulging in all three.

Movies, TV, books and music are art — different styles, different formats, but all essentially made with the purpose of entertainment. I don’t want to argue against all other forms of media, insisting that literature is the only safe route towards becoming properly cultured. In a culture with high-speed Internet, that seems impractical.

But there’s something novels offer that no other type of entertainment can, and that’s the total engulfment of your life into another. Since reading relies so heavily on the reader to create the sounds, the smells and the people in another world, it becomes your own creation. It’s paralyzing; watching people read for hours at a time is unimaginably boring.

It’s unfortunately less common to find people with their noses in a book, and even less so for pleasure than off a syllabus.

Chapter-by-chapter reading is pretty common for the assigned-reading few who actually complete the assignment. But it’s dull, and lacks imagination — getting ripped from its universe every 70 pages doesn’t help. Who has time to read a full novel, though? Who has time to sit through endless page-turning?

It’s about a delicate balance. It’s about quality over quantity. And when you finally find enough time to dedicate, the novel better be rewarding and satisfying — it should change your world. Rather than cutting out reading, it’s time to sift through the mediocre writing and focus on the truly worthwhile.

Just like picking a TV series or a movie, choosing a book can take a while. It might not mesh with your style; the writing could be too leaden for the Saturday you’ve set aside for reading. So continue your search! Because there are truly remarkable experiences waiting for you on the other side of book covers.

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