I love reading for many reasons. One is that reading is an act of empathy; through reading we inhabit other skins and see the world through other eyes. The value of this cannot be underestimated. Our ability to understand each other, and to look beyond our own surroundings in doing so, is one of the core aspects of humanity.
Great art ‘opens the door of our bodies and allows our souls to step out into the world and make friends.’ (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being).
Great writing - indeed, great art - changes us from the inside out, and thus changes the world person by person. ‘Thanks to literature, to the consciousness it shapes, the desires and longings it inspires…civilisation is now less cruel than when storytellers began to humanise life with their fables.’ (Mario Vargas Llosa - Nobel Prize winning lecture).