An excerpt from http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1429944,00.html.
The first para is good, and second para is something I identify with. And since some people have reported confusion if they just want to glance through my posts, from today I shall put what I quote from other sources in italics.
And on a purely personal and individual level, books have had a transforming and beneficial effect. As Julian Barnes so succinctly put it in Flaubert’s Parrot, “Books say she did this because. Life says she did this. Books are where things are explained to you. Life is where things aren’t.”
I would only add, that books do this in a way that no other medium can. Films and plays – even lectures – can explain a little. But nothing promotes understanding better than a great (or even not so great) novel. This process of general and personal enrichment received through books has continued right up to the present day, so it is no exaggeration to say that almost everything we value today we owe in large measure to books.